Longtime Gallatin County coach Robert “Radar” Patton died Wednesday at the age of the 60 at his Shawneetown home.
Patton was the head coach of the girls' basketball and softball teams. He dealt with heart problems over the past year.
“It was a shock that he passed away because he was just at school (Tuesday),” said Gallatin County superintendent Lucinda Schmitt. “It was still a shock even though he had been ill off and on this last year.”
During his coaching career, Patton had coached the boys' and girls' varsity teams at Gallatin County. He coached the girls' team to a 22-9 record this season and won the Marissa Regional Championship. The last game he coached was the Hawks' 57-44 loss to Goreville in the Woodlawn Sectional last week. In 2012, Patton led the Gallatin County boys basketball team to a berth in the super-sectional. The Hawks finished their great season 27-4 that year.
Patton had also served as Shawneetown's police chief for more than 30 years.
“He meant everything to us because he was the police chief at Shawneetown for 35 to 40 years,” Schmitt said. “That’s how he got his nickname, and he knew everybody and everything that was going on. He had a wonderful rapport with everyone. He probably could have been a stand-up comedian because he was so funny and so much fun to be around.”
Patton’s teams won three regional championships in boys' basketball, and he coached the school’s baseball team as well in recent years.
“He had athlete after athlete that could have gotten in trouble over the years,” Schmitt said. “But because of sports and Radar staying on them, they were able to stay on the right path and become successful.”
All of the services for Patton will be held at Gallatin County High School. Visitation takes place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.
The funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. Friday. Vickery Funeral Home is making funeral arrangements.
“He was bigger than life,” Schmitt said. “He loved this school and the kids. He will be missed by so many people.”