John Patrick has done more with less better than a lot of coaches. And now Patrick will get his chance to prove himself a savior as coach, taking over as new boss at Neckar RIESEN Ludwigsburg with the goal of avoiding relegation.
The 44-year-old Patrick replaced Steven Key at the struggling Beko BBL club on Monday, one day following Key’s firing after four losses in the team’s last five games. Ludwigsburg dropped to 5-12 for 17th place – which would drop the team to the ProA if the season ended today.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge. At the moment we are just getting to know one another. It’s clear that we all want to play more successful and prove our competitiveness,” said Patrick at his introductory press conference, which followed his first practice with the team.
“I like challenges. The club has potential but it’s a long road from the relegation ranks to the middle of the standings.”
The contract is until the end of the season with no option for next season.
Ludwigsburg chairman Alexander Reil believes the team can improve in time to save the season.
“In our personal talks, we were convinced about his competence and motivation. So I am optimistic,” said Reil, who did not rule out the team bringing in new players.
“If it is necessary, we can also bring in reinforcements.”
Patrick was available after being fired following the end of last season by s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg, whom he led to the semi-finals of the Beko BBL playoffs as a promoted team. He turned the ProA team into a playoffs side and had even put together a roster which many thought could be a darkhorse contender this season before being fired.
His new team’s first home game will come against Würzburg on January 12 – three days after the team’s first game against TBB Trier on January 9.
Patrick’s most impressive job came at BG Göttingen where he guided the team with whom he played in the early 1990s and coached from 2003 to 2005 from the second division to a European club title. Under Patrick as head coach, Göttingen won promotion to the BBL in the 2006-07 season and then were runners-up in the regular season in 2009 – with very limited means financially.
In the 2009-10 season, Göttingen finished third in the regular season and won the FIBA Eurochallenge competition crown. In 2010-11, the team slipped to seventh place.
Patrick has a strong connection to Japan, where he played in the late 1990s and then coached until 2001 and for the 2005-06 season – where he won the JBL Superleague.
Ludwigsburg is 17th in the BBL at 5-12, one game behind Frankfurt and Braunschweig and one game ahead of last placed Giessen. In their last five games, Ludwigsburg have suffered losses to Tubingen (8-9, eighth place) Braunschweig (6-11, 16th), Giessen (4-13, 18th) and Hagen (8-9, ninth)
Patrick’s teams tend to fall off greatly after he departs as Göttingen were relegated to ProA last season and Würzburg have slumped to a 7-9 record in 11th place.