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Colorado Head Coach Ricardo Patton announced on Wednesday that this season will be his last with the CU men’s basketball team.
“Today, I am announcing that this is my last year as head coach of the University of Colorado men’s basketball team. I will neither seek nor accept an extension of my contract, which runs until July 1, 2007,” Patton said.
This season, Patton faces a unique challenge with eight freshmen on the roster, which is the youngest team in program history.
“We have a large, outstanding freshman class and a talented team this year. Our players need to focus on adjusting to the rigor of academics at CU and to the level of competition in the Big 12 without being distracted by speculation regarding my contract,” Patton said.
Patton also said that announcing his decision now will remove the distraction from this year’s team and allow his staff, the university, his players and recruits the greatest amount of time possible to decide their futures.
It had been known that Athletic Director Mike Bohn was going to make an end of the season assessment Patton’s job and make a decision on whether to offer the veteran coach an extension or walking papers.
When asked if the assessment was fair Patton said, “There is a body of work that speaks for itself.”
While with CU, Patton guided the program to two NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT appearances.(cq) Patton also has 117 career wins, which ranks second all-time at CU.
“I think I’ve been truly blessed to have the opportunity to be the head coach at the University of Colorado and in the Big 12 for 10 full seasons, going into my 11th year,” said Patton.
Patton also notified his three committed recruits for next year about his decision to leave after he broke the news to his current players.
Bohn met with the team just before their afternoon practice and said that he was taken off-guard by Patton’s resignation. He also noted that he had not prepared an official “ready-list” for possible replacements, but that the current team would be involved in that process.
“We got to move on and put it behind us and look forward. We have enough time to put it behind us. We still have a season to play, and that is what the bottom line is,” said junior stand-out guard Richard Roby said.
Roby felt that Patton’s contract has been a bit of a distraction for the team in the past.
“It is a constant thing in the back of your mind. If you win this game, how is it going to affect him and affect his job? If you lose this game, how is it going to affect his job? I think that is the main reason why he decided to do this now. He didn’t want to distract us through-out the year,” Roby said.
Junior forward Marcus King-Stockton said the decision will “bring us even closer together than we were before.”
“It has always been my goal to create a winning program carried out with character, integrity, and complete honesty. I am proud to say that we have achieved that,” Patton said.