Coach Johnson Patterson moves on to Eden Prairie

Prep sceneAfter 20 years, 14 state tournament appearances, eight Class 3A titles and two three-peats at different schools (Minneapolis North from 2003-2005 and DeLaSalle from 2011-2013), former Marshall University High School and University of Wisconsin star Faith Johnson Patterson is leaving DeLaSalle to coach Eden Prairie.

Aside from the three-peats, Johnson Patterson’s coaching career is flooded with highlights.

Her first two state titles were led by two Ms. Basketball winners who went on to play Division I basketball and were the only female players selected to play in the Inner City All-Star Classic when the game only featured the top boys’ basketball players in the state. (The girls’ game was created in 2001.)

Tamara Moore led North to its first title in 1998 before having a stellar career at the University of Wisconsin and, later, in the WNBA. Mauri Horton followed suit in 1999 and went on to Rutgers, where she led her team to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Johnson Patterson would not get her next Class 3A state title until 2003, when Mia Johnson, Tyrai Bronson and LaRaea Starr — junior guards tired of hearing about the championship legacies left by Moore and Horton — left a legacy of their own, starting the first three-peat.

Johnson and Bronson ended up playing at Michigan State University and Creighton University respectively.

After her final title at North in 2005, the balance of the Minneapolis City Conference and state dominance shifted as former Minneapolis South, Ohio State University, and current WNBA player Tayler Hill dominated the next four years, culminating in a Class 4A state title for the Tigers in 2009.

That same year, Johnson Patterson coached what many called her finest season at North when senior Brianna Edwards and eighth graders Allina Starr, Seanna Johnson, Chelsey Green and Talayiah Rich led the Lady Polars to a Class 2A runner-up finish.

The following season, Johnson Patterson was coaching DeLaSalle and ninth graders Starr and Johnson (Green and Rich went on to have outstanding prep careers at Robbinsdale Cooper).

The first year, 2010, they finished in second place in Class 3A and followed with the second championship three-peat of Johnson Patterson’s career.

Johnson is currently enjoying an outstanding career at Iowa State University while Starr will play at the University of Minnesota after transferring from Auburn.

There were no state tournament appearances for DeLaSalle and Johnson Patterson the past two seasons, but the Islanders still fielded competitive teams.

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in terms of basketball in Johnson Patterson’s family. Brothers Curtis Johnson and Terrell Johnson put Minneapolis Henry boys’ basketball on the map in the late 1980s.

Curtis Johnson is the father of Seanna Johnson and Jarvis Johnson, the DeLaSalle point guard who led the Islanders to four straight Class 3A crowns.

The legacy continues.

 

Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to mmcdonald@spokesman-recorder.com.

 

About Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at mcdeezy05@gmail.com.

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