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Long-time coach retires

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By Steve Jarboe

Another Williston sports legend has been coaxed off the field and into the ranks of retirement.
Robert Patterson, who spent 32 of his 35-year career at Williston High School, was honored with a party June 9, hosted by Sandra Wise.
Simply known to all Williston High School students, athletes, and friends as “Coach P”, Patterson began his teaching and coaching career at Marianna High School where he spent his first three years before moving to Williston High School.
During his 32 years as a Physical Education teacher, Patterson was active in coaching in various sports at the school.
“I had 32 wonderful years at Williston High School,” Patterson said. “I was always here for my students and athletes. After all, they all knew my colors were red and white,”  Patterson continued. “I certainly have wonderful memories too numerous to mention.”
Patterson has been a fixture on the sidelines as an assistant football coach. For many years,  it was the Red Devil football team that kept Williston on the map, he said.
 Patterson was also the head basketball coach over his 32 years for both the boys and girls basketball teams. He was named “Coach of the Year” six times for both teams.
Patterson was also instrumental in making the change over in girls softball from slow pitch to fast pitch softball.
In 2006 after being named “Coach of the Year” for his fifth season, the 2006 Lady Red Devils played for the state championship in the softball finals.
Patterson has coached around 100 Williston athletes, both boys and girls, who have gone on to further their education with scholarships from playing sports under his coaching.
Mostly, Coach P has always enjoyed the moments when former students and athletes return to Williston High School just to talk about their days at Williston.
“I have always told the kids to enjoy their high school years, and then keep in touch,” Patterson said.
Coach P also wanted to thank the Levy County School Board and the Williston High School faculty and staff for allowing him to remain at one school for his tenure. He is very appreciative to Coach Jamie Baker for his friendship ever since he arrived in  Williston.
He also thanks the Williston community and everyone who contributed to his retirement gift.
Patterson is looking forward to spending a lot of quality time with his wife Rosa and his family.
He will also continue to be a fixture around Williston and Williston High School, and has plans to open a barbecue business soon, although a location for his business venture has not yet been decided on.