Indian-American wins football video award in New Mexico

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At 6 ‘ 3″ and weighing in at approximately 330 lbs, Robert “Bob” Patel looks like the football player he could have been. He is surrounded by players who are taller or as tall as him, and built to withstand the bouts on the football field.

“It’s only when I get out of my football bubble, and am around other people, I realize – ‘Oh s***! I’m a big guy!” Patel exclaims during an interview with News India Times from his office in New Mexico State University where he is the ‘Video Coordinator’ for the football team.

New Mexico State University football coaching staff member Robert ‘Bob’ Patel (Photo by Victoria Palombit, courtesy NMSU)

Patel, 37, a former U.S. Army National Guard, was just named the Independent Video Coordinator of the Year by the Collegiate Sports Video Association (CSVA) this week.

This is the second honor for Patel after winning the same award at the Division III level back in 2012, according to a March 28 press release from NMState.
“This award is well deserved as Bob has done an excellent job for us,” Aggie head football coach Doug Martin is quoted saying in the press release. “He is a dedicated member of our staff and we are grateful to have him here,” Martin added.

Patel was selected from among his peers, also independent video makers, for the honor. He is now a finalist for the Bob Matey National Video Coordinator of the Year award, which will be announced at the annual CSVA banquet on May 15th, 2019 in Anaheim, California, the press release said. Approximately 15 video coordinators will be up for the May 15 award, Patel told News India Times.

Avid football fans may not know that some of the key people behind the victories and defeats in the game are people like Patel who record and spot the failings and successes of players and moves, as they happen on the field.
Patel took on the role of video Coordinator at New Mexico State since August of 2015. Before that, he was the Director of Video and Technology at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 2007.

An Army National Guard for 10-years (May 2001-March 2011), almost immediately after graduating from high school, Patel was deployed twice to the Middle East, in Iraq and Kuwait, returning from his last stint in 2010.

His was a long and hard road to be where he is today. Honorably discharged after some injuries which he repeatedly describes as ‘minor’, Patel came back to finish his graduate degree in Radio/TV/Film from UWisc- Oshkosh by December 2014.

He had wanted to do Phys. Ed. and become a coach, but that was not to be with the injuries. So even though a football mentor told him a coach’s  “job was waiting” for him upon return from tour of duty, “I would be coming back to a video job because phys-ed was going to be very hard,” with his injuries, he concedes. His mentors pointed out his real talent. “I realized there was a career path doing football video,” Patel said.

His talent shone at high speed video-making of fast-moving games, including both practice and the real matches, meticulously editing them and presenting a product to coaches immediately after, so they could spot where improvements could be made, and plan tactics and strategies for future games. He appears invaluable for that evident from this latest award.

“I am basically the AV (audio-visual) and IT guy for the football guys in the team,” Patel said. His work entails directing a crew of four videographers whom he instructs within the first few minutes of a game to fan out and take the videos that they keep handing over to him as the game progresses. He simultaneously begins the editing process. As the game is over, Patel is able to hand over the edited product to coaches to look over on their iPads, gleaning the lessons for future games.

Patel’s father, Kanu “Kris” Patel, came to the U.S. as a teenager to do his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The elder Patel worked for thirty years in a factory in Wisconsin, married Carol, (Bob’s mother) whom he met at the big music “Summer Fest” in Milwaukee. Patel laughs endearingly and a bit embarrassedly when trying to spell the longer version of his father’s first name, ultimately giving up and saying he always called him ‘Dad’ or heard friends and family call him ‘Kris’ or ‘Kanu’.

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