Friday, July 28, 2006

Tommie Patterson Moving from PC to Eastside

As first reported by the Herald News, Tommie Patterson has left the Paterson Catholic boys basketball team to coach at crosstown rival Eastside. Patterson, a Kennedy High grad, spent seven years at PC, going 1-3 in Passaic County championship games while sending Marquis Webb (Rutgers), Darryl Watkins (Syracuse) and Kimmani Barrett (La Salle) on to Division I programs. His top assistant, Damon Wright, is the lead candidate to get the PC job.
“For me it’s overwhelming that I applied for the job and I got the job,” Patterson said in a phone interview on Thursday evening. “Quite honestly, I didn’t think I would get it.
“I thought if I could get to Eastside, which is a bigger forum, then I could have the opportunity to reach more kids like Tyrone Collins did to me. It’s a bigger school, I’ll have more players I can put on the (right) path and let them know it’s not about the city (of Paterson). It’s about you enjoying life. It’s about the student-athlete.
“There are more kids that I can reach with my speeches. Lord knows they don’t like to hear them but I’m going to give it to them.”

Patterson also cited a desire to get away from the parochial school world, where he said he loses kids from Paterson to St. Anthony, St. Benedict's, DePaul and Paramus Catholic because those coaches offer to pay tuitions for the top kids, a suggestion that has stirred debate in some quarters. He says PC has never paid anyone's tuition.

As far as his staff, Patterson is looking at bringing in James Hargrove, a former Kennedy teammate, along with Eddie Hill and James Bacote, two Eastside guys. Hill was Tommie's top assistant at PC and Bacote was an assistant under Art Redmond at Manchester before Redmond was replaced by Rich Sponzilli.

Speaking of the Cougars, rising junior point guard Jordan Theodore of Englewood has scholarship offers from Maryland, Georgetown, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Asked if he was considering leaving the school because of the coaching change, Theodore said, "No."

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