David Patton Named 2020 Recipient of Art Demmas Outstanding Official Award
by Bob Hyde, NFF Board Member
David Patton’s very distinguished officiating career began in 1983 when he put the whistle around his neck and the flag in his back pocket for the first time to call a Junior Pro football game.
Little did Patton know that calling his first game on the Junior Pro level would become a passion that would find him on the gridiron dedicating so much of his time to the game he has always loved!
With the 2020 football season on the horizon, it will mark five decades in which Patton has served as an official.
Following his initial year in 1983 with Junior Pros, David began officiating at higher levels. A review of his career reflects some incredible numbers!
He has called approximately 1,000 youth games, 500 middle school, freshman and junior varsity games and 350 high school varsity games. The quality of his work on the field led to him officiating numerous TSSAA playoff games as well as some bowl games. He was also on the crews calling both the 2005 and 2019 TSSAA stage championships!
“I’ve always had a passion for the game,” said Patton. “I played high school ball at Maplewood and my brief claim to fame was I kicked what was then a record field goal (35 yards) in the old Clinic Bowl in 1971. What keeps me coming back is just the joy of the game and the fellowship with the other officials.
“This year will be my 37th year calling games and my goal is to make it to 40 years, that’s the milestone I’ve set for myself.”
Patton and his wife Karlos have two daughters (Dee and Lori) and he has been a respiratory therapist with the Skyline Medical Center family of hospitals for 48 years.
This award is named for Art Demmas, who along with Fred Russell and Harold “Cotton” Clark, founded this chapter of the NFF in 1961. Demmas played football at Vanderbilt and was an NFL official from 1970-96. His expertise in that role led to him officiating four Super Bowls. When he retired from his on-field work, Demmas transitioned to assisting the NFL officiating department by reviewing game tapes and grading officials on-field work.