Blugold Hall of Fame
Mitch Patri was an offensive tackle who also cleared the way for a Blugold Hall of Fame running back, playing the four years D. J. LeRoy was in the backfield.
Patri, who played at 5-11, 250, was All-WSUC, NAIA All-District 14 and NAIA All-America second team in 1978 when the Blugolds produced an 8-2 season mark. That year, the Blugolds set school records for the highest points per game (25.4) and total offense per game (373). LeRoy also set a school standard for career rushing yardage at 2,666 and Tim Lewitzke became the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history.
Patri earned his bachelor's degree from UWEC in elementary education in 1980 and came back to earn a master's degree in 1991. His first job was in Moose Lake, Minnesota (1980-84) as a fifth grade teacher. There he also served as a head wrestling coach for a season, head baseball coach for a season and assistant football coach for four seasons.
From there, he moved to the Abbotsford school district (1984-92), teaching elementary classes for three years and then moving to the junior high level for five years. After two years as an assistant wrestling coach, he became the head coach for six years. He was also an assistant football coach for eight years.
In 1997, he returned to his hometown of Manawa where he served as a full time district technology coordinator for two years before returning to the classroom as a junior high computer teacher and also technology coordinator. He was the head wrestling coach from 1992-2002 and just last year returned to that same position. He has also been an assistant football coach since 1992.
Patri is also a Sunday School teacher at St. Paul Lutheran in Manawa. He and his wife Julie have three children: Zach, 20; Brittany, 19; and Nicholas, 17.