Wednesday was an incredibly busy day for Frank Wilson and the San Antonio Roadrunners, not only extending offers to nine different players but also adding another piece to the coaching staff in Patrick Toney.
Toney comes from a lineage of football coaches, dating back to his grandfather who at one time coached at the NFL level. Toney actually cites his elder as one of the most-significant influences on his coaching career, administering the desire to be a coach in him at a very young age.
Toney hails from Poway, California, where he was a force at linebacker and won a Division I Championship in 2007. After graduating in 2008, he began his coaching career as the defensive line coach at Fallbrook High School and then moved up to Palomar Junior College the following year as the wide receivers coach for a nationally-ranked team. In 2010 he became the offensive coordinator for La Costa Canyon High School in North San Diego County, where he helped compile a 17-7 record over two seasons and gained back-to-back playoff appearances.
Toney came down to the Gulf Coast in 2012 and hasn't looked back. He earned his kinesiology degree from Southeastern Louisiana while coaching the secondary as a defensive assistant. Toney was then promoted to the safeties coach and special teams coordinator in 2014. That year Southeastern ranked first in the nation in pass-efficiency defense, second in interceptions, fifth in red-zone defense, and eighth in scoring defense. The team won the Southland Conference in 2013 and shared the title with Sam Houston State the following year. Prior to Toney's arrival, the Lions were a dismal 3-8 in 2011 (sound familiar?).
Toney was brought to Sam Houston State in 2015 as the secondary coach, where his defensive backs amassed 13 interceptions. Two of his cornerbacks would go on to receive All-Southland Conference honors. The Bearkats finished the season 11-4 after advancing to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs
One of the most enticing attributes of Toney is his high school and JUCO pedigree in California, the state that alongside Texas and Florida produces the highest number of three, four, and five-star recruits in the country. This opens the door to the West Coast for the Roadrunners, making it more of a herding ground for recruits than it has ever been for UTSA.
Toney is also inheriting some of Conference USA's fiercest safeties in Nate Gaines and Michael Egwuagu, who combined for six interceptions last season with Egwuagu's four leading the conference ranks.
In a really good question and answer column from gobearkats.com, Toney was asked about his style of coaching. His response is simply excellent and gets better with every sentence:
"I pride myself on being a very detailed coach and great teacher. I want to give our players the best techniques to use on the field to get their job done. I also want to do a great job teaching our players our system so they are prepared to play as fast as possible on Saturday.
Another big point of emphasis for me as a coach is stressing the importance of effort on the ball carrier and always taking shots at the ball to cause turnovers and create momentum for our team. I also truly believe your players will never care about how much you know until they know how much you care. I think any player I have coached will tell you that I care about them as athletes, students, and individuals and will do anything I can to help them be successful."
- Patrick Toney
UTSA's secondary was picked apart by a few teams last year. Particularly Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Southern Mississippi, and Old Dominion -- all teams the Roadrunners face next season. The unit could definitely use a face lift and Toney just may be the man to do it.
With this hire Wilson's staff is nearly complete, now only needing a running backs coach.