Patton’s last home game
After calling the shots from the sideline for 342 games for the CU men’s basketball program, head coach Ricardo Patton is nearing the end.
Patton, who announced in October his decision to not seek a contract extension following the end of this season, will coach the final home game of his 11-year tenure as the Buffs’ skipper on Saturday against Nebraska.
The athletic department is planning to commemorate Patton’s career at the school with a ceremony before the game, where it is expected that Athletic Director Mike Bohn will reward the coach with a plaque. Some of Patton’s former players are also expected to be in attendance.
“I’ll be excited to see some of the former players that may come back. I’ll be interested in seeing what they’re doing now,” Patton said.
Besides his admitted excitement at seeing how some of his former players are doing, Patton was rather stolid with the press group prior to Thursday’s practice about any sort of emotions he might experience before the game.
“I don’t know” what kind of emotion I’ll be feeling, he said. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind of a week trying to prepare for Missouri and Nebraska, so that’s consumed most of my thoughts as opposed to anything else.”
Although Patton was not very revealing when it came to his emotions at leaving the university after 11 seasons, the coach did reflect upon some of his better memories during his tenure.
“We’ve done more than most people thought was possible. We’ve had some bright moments here,” Patton said.
Patton went on to mention his first full season at CU in 1996-1997 when his team, led by former All-American Chauncey Billups, went 22-10 on its way to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. That team was joined by Patton’s 2002-2003 squad as the only teams to make it to the NCAA Tournament under the coach’s watch. In addition to the two trips to the NCAA Tournament, Patton’s teams also participated in the National Invitational Tournament four times.
During his time at CU, Patton has an overall record of 183-159. The 183 wins are second-most for a coach in the program’s history.
Patton’s final season has not helped his win total, however. In his final season at the helm, Patton’s squad has a 6-19 overall record. If the Buffs lose to Nebraska on Saturday, it will be the first time a Patton-led team has experienced a 20-loss season. Despite the team’s struggles, Patton is still grateful for what he’s had the chance to do at CU.
“I’m certainly appreciative of the opportunity to have been the coach here. I think I’ve been totally blessed, and that’s what I’ll leave here with,” Patton said.
Junior forward Marcus King-Stockton, who is one of a select few upperclassmen on Patton’s final team, said Patton has taught him a lot.
“He’s taught me a lot about basketball and a lot about life,” King-Stockton said. “I feel that he’s done a really good job of teaching.”
King-Stockton added that he felt his coach has done his best with the hand he was dealt.
“I don’t think he was given a lot when he came here, and he’s worked hard for everything,” King-Stockton said.
After Saturday’s regular-season finale, the Buffs will travel to Oklahoma City as a long shot to win the Big 12 Tournament. Unless CU secures an upset victory, Patton’s last game as CU basketball coach will take place outside the state.
Patton has indicated that he will look for work elsewhere immediately following the season rather than taking a year off. The coach says he will keep track of the Buffs in the future.
“I’ll look back and follow the progress of the program and hope it does well,” Patton said.