Pat and Jane Kneip Patterson Swimming and Diving Endowment
The Pat and Jane Kneip Patterson Swimming and Diving Endowment was created in 2014 to honor legendary swim team coach Melvin “Pat” Patterson and his wife, Jane Kneip Patterson, and to provide support for swimming and diving programs for men and for women. Funds were provided by William F. Robertson, Darrell Fick, Scott Mactier, and other grateful alumni.
In 2010, Coach Patterson was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor for his inspirational and winning leadership. During Patterson’s seven seasons as head coach of Texas Swimming from 1971 to 1978, the team took home an SWC Championship and produced 12 All-Americans. He also played an instrumental role in the formation and development of the first University of Texas Women’s swimming team.
A true Longhorn, Coach Patterson graduated from the School of Education with a degree in Kinesiology in 1956 as a three-year letterman and team captain. In his senior year, he was one of the lead scorers on the team that won a 1955 SWC championship.
Patterson’s career as a head coach began in 1961 and took him to Rice University, the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M before he was asked to return to his alma mater in 1971. Always an educator at heart, he served in Texas public schools after his coaching career had ended, eventually rising to positions as a principal and a superintendent of schools.
Donor Darrell Fick came from California join the Texas swim team in the fall of 1975, holding a National Junior College record. He said of Patterson, “Coach Pat Patterson was the difference-maker for me. He was a tremendous leader of young men and instilled the great love of Texas that our whole family has today. When I had the chance to step up and be part of a legacy in Coach Pat’s name, it did not take long. Everything I have today is because of this great man and the opportunity he gave my great Longhorns teammates and me.”
Fick became a Division I college swimming coach in a Power 5 Conference, and later had a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. He credits his achievements to lessons learned from competitive swimming, saying that “Life is a race, and I learned how to race thanks to the great sport of swimming. There is no greater honor than to share our good fortune of a University of Texas education and my experience as a Longhorn student-athlete than to honor the coach who made it happen for my family and me.”
Thanks to this generous gift, future generations of Longhorn athletes will have the opportunity to share that good fortune as well—experiencing everything a UT education and Texas Swimming have to offer while honoring the history and legacy of one of its most celebrated coaches, educators and leaders.