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- American football coach
Jerale Badon is leaving his old high school to return to his college alma mater just a few miles across town.
Badon, Abilene Christian’s all-time leading receiver, is returning to the Wildcats to serve as the football team’s running backs coach, ACU coach Keith Patterson announced Thursday evening.
Badon, who was inducted into ACU’s athletic hall of fame in 2019, joins Patterson’s staff after spending three years at Abilene High, the last two as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. He has been a high school coach for 14 years overall.
“I am very thankful for Coach Patterson giving me this opportunity to be able to give back to my alma mater and to be a part of an awesome staff that he is bringing today,” Badon said in a news release. “I can’t wait to meet the guys, start building those relationships and get to work.”
AHS coach Mike Fullen lauded ACU’s decision to steal one of his assistants.
“Happy for this dude and the opportunity to experience a goal of his,” Fullen said on Twitter. “(Badon) is a straight-up ball coach. He made an impact on his high school alma mater and now will make one on his college alma mater.”
Badon, a 2003 AHS grad, is the Wildcats’ all-time leader in receptions (235) and receiving yards (3,311). He also is eighth with 19 career TDs. He was part of ACU’s first two Division II playoff appearances in 2006 and 2007.
“I am excited to be able to bring Jerale back to Abilene Christian University,” said Patterson, who was named ACU’s head coach on Dec. 6. “He brings immense passion and wants to make a difference in the lives of people, and we know that he will be a tremendous asset to our staff, players and athletics department.”
Patterson, Texas Tech defensive coordinator since 2019, has been busy building his staff since coaching his last game at Tech in the Red Raiders’ 34-7 win over Mississippi State at the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 28 in Philadelphia.
Stephen Lee was named the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator Jan. 9, after serving the same role at Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor since 2015. The Crusaders won their third DIII national title with a 15-0 record this past season.
They also played in the 2017 title game.
The 2018 team led the nation in scoring offense (53.4 points per game).
Badon and Lee join Skyer Cassity (defensive coordinator), Steven Thrash (wide receivers), Shannon Carter (inside linebacker), Julian Wilson (defensive backs), Matt Clark (tight ends/special teams), Conor Dublin (outside linebackers), Corey Smith (strength coach) and Jordan Seawright (associate AD/chief of staff) on Patterson’s staff.
Changes on the field
The Wildcats will be different on the field, too.
Sweetwater grad Kobe Clark, who led ACU with 64 catches for 741 yards and eight TDs as a junior this season, entered the transfer portal shortly after the season ended.
Clark, a former walk-on, finished his ACU career with 204 catches. Only Badon (235, 2004-07) and Taylor Gabriel (215, 2010-13) had more.
Stone Earle, the team’s starting quarterback before going down with a season-ending injury against Lamar in the seventh game of the season, also has transferred, to North Texas, while DB Ryan Stapp (Minnesota), TE Remington Lutz (Southern Illinois) and DB Chris Satterfield (Grambling) also have transferred.
Greg Green, a linebacker, also entered transfer portal.
Green was ACU’s third-leading tackler (54, 15 solo), while Stapp was fifth (44, 21 solo). Stapp follows linebacker Jack Gibbens, who transferred from ACU to Minnesota after the 2020 season and led the Gophers in tackles this season with 92 (56 solo).
Wildcats release '22 schedule
ACU will open the season Sept. 1 against Western Athletic Conference rival Lamar at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats play Prairie View A&M in a nonconference home game Sept. 10, before going to Missouri on Sept. 17. The Tigers play in the SEC, and they're the only FBS team on ACU's schedule.
ACU plays Western New Mexico (Feb. 24) in a nonconference game at home before going to WAC rivals Dixie State (Oct. 1) and Sam Houston (Oct. 8).
The Wildcats play Southern Utah (Oct. 15) at home, before playing three consecutive road games – Incarnate Word (Oct. 22), North Dakota (Oct. 29, nonconference game) and Tarleton (Nov. 12).
They finish the regular season at home against Stephen F. Austin (Nov. 19).
Joey D. Richards covers Abilene high schools and colleges, Big Country schools and other local sports. Follow him at Twitter at ARN_Joey. If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.
This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Abilene High assistant Jerale Badon will join the ACU football staff