Jack Patterson played a significant role in track and field at four Southwest Conference schools: Rice, Houston, Texas, and Baylor. As a student at Rice University, he set a conference record in the high hurdles. After graduation, he became a teacher and coach and later headed the track and field program at the University of Houston where he developed nationally recognized sprinters and relay teams. In 1955, he became head coach at Baylor, and five years later the Bears won their first Southwest Conference track and field championship. Patterson eventually took over the track program the University of Texas, where he led the Longhorns to three Southwest Conference championships and was promoted to assistant athletic director. Patterson was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.