Who is Kevin Patterson, BHS' new head football coach?


Kevin Patterson officially became the 16th head football coach in Baldwin High history following a vote by the School Board on Tuesday night.

When Baldwin plays its first game of the 2024 season this August, it will be Patterson's very first as a head coach. Patterson, who's in his late 30s, previously has served as an assistant at Tucker High in metro Atlanta, TL Hanna High in South Carolina, McEachern High in metro Atlanta and, most recently, Jones County.

Patterson replaces Jesse Hicks, who was relieved of his head coaching duties two months ago. Hicks is Baldwin High's winningest football coach by a country mile. Hicks won 110 games at Baldwin, which is 72 more wins than the next-closest coach on the list. The highlight of Hicks' tenure was in 2005, when the Braves made a deep playoff run and all the way to the Georgia Dome. An estimated 4,000 people from Milledgeville made the trip to Atlanta that day. Some downtown business owners painted their windows with messages supporting the team. A crowd gathered at The Brick that day to watch the game. Never before had Milledgeville rallied behind a local team like that.

However, when offering perspective on Hicks' career at Baldwin, it's important to separate it into two parts – his first stint as head coach at Baldwin between 2002-2009 and his second stint between 2017–2023. During the last five seasons of Hicks' first go-around at Baldwin (2005-2009), the Braves averaged 9.9 wins per season. This included two 10-win seasons and even a 12-win season. Compare that to Hick's most recent five seasons (2019-2023), when Baldwin has averaged 5.2 wins per season. 

– Georgia High School Football History Association

Basically, beginning with the COVID year, things grew increasingly stale around the program, and apathy set in amongst the fans and the community. Attendance began to drop. Some of the longtime fans stopped going to the games. The crowd for this year's Howard matchup was especially dismal...

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Hicks was a young assistant coach with no previous head coaching experience when he first came to Milledgeville, and so is Patterson. Along with being a defensive coordinator at several stops, Patterson also has a background in strength and conditioning, which is welcome news for Braves fans. The strength and conditioning program hasn't exactly been A-1 in recent years around Baldwin, and the Braves too often have been pushed around and outmuscled on Friday nights. 

Patterson is a protege of one of the best, Jeff Herron, the only coach in Georgia history to win a state championship at three different high schools. Patterson played four years under Herron at Camden County, and the Wildcats went 15-0 and won the Class AAAAA state championship in Patterson's senior season, back when AAAAA was the largest classification in Georgia. That 2003 Camden team finished ranked No. 6 in the country, according to one publication. Patterson later joined Herron's coaching staff at TL Hanna High in 2017 as a defensive assistant before becoming the defensive coordinator between 2017-2020. If TL Hanna sounds familiar for some reason, it's probably because of the movie Radio, the 2003 blockbuster starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. James "Radio" Kennedy actually passed away during Patterson's time at Hanna, and it was obviously a big deal all over South Carolina... 

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Patterson played his college ball at Wake Forest, where he was a four-year starter in the secondary. As evidenced in the video below, Patterson could fly...

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After volunteering with orphans in Africa and a stint in the Indoor Football League, Patterson returned to Wake Forest in 2012 and became a graduate assistant coach, earning his Master's of Arts degree, in the process. His first taste of coaching high school ball was at Tucker. "Patterson joined the Tucker High School football staff in 2015 as defensive secondary coach," according to a Baldwin County School District press release. "In 2016, he was named defensive coordinator at Tucker. In 2016, the Tucker Tigers finished the season 13-2 and were State Runner-Up. Tucker was the top-scoring defense in Georgia 6A creating 21 turnovers and 41 QB sacks."

Following the aforementioned stop at TL Hanna, "Patterson returned to the state of Georgia as defensive coordinator at McEachern High School, added the press release. "He served this role for 2 seasons. The McEachern Indians were the 2021 Region 2-7A champions. In 2022 they had the top defense in the region averaging only 11 points per game during region play. Patterson was the Strength & Conditioning coach while at McEachern.

"This past season, Patterson joined the Jones County High School staff as the Assistant Head Football Coach, Head Strength Coach, and Wide Receivers coach. The Greyhounds had a high-powered offense that amassed 4,971 total yards and had 3 different receivers go over 600 yards receiving."

Patterson becomes Baldwin's fourth different head coach in 11 years and seventh head coach in the last 26 years. Despite having plenty of athletes to come through its hallways, including five who went on to play in the NFL, Baldwin High has had a pretty dubious football history, for the most part. The program, which kicked off for the first time in 1955, actually has a losing record all-time – 342-353-14 – and has only won six region championships in its almost 70 years of existence.

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