Patrick upbeat about Vikings' future
Ben Patrick has been away from coaching since 2001, but he believes leading the Northridge High School boys basketball program gives him the perfect opportunity to return to the bench.
Patrick replaces John Wheeler, whose contract was not renewed after four seasons.
"One, I like that (the Northridge school district) is a close-knit community," Patrick said. "And secondly, there's talent here. We can do some amazing things, but we have to put it all together."
Last season, the Vikings finished 9-12 overall after losing to Ready 51-32 in the opening round of the Division III district tournament. In the MBC, they finished fifth (6-8) behind champion Loudonville (13-1).
"(Patrick) coached at Marion Catholic and I think he will be a good fit for our program," athletics director Wayne Howard said.
Patrick is a 1989 graduate of Tree of Life in Columbus. He has a career record of 43-27 in one season at Delaware Christian (1997-98) and two seasons at Marion Catholic (1999-2001).
In 2001, Patrick left coaching because of a family illness.
"I've really missed (coaching) and it's good to be back," he said. "We have been to a shootout at Marietta and played really well. We put up 70 points in games with a running clock."
Expected to return for the Vikings are seniors Brady Charles (6-foot-3, post player), Sean Higgins (6-1, guard) and Hayden Warner (5-10, guard; 7.4 points per game) as well as juniors Matt Grindle (6-1, guard; 5.1 ppg) and Eli Ketron (6-4, post player).
"They're picking up the presses and picking up the fast break," Patrick said. "We're looking to run the fast break on every possession. We'll be looking for quick shots and force our opponents into mistakes.
"We want to play the whole game like we're 10 points down with a minute to play. It's going to be fast and aggressive."
Patrick said Northridge's pay-to-participate fees might be a challenge, but they're not an excuse for subpar seasons. On June 6, the fees for next school year were set at $400 for the first sport, $250 for a second sport and $200 for a third.
"We have been working hard on fundraising and working on summer workouts and getting ready for the season," said Patrick, a Westerville resident who works for PNC in Columbus. "This coming season is what we're concerned with. I don't have a four-year plan or a two-year plan; we expect to win immediately. We want to win a district title right now."