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David Patrick signs deal to become head coach of Sacramento State

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David Patrick will take his second head coaching position when he leads Sacramento State into the 2022-23 college basketball season. Recruiting is already under way (Photograph by Nati Harnik/AP)

Bermudian basketball coach David Patrick is on the move again after agreeing an undisclosed deal to head up the programme at California State University, Sacramento — informally known Sacramento State or Sac State.

Patrick had been associate head coach at the University of Oklahoma for a year in which the Sooners impressed in the Big 12 and were unlucky not to make the NCAA Tournament before going out in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. But there had been speculation that he was keen on returning as a head coach if the right job came along.

That opportunity has brought him back out west in the wake of successive one-year stops at the University of Arkansas and Oklahoma — after a previous successful stint at the University of California, Riverside between 2018 and 2020 — landing the 46-year-old in the Big Sky Conference.

Patrick was recruited and signed by athletics director Mark Orr, whom he worked with during his early days as an assistant coach at St Mary’s College in Mraga, California, between 2006 and 2010.

“After my first conversation with Mark Orr, I could feel his passion and energy for the potential he envisions for Sacramento State basketball, and his love for the city,” Patrick, who has already begun recruiting for the Hornets, said in a statement.

The Hornets are coming off an 11-18 season in which, under interim coach Brandon Laird, they surged late and won their first game in the conference tournament before going out to ultimate champions Montana State, the No 1 seeds.

Laird had worked for ten years under Brian Katz, the most successful coach in programme history, who stepped down on the eve of the season because of health concerns.

Sacramento State have never featured in March Madness, the branded name for the NCAA Tournament, or the NIT, so Patrick has ready targets as he takes on this new endeavour.

Born in Bermuda but raised in Australia, he has form for turning around programmes, as seen from his spell at UC Riverside, and his reputable track record as a recruiter who has brought 11 players to the NBA — most notably Ben Simmons, the Brooklyn Nets guard — made him a sought-after commodity.

Patrick, who has been in the coaching ranks since his ten-year playing career ended because of injury in 2005, added: “This programme has all the characteristics to compete for Big Sky Conference championships. I’ve been around winning at every stop of my coaching journey, and that is the DNA I will instil in this programme.”

Simmons, widely regarded as one of the top defensive players in the NBA during his time at the Philadelphia 76ers before a controversial and protracted move to the Nets this season, vouched for his former mentor — who is also his godfather.

“When I went through the recruiting process, there was never a doubt that I wanted to be coached by him,” Simmons said in a statement. “He is more than a coach; he is family.

Patrick recruited the young Australian during his four years as an assistant at LSU between 2012 and 2016.

Simmons, who because of injury has yet to appear for the Nets in a dream triumvirate with fellow All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, added: “Sac State is getting more than a brilliant coach. They are getting a guy who will create a culture of success, support and accountability. I’m excited for the current players to be able to experience a coach who will not only make them better basketball players, but also better men. I’m looking forward to watching Sacramento State’s success over the coming years.”

Fellow NBA players Moses Moody, of the Golden State Warriors, whom Patrick coached at Arkansas, and Memphis Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane, who was with him at Texas Christian University, joined in on the endorsements.

“Anyone who knows David Patrick is aware there is no one more prepared for this opportunity,” Moody told The Sacramento Bee. “I’m beyond proud of Coach for his dedication to the game, and to every player he’s coached along the way. During my time at Arkansas, he continued to believe and invest in me and my team-mates every day. The players at Sacramento State are blessed to have him as a coach, and the value he will bring to the Hornets is beyond measure.”

Bane, who was at TCU when Patrick was an assistant coach between 2016 and 2018, added: “Words cannot describe how happy and excited I am that David has received the Sacramento State job. His love and passion for people and the game of basketball has taken him all over the globe. He has shined everywhere he’s been, and I’m sure Sacramento State will be no different.”

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Published April 07, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated April 07, 2022 at 10:32 am)

David Patrick signs deal to become head coach of Sacramento State

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