Former South Florida assistant Kevin Patrick has emerged as North Texas’ No. 1 candidate to replace retiring defensive line coach Mike Nelson, a source close to the situation said Wednesday night.
Patrick must be approved by UNT’s compliance department before he can officially join the Mean Green’s staff, a process that should be complete in the next few days.
Patrick coached USF’s defensive ends, defensive tackles or its entire defensive front from 1996-2012.
The former Miami defensive end coached several standout defensive linemen at USF, including Jason Pierre-Paul, who now plays for the New York Giants, and George Selvie, a current member of the Cowboys.
UNT head coach Dan McCarney spent the 2007 season as USF’s assistant head coach and is one of several members of the Mean Green’s staff who spent time on the Bulls staff.
Offensive coordinator Mike Canales, offensive line coach Mike Simmonds and strength coach Frank Wintrich are also former members of USF’s staff.
Patrick will take over a defensive front that posted a breakout season under Nelson.
UNT posted 39 sacks and allowed just 120.5 rushing yards a game in 2013, when the Mean Green finished 9-4 and beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Defensive end Aaron Bellazin was named to the All-Conference USA second team.
Patrick will face a challenge in his first season at UNT, which had all four of its starting defensive linemen graduate following the 2013 campaign, including tackles Richard Abbe and Ryan Boutwell, Bellazin and fellow defensive end Brandon McCoy.