Eric Shehan, assistant for Panthers for 9
seasons, is new leader of school’s program
By CHRIS HOBBS
MORGANTON – If and when high school football returns, Patton High will have a new head varsity coach.
In a social media post on Thursday night, Patton Principal Sara LeCroy announced Jonathan Browning has resigned as head football coach, and Eric Shehan has been named the school’s interim head football coach.
Shehan, a Freedom High graduate, has been a football assistant at Patton for nine years, the social media post said.
Browning was head coach for two seasons at Patton with his teams going 6-6 and 4-7. His first team (2018) advanced to the state playoffs and lost in the first round to Wheatmore (24-0).
He was an assistant coach at Patton for six years before replacing Tom Eanes, who resigned to become head coach at Bandys (he is now head coach at Pender County).
Browning, a former Freedom High athlete, will remain on the Patton faculty and continue as the Panthers’ head varsity baseball coach.
Patton is scheduled to open its season on Aug. 21 with a home game against North Buncombe.
“Although we are disappointed about Coach Browning’s decision to step down from football, we understand the significant time commitment that being a head coach of multiple sports requires,” LeCroy said in the post. “This will enable Coach Browning to return his full focus to baseball which will be great for those players, as well as his family. We are so appreciative of all Coach Browning has done for our football program.”
In the same post, Patton Athletic Director Jeff Williams said: “On behalf of the entire Patton community and faculty, we would like to thank Coach Browning and his staff for their dedication and commitment to our football program and the development of our young men.
“We wish nothing but the best for Coach Browning and his family in their future endeavors.”
In his new role, Shehan will lead Panthers football workouts that begin on Monday under regulations set up for COVID-19.
He teaches science at Patton and is also head boys’ lacrosse coach there. He has an undergraduate degree from Appalachian State and will complete his master’s in School Administration from Appalachian State in August.
“As the interim head coach, it is my goal to motivate players to show up, get involved and get into better shape,” Shehan said in the post. “I have been with the rising seniors for three years, and have a good rapport with them. I am familiar with each player’s strengths and abilities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled spring football and limited summer workouts. It is important for the players to attend as many workouts as possible. They need to prepare for the 2020 season and the changes that the new head coach will bring.”
The change at Patton is the second since last football season in the eight-team Northwestern Foothills 2A with East Burke also heading into the 2020 season with a new leader, former Fred T. Foard head coach Derrick Minor.
BROWNING PROMOTED TO HEAD COACH: https://hobbsdailyreport.com/patton-high/high-school-football-patton-promotes-browning-to-head-coach/