You're the coach of a premier girls' high school basketball program, but other schools keep wooing your top assistant. How do you ensure he'll stick around to give your team a chance to become only the second in Minnesota history to win three consecutive girls' state tides? Easy: Marry him.
In October, a month before the basketball season began, Faith Johnson said, "I do," to John Patterson, her assistant for the past four years at North High in Minneapolis. Faith denies that her vows were basketball-related, though she does tease John by saying that if they ever break up, she'll fire him.
Though the Pattersons try to team up on decisions, they approach coaching differently. John, an engineer by day, is the analytical one, while Faith, a human resources specialist, is more intuitive. He'll want to start a player who practiced well; she's more inclined to go with someone because she can see in the player's eyes that she's ready. Still, the coaching couple does far better than most of their unwed rivals. North High, with its back-to-back Class 3A titles, is 114-13 since 1995.
At home the Pattersons play more traditional roles: John shovels snow, does home repairs and handles the finances; Faith tends to the housework. "He's the head coach at home," she says. After a tough game or practice, though, the head coach on the court needs a husband, not an assistant. "I don't want to talk X's and O's then," she says. "I just want to be held."
The Pattersons recently learned that Faith is pregnant. The baby's due in August, which means that next season the couple must decide who'll take charge of child care and who'll run the team on a given night. By a twist of nuptial fate, John might finally land a head coaching job after all.