Getting With the Program
Will Patterson Steps Into Role as Lawrence Central Head Football Coach
Will Patterson is a Lawrence Township kid through and through.
“I went to Mary Castle Elementary and Craig Middle School, and then I graduated from Lawrence North in 2006,” he says.
Prior to coaching at Arsenal Technical High School for two seasons in 2018 and 2019, Patterson worked as an assistant football coach at Lawrence Central High School (LCHS) from 2013 to 2018. The former Indiana University football team captain now returns to LCHS in the head coaching role, as he looks to improve on the Bears’ 2-8 record last season.
While attending schools in Lawrence Township, Patterson played football from seventh through twelfth grades, specializing in the linebacker and running back positions. When asked about the coaches who had an impact on him growing up, Patterson mentions names like Joe Leonard, formerly of Craig Middle School, and Tom Dilley, formerly of Lawrence North High School.
“Coming through the township, I’ve been so blessed to be impacted by great men, and that definitely complements the person I am today,” Patterson says.
Another coach who made a difference in Patterson’s life is Ken Browner, who now coaches track and field at Carmel High School.
“My father passed when I was 10, which is kind of part of my story,” Patterson says. “But Coach Browner is that guy for me in terms of trying to fill a void. From a mentorship and spiritual perspective, he’s really somebody that you want to model your life after.”
Now removed from his playing days, Patterson has made it his mission to impact student-athletes, much like his own coaching mentors.
“I think every kid can benefit from good coaching and guys that really care about them,” he says.
While at Arsenal Tech, Patterson led the football program through an impressive turnaround, improving from a record of 1-9 in 2018 to 5-5 in 2019.
“We were able to establish something with the kids that they were able to believe in,” Patterson says of the shift. “Playing for us, they found value in something outside of themselves.”
As a result of his success at Arsenal Tech, Patterson’s peers honored him with the 2019 City Coach of the Year award.
“That was just a huge testament to faith, believing, and having a great staff,” Patterson says. “The award was a huge honor for me. It was obviously something I didn’t see coming.”
Now as the head coach of Lawrence Central’s football team, Patterson hopes to foster a similar sense of team solidarity.
“Something that I’ll bring to Lawrence Central is just getting kids to love through the process and really be a family,” Patterson says.
Leading up to the season, Patterson and his team ramped up virtual communication with players and their families, before eventually returning to in-person practice later this summer. When the team finally hits the football field for the season, Patterson looks forward to being out on the sidelines in a familiar neck of the woods.
“All I can really say is God’s amazing with how all of this came full circle,” he says. “Being a Lawrence kid, I’m honored.”
For more information on the Lawrence Central High School football team’s upcoming season, visit LCBears.LTSchools.org.