As if Saturday night wasn't already busy enough in college football between the Heisman Trophy ceremony and Mack Brown's resignation announcement at Texas, sources tell us Arkansas assistant head coach/defensive line coach Charlie Patridge is the new head coach at Florida Atlantic.
Patridge was a top lieutenant for Barry Alvarez, coaching Wisconsin's defensive line (J.J. Watt is a front-line product) and specialists before following Bielema to Arkansas in 2013. Prior to Wisconsin, Patridge worked at Pittsburgh, Eastern Illinois and Iowa State. This will be his first experience as a head coach.
Most following this search centered their attention on Urban Meyer's assistants at Ohio State; athletics director Pat Chun spent 15 years in various positions inside the Ohio State athletics department before taking over at FAU. But in the end, Chun's eyes were focused on the southeast.
Jobs one, two and three for any new head coach Chun hired are clear: recruit, recruit and recruit. And Patridge is a rainmaker on the south Florida recruiting scene. Scott from our staff is at a Christmas party tonight but told me he's already received at least five texts from south Florida high school coaches praising the hire and saying it will be a welcomed change from the previous regime.
Florida Atlantic went 6-6 this season but was not selected for a bowl berth; after a 2-6 start, the Owls rallied to a 4-0 finish under interim head coach Brian Wright following the dismissal of Carl Pelini.
Patridge is the ninth FBS head coach to be hired this season, following Steve Sarkisian (USC), Chris Petersen (Washington), Chuck Martin (Miami, Ohio), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Dave Clawson (Wake Forest), Bob Diaco (Connecticut), Craig Bohl (Wyoming) and Chris Creighton (Eastern Michigan). The Arkansas State, Bowling Green and Texas jobs remain open.
As always, we will have more updates as they become available.