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10/26/2006 08:00:00 PM
Patton's Pre-emptive Strike
Ricardo Patton and the Buffaloes were picked to finish dead last in the Big 12 this year by the league's coaches.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The fact that Ricardo Patton won't be back at Colorado next season is not a shock; he didn't expect his $750,000-a-year contract to be renewed after it expired on July 1, 2007, and neither did most people surrounding the program. In a poll on the Rocky Mountain News' Web site, 79.5 percent of readers (as of Thursday afternoon) said Patton "hasn't done enough to keep the Buffs consistently good, especially in the postseason." Patton is entering the 11th year of a 170-144 stretch and didn't want his team to endure a winter's worth of speculation about his impending dismissal, so it's tough to fault him for the pre-emptive strike.
What made Patton's Wednesday announcement that he'll resign at the end of the season so strange was its timing and execution: He dropped the bomb on CU's media day, without informing athletic director Mike Bohn first (Patton had reportedly tried to reach Bohn earlier in the day, but failed). And the coach served as a one-man PR department, typing up (and photocopying) his own, four-page press release complete with a Q&A section, a bio and a retrospective of the dismal 10 years that preceded his first decade in Boulder.
You can check out Patton's self-published release here in PDF form, but these are the choice parts:
• In the final paragraph of the statement, on Page 1, he writes, "I would like to thank the University of Colorado and especially Bill Marolt who hired me, and former athletic director Dick Tharp, for the support I received."
It's a classic damnation-by-omission move: Bohn's name is glaringly missing from the thank-you portion.
• The "10 Years Before Coach Patton" page -- in which he makes a strong case about the program's dire situation before he arrived -- is heavy on the word "only." Such as (I've inserted the italics for emphasis):
"1984-85: Randy Downsonly third player in CU history to reach 1,000 points as a junior" "1985-86: Only team in Big 8 history to go winless in league play" "1994-95: The Buffs receive only their second bid to the NIT Tournament in the last 25 years"
Patton is now the only coach to be on the way out before the season has even started. Will a certain Denver Nuggets assistant get the first call from the Buffs? Mike Dunlap passed up on Division I offers while at Metro State in order to keep his family in the Mile High, but the commute to Boulder would only be a half hour ...