Pata sets out to keep Rattlers focused on off-the-field matters
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Edwin Pata wasn’t exactly surprised when he got the call from former FAMU athletic director Milton Overton a few hours after the Rattlers dropped their seventh straight Florida Classic to Bethune-Cookman University.
Overton wanted to know if Pata would step in as interim coach of the football team. Alex Wood, whose contract expires this month, had announced his resignation just hours before Pata got the call.
One of his biggest roles now is to be an effective administer of the program.
“We can’t control any outside sources,” Pata said. “We can control what we control; what we control in this building. I’m going to make sure I keep everything moving forward and not take any steps backwards.
With the Rattlers not being able to put together a winning season for the third year under Wood, there were rumblings that he might not return.
Pata coached the offensive line under Wood.
While it’s not clear how much longer the rest of Wood’s assistants will stay, Pata said what they are dealing with is the reality of a mindset coaches generally have.
“Coaches obviously go through this hard time of transition not knowing the uncertainty,” Pata said. “I’m with (the assistants) having gone through this two times prior at this institution.”
Wood coached the Rattlers to an 8-25 record in three seasons. A day before his resignation, state representative Ramon Alexander called for his firing then backed off.
“Uncertainty is never good,” Pata said. “There are a lot of highs and lows and this is part of the lows. If you’re not producing, we also have to accept that role. Most of us think about it all the time but you see it now today; how many coaches get fired so it’s engrained in you. You just have to be prepared for it.”
Pata spent nine years with three different head coaches at FAMU. Wood kept him on after he was named to replace interim coach Corey Fuller.
The search for Wood’s replacement is already underway and interim athletic director John Eason and Interim President Larry Robinson will name a new coach, said Overton before his final day. Overton resigned last month to take a similar position at Kennesaw State.
“It’s going to be very, very quick,” Overton said. “We’ve got to have stability and he knows what it takes to stabilize the program.
“I think Eason is that CEO type that could look for a head coach who will have that confidence and background.”