Hueytown, Ala. (WIAT)– “When you think of him, you think of the words loyalty, dedication, commitment. You think of passion, and all of those things, professionally, yes, but on the personal level, at the family level, even more so.”
Hueytown High School’s Head Baseball Coach Rick Patterson passed away Tuesday morning leaving behind a legacy of loyalty and commitment.
The educator and coach spent 41 years training and mentoring student athletes, while never missing a special moment for either of his daughters and grandchildren.
“As dedicated as he was to baseball and the kids and the students, he was just as much, or even more dedicated to his family,” Patterson’s son-in-law Chris Shelton recalls.
Shelton married Patterson’s daughter, Stacy, and coached alongside him at Hueytown.
“I’ve had the privilege of knowing him a long time,” Shelton said, “He is just an unbelievable person.”
27 years of Patterson’s life were spent at Hueytown High School coaching the baseball team through 893 wins.
In all of his commitment to his team, Shelton says Patterson never missed a pageant, dance competition, or Friday night football game performance for his daughters Kristy and Stacy.
Shelton says Patterson was also committed to his church, Pleasant Grove First Baptist.
Since Patterson’s passing, friends and family members have shared stories and memories of him driving the church youth group places, volunteering as a counselor and chaperone and more.
As a friend, Tom Hannah says Patterson was selfless.
“One of the greatest overall men I’ve ever been around. An influencer. He just meant so much to so many folks. Of course, he was a coach, and hall of fame, and all kinds of wins, but it went so much deeper than that. He was so much more than a coach,” Hannah said.
Hannah recalls Patterson checking in on him and his wife daily while they were fighting COVID-19, helping them move into a home, and life lessons while cleaning up the field after games.
“He taught me that good things come if you work for them. That you’re not just going to get them by luck or by chance and just the fact of how hard he worked and what all he did and why he did it.”
Shelton says the family is overwhelmed by all of the support and grateful for prayers from the community.
“Everybody has felt the support, felt the love, felt the prayers, and we definitely appreciate it. And it just goes to show you how much of an impact he had, not just on the students and players, but everyone that he came in contact with.”
Patterson’s viewing is Thursday at First Baptist Church in Pleasant Grove from 4:00-7:00 p.m., and the service is Friday at 2:00 p.m.
Family asks in lieu of flowers, consider making donations to the Hueytown High School Baseball Boosters (Attn: Billy Chandler, 4881 15th Street Road Hueytown, AL 35023) or First Baptist Church Chandler Family Life Center (Attn: Staci Owen, 724 4th Street Pleasant Grove, AL 35127).
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