The Anatomy of a State Champion

Class 3A State Champion - Coach Faith Johnson Patterson

Islanders keep the FAITH in quest to repeat Minnesota state title



            FAITH & hunger key to Islanders’ chance to repeat state championship title
“As a coach, you have to know how to keep your team hungry and not content.”

“That was then, this is now”, says DeLaSalle Head Coach Faith Johnson Patterson. The 2011 Minnesota State 3A Champion understands this is a new year and what her team must do to win another state championship title come March. “It will take unselfishness, faith, trust in your coaches, teammates and putting all egos aside”, says Coach Patterson. In a revealing Q&A with gPrep, the 3A State Champion shares the best basketball advice she’s ever received, the pressure she feels to repeat back to back championships for DeLaSalle and her definition of the “perfect” team. coach patterson, delasalle
Coach Faith Johnson Patterson

gPrep: What’s the hardest part about being a defending state champion?

Coach Patterson: "I think the hardest part is making sure that your team understands that enjoying the previous years' success is ok, but understand that this is a new year. The competition will be tougher now because other teams will bring their "A" game, trying to measure themselves against you, because they want to achieve what you achieved last season. As a coach, you have to know how to keep your team hungry and not content. Trying to reinvent the team's previous success, because the expectations are raised automatically by what you have accomplished, the pressure from your community, peers and outsiders to win year after year."

gPrep: What will it take to repeat in March?

Coach Patterson: "It will take an understanding of the team together, that other teams want to achieve what you have achieved therefore, not taking it for granted that you are the best. It will take the realization that,"that was then, this is now." A team that is willing to step it up a notch in conditioning and every drill that they do. It will take working together at a completely higher level. It will take unselfishness, faith and trust in your coaches, teammates, and putting all egos aside. It will take leaders and followers. It will take hard work, drive, extreme focus, determination and a willingness to grow and learn. It will take humility, accepting helpful criticism and not taking things personal. Never underestimating any opponent that you may face, and approaching every game like it is your last, leaving no stone unturned, having no regrets! It will take vision, focus and desire. It will take knowing and implementing what it takes to be a championship team."

gPrep: Talk about the components of a championship team.

Coach Patterson: "This team will encompass a very unselfish attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude can sometimes be challenging, but overall the team is committed to continuous improvement. They learn to resolve conflicts effectively and welcome their challenges. They will be disciplined, humble and will respect all coaches and teammates. They will wholeheartedly embrace the concept of team ball, understanding that each player is equally important as the next. Championship teams have no place for showmanship, ball hogging, or an abundance of mistakes. The team works to build morale internally, and embraces the diversity of all of its members. They develop each other and learn from one another. The team works towards a common goal, cooperate rather than compete, and communicate openly. They will take pride in their accomplishments, learn from their losses and celebrate their successes together."


delasalle islanders team picture, championship 2011
2011 Class 3A Champion, DeLaSalle Islanders


gPrep: You have won multiple championships at Minneapolis North. Did you feel any pressure to win at DeLaSalle?

Coach Patterson: "I think you always feel the pressure as a coach to win and be successful. When I relocated to DeLaSalle, I realized that I was starting over and what I had accomplished at Minneapolis North was over. I think that any coach would feel that if you've been successful at one program. You are expected to continue that type of success as a personal goal. What I've accomplished at Minneapolis North will always be with me. I learned so much from the players and families there that I had the opportunity to work with, and I will never forget that. I now have moved on, and I am very grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to win my first title at DeLaSalle, for the school, the players, and especially those that believed in me!"

gPrep: What’s the single most important skill a team needs to get to the Target Center and win in March?

Coach Patterson: : "Determination."

gPrep:: Describe the “perfect” team.

Coach Patterson: "The perfect team will have members, who accept both praise and criticism and efficiently use their time and talents. It will use all of its resources wisely and stay on task. They will follow the principles of a championship team. They will follow and implement the coaches game plan. They will perform with little to minimum errors. The perfect team will compete to the end."

gPrep:: Describe the “total” player.

Coach Patterson: "The total player is very athletic and has all the necessary skills to produce and perform at a high level on a consistent basis. They are also able to make up in other ways, what they may lack athletically to maintain that high level of performance. They are creative and savvy. They understand time and situation. They know when to lead and when to follow. The total player is coachable, self disciplined, respectful, humble, and always willing to learn. She/he is not content. They continue to work hard. They make others better and put the team first. They volunteer and go out of their way to be helpful. They have a high basketball IQ but continue to be a study of the game. They're not afraid to ask questions when they lack understanding. They never settle or give up. They maintain a positive attitude at all times, seeing the glass half full, never taking things personal. They are able to endure even through the tough times. They are focused and goal oriented, having vision and purpose. They utilize their time wisely. They are excellent students in the classroom.
They understand and help to implement the coach's game plan. They are excellent teammates. They compete until the end. They are winners. They are a coach's dream."

gPrep: How many have you coached?

Coach Patterson: "I have had several."

gPrep:: Is there pressure on you to win again?

Coach Patterson: "Absolutely!"

gPrep: What’s the best basketball advice you’ve ever received?

Coach Patterson: "Trust your instincts."

gPrep: Who’s your mentor?

Coach Patterson: "Pat Summit, C. Vivian Stringer, Ed Prohosfski, and my mother Dr. Ruby Lee Johnson."







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