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Patterson Relieved of Duties as Head WBB Coach

March 9, 2014

K-State Athletics

MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State Athletics Director John Currie announced today that Deb Patterson has been relieved of her duties as the Wildcats’ head women’s basketball coach.

“Coach Patterson and I met Friday night, and I shared with her my decision to make a change in leadership of our women’s basketball program,” Currie said. “I want to sincerely thank Coach Patterson for her 18 years of service to Kansas State and our women’s basketball program.”

Currie also announced that associate head coach Kamie Ethridge will serve as interim head coach and will oversee the daily operation of the program until a new head coach is hired.

K-State concluded the 2013-14 season with an 87-84 overtime loss to KU in the first round of the Big 12 Championships to finish the year with an 11-19 overall record and 5-13 mark in league play. Patterson concludes her K-State career with a 350-226 record and led the Wildcats to nine NCAA Tournaments while also capturing Big 12 Championships in 2003-04 and 2007-08.

“We have great tradition here at K-State, which includes multiple conference championships and the distinction of being one of the Top 15 winningest programs in Division I history as well as a Basketball Training Facility that I truly believe is one of the finest in all of college athletics and terrific fan support that continually ranks among the Top 30 in the nation,” Currie added. “We will be aggressive in finding the right person to lead our women’s basketball program to the next step in our development.”

A national search for a replacement will begin immediately for a program that in 2011 became just the 13th in NCAA Division I history to win 800 games, currently ranks 15th nationally in total wins with 853 and is the second-oldest program in the Big 12 with play dating back to 1968.

Press Conference Transcript
K-State Athletic Director John Currie
Opening statement…
“On Friday afternoon, I met with Coach (Deb) Patterson and informed her of the president’s and my decision to relieve her of her duties as head women’s basketball coach. As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make. I have great appreciation for Coach Patterson, both as a person and as a coach. I want to offer our thanks to her for her service here. We have a tremendous commitment to success in women’s basketball at K-State. We have a championship tradition, including ranking as one of the top-15 winningest programs in women’s basketball history. We have fan support that annually ranks in the top 30 in America. We have a state-of-the-art Basketball Training Facility that I believe is one of the very best in all of women’s college basketball. As we went through the evaluative process, I just felt that we were not on a trajectory to get back to a level of achievement that we have experienced in our history and it was time for new leadership in our program. We will conduct a national search focused on candidates whose personal values and integrity reflect those of our university and the citizens of the state of Kansas. People who appreciate the opportunity of being part of a special basketball tradition, who understand the advantages of Manhattan and K-State and who have proven themselves as game coaches, evaluators and recruiters. In the interim period, I am grateful to Associate Head Coach Kamie Ethridge who will take over the day-to-day operation of the program.”

On the possibility of current players leaving the program…
“Anytime you have transition, you have the potential of roster turnover. But in making the decisions that we make in athletics, we are making the decisions in what we truly believe is in the best interest of the program and in the best interest of the student-athletes. We do strive to provide a world-class student-athlete experience and experiencing success on the court or on the field is part of that experience. That comes back to part of why we made the decision. Although we played well the last couple of games, overall I was just not confident of the trajectory.”

On the decision to relieve Deb Patterson of her duties  …
“It has really been a process over the last month of trying to discern what is the right way to support the program and move forward and get better. To be honest, I never foresaw this day. We did two different contracts for Coach Patterson since I have been here and I always thought that we would be doing another at some point. I did not think that we would be in this position but as the year unfolded and I looked at where we have been over the last five years, I did not feel right about the trajectory. I felt like that it was time.”

On his thoughts of the situation…
“I never desire to change coaches or staff. We want to get better with who we have and we think we have great people here and that is one of the strengths of the programs is really solid coaches. Certainly, Deb Patterson is an outstanding basketball coach. She is a great human being and has been a good leader for this program. Those are the things that make it really hard but it is hard for everybody. Obviously, it is hard for the student-athletes and it is hard for the coaching staff. Decisions that are easy really are not decisions and this was a decision that required considerable thought, examination and discussions with some folks inside of the program. We really tried to be measured and not rash and evaluate where we are.”

On K-State’s head coach vacancy…
“I believe that this is an attractive job. This is a university where we have invested 125 million dollars in new facilities in the last three years and we have got more to come. I will say it again; the Basketball Training Facility for women and men is one of the finest facilities in the country. It is a completely equal facility. We have tremendous fan support here. Even where we struggled this year and went 5-13 in the conference for the second year in a row, we still had crowds coming to the games that care about K-State basketball and that care about these student-athletes. They want to support K-State and they want to be successful. Those years are not too far in the rearview mirror, even though they precede me, when we filled this place up. The fact that K-State is one of the15 winningest programs in the country in women’s basketball as we were the 13th to get to 800 victories when we beat Nebraska a couple of years ago, has won Big 12 Championships, really has competed at the highest level and has produced WNBA players, those are the things that are attractive to prospective coaches. We will work very hard to find the person who is the right fit for K-State. For the person who is the right fit as evident by the tenures of our coaches here. This is a place where you can come be successful for a long time and feel good about a great community that really does support intercollegiate athletics.”

On the timetable for hiring a new head coach…
“We will move very quickly but I cannot promise that it will be 100 hours like the last time that we went through one of these processes. I can promise you that it will be as expeditious as possible. We will be very thorough but we will move to get this thing done just as soon as we can. When you have student-athletes who are 18 to 22 years old, who are going through a transition like this, it is a very difficult time and it is a time of great uncertainty. Just like the last time we went through a transition like this, we want to minimize that time of uncertainty for the student-athletes so that they can begin the next step in the process.”

On meeting with Deb Patterson…
“We met Friday night back at the team hotel after the game. Coach Patterson was extremely professional as you would expect she would be. Obviously, she is a competitor and does not like to lose games and this was not something that I believe she desired, obviously, but she was certainly very professional as you would expect her to be.”

On meeting with the women’s basketball team…
“The staff met with the team this afternoon. We felt that was important for the team and the staff to meet together because they are a close bunch. Then I met with the team, along with some of our administration, after that meeting with the staff.”

On if any members of the current coaching staff will be retained…
“There is not anybody in that building that I would not recommend around the country for a women’s basketball position. It will really be up to the next coach as to who they want to retain or are unable to retain because the next coach is likely to bring in a couple of support staff members with them but I think they will all have that opportunity. As far as the head coach, it is an open search and we do not have preconceived candidates other than we want someone who operates with the highest level of integrity and knows how to recruit and knows how to coach.”

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