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 officially can join the Mean Green’s staff, a process that could 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 of Florida 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.
UNT offfensive coordinator Mike Canales, offensive line coach Mike Simmonds and strength coach Frank Wintrich are former members of USF’s staff.
Patrick would take over a defensive front that posted a breakout season under Nelson.
UNT posted 39 sacks and allowed just 120.5 rushing yards per 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 would face a challenge in his first season at UNT, which is graduating all four of its starting defensive linemen — tackles Richard Abbe and Ryan Boutwell, Bellazin and fellow defensive end Brandon McCoy.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.