Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gary Williams stops by Siena to talk Patsos

There may be only a few people who know the real Jimmy Patsos.

Beyond the character of the coach that jumps up and down on the sidelines and behind the public person who can sometimes overshadow his professional resume is a coach who has succeeded everywhere he's been.

One of the people who may know Patsos best is former Maryland coach Gary Williams. Patsos worked with Williams for 13 years with the Terrapins, winning a national title together in 2002 (and beating Rob Lanier's Siena club along the way).

Williams was in the Capital District on Monday and stopped by Siena's practice on Tuesday.

"I think Jimmy looks at the challenge to get (the program) where it was," said Williams.

Patsos left Williams in 2004, to take the head job at Loyola (Md.) and was with the Greyhounds the past nine seasons.

When he took over at Loyola, the team had one just one game, a far cry from the tradition-rich program that Siena is. The Saints have been down for the past few seasons, but when they are good, there's no question it's the best coaching job to have in the MAAC because the crowds are big and the Capital District is swept up in the program and the team.

When Athletic Director John D'Argenio hired Patsos, I'm sure he was thinking that Patsos would be a great guy to sell people on the program's revival.

"If there's a guy who can get the community involved with a team, Jimmy's that guy," Williams said.

Patsos turned that 1-win program around, finishing the past two seasons with a combined 47 victories and two postseason berths. Along the way he became a national name for both good and not so good reasons. There's no doubting he can coach. But sometimes he took away from what he could do with his players on the floor, with his own antics.

He's mellowed over the past few seasons, coincidentally or not, during the most successful years with Loyola. There's no doubt he'll put on a show as head coach of the Saints -- everyone with Siena is just hoping its a box office bonanza.

"I want to watch Jimmy in action," Williams said.

The area will finally get the chance to see the real Patsos, when Siena opens the season against crosstown rival UAlbany, on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.
Below is Williams wearing a nice Siena Under Armour polo shirt before practice began. 

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