Deb Patterson fired after 18 seasons as women’s head basketball coach

Photo by Chandler Riley | Collegian Women's basketball head coach Deb Patterson looks on as her team struggles against the Texas Longhorns Feb. 12 in Bramlage Coliseum. Athletics Director John Currie announced Sunday that Patterson was "relieved of her duties" as head coach and that a search for a new head coach will begin immediately at Sunday's press conference.

On Sunday, K-State Athletics Director John Currie announced at a press conference Sunday that women’s basketball head coach Deb Patterson was “relieved of her duties” after 18 seasons as the head coach of the Wildcats. This followed the Wildcats’ season-ending 87-84 overtime loss to in-state rival Kansas in the first round of the 2014 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships.

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.”

Patterson is the all-time winningest coach in K-State women’s basketball history, boasting an overall record of 350-226 during her 18 seasons with the Wildcats. During her tenure at K-State, Patterson took the Wildcats to nine NCAA tournaments and won two Big 12 titles in 2004 and 2008.

Despite her longtime success at K-State, Patterson’s team struggled over the last two seasons, finishing both with a 5-13 record in Big 12 play.

“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 that it was time for new leadership in our program,” Currie said.

The Wildcats fielded their youngest team since 1977-78 this season. Leading the way for the Wildcats in scoring, assists, games played, starts and many more statistical categories was freshman Leticia Romero. Eight of the team’s 14 roster spots were filled by freshmen or sophomores.

“Any time you have transition, you have the potential of having roster turnover,” Currie said. “But in making the decisions that we make in athletics, we’re making the decisions in what we truly believe is in the best interest of the program and the best interest of the student athletes.”

The K-State women’s basketball program currently ranks 15th nationally with 853 total wins. K-State became the 13th program in NCAA Division 1 history to reach the 800 game win mark.

Curry said a national search for a new head coach will begin immediately, though no timetable has been set for K-State to announce Patterson’s successor. Associate head coach Kamie Ethridge will serve as interim head coach until a new coach is named.

“I believe that this is an attractive job,” Currie said. “This is a university where we’ve invested $125 million in new facilities in the last three years, we’ve got more to come. I’ll say it again, that basketball training facility for women and men is I think one of the finest facilities in the country.”