Northeastern Oklahoma A&M coach Dale Patterson returned to the school before last season to help provide stability for the once-great junior-college power.
Patterson was the last NEO coach to lead it to sustained success when he went 60-26 and won three conference titles as head coach between 1996 and 2003.
He left NEO to become Oklahoma State's assistant director of football operations, a job he did for seven years under Les Miles and Mike Gundy.
I'm the only head coach in NEO history to be an alum. I played here, coached here, went to school here. I just felt a desire to do what I could to help.
I played here in 1965 and 1966. I played center.
I went to Drake University in Iowa to finish my college, and coached high school football in Iowa for one year.
I came back to Oklahoma and coached at Cushing, and in 1975 I went back to my hometown, Okmulgee.
I was an assistant, then head coach for a year before I came back to NEO as defensive coordinator in 1981.
I got out of coaching for a couple years when I became dean of admissions from 1989 until I got back in coaching.
Until 1996, we had been an independent and could recruit unlimited out-of-staters. We got to be so good that people didn't want to play us.
We figured we needed to get in a conference, or football was going to be in trouble.
The Southwest Junior College Football Conference told us they'd invite us, but we'd be limited to five out-of-staters and no transfers.
I don't care if they're in Guymon or Broken Bow. We can't lose an in-state kid to an out-of-state junior college.
In 1998, we won the conference for the first time our third year in the league. We showed we could win with Oklahoma players. We played for the championship four of the next six years, and won it three out of six.