John Currie never foresaw this day. The K-State Athletics Director didn't think the program would be in this position. Yet, it happened. Currie formally announced Sunday that Deb Patterson has been relieved of her duties as the Wildcats' head women's basketball coach after 18 years.
"As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision to make," Currie said during a press conference at Bramlage Coliseum. "I have a great appreciation for Coach Patterson, both as a person and a coach, and want to offer our thanks for her service here… As we went through the evaluative process, I just felt that we were not on a trajectory to get back to the level of achievement that we have experienced in our history and it was time for new leadership in our program."
Currie informed Patterson of his decision in a meeting Friday night, and Patterson met with the staff and team Sunday. K-State concluded its season with an 87-84 overtime loss to Kansas 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 was 350-226 during her tenure and led the Wildcats to nine NCAA Tournaments while also capturing Big 12 Championships in 2003-04 and 2007-08.
"Deb Patterson is an outstanding basketball coach. She's a great human being and she's been a good leader for this program," Currie said. "Those are the things that make it really hard. It's hard for everybody. Obviously it's hard for student-athletes and it was hard for the coaching staff. Decisions that are easy really aren't decisions. This was a decision that required considerable thought and examination and discussion with some folks inside the 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. Currie said a national search for Patterson's replacement would begin immediately.
"We'll move very quickly," he said. "I can't promise it will be 100 hours like the last time we went through one of these processes, but it will be as expeditious as possible. It will be very thorough, but we will move to get this thing done just as soon as we can."