Darrell Patton, Assistant Varsity coach at St. Gregory College Preparatory School and director of Tucson Magic Basketball Association has won a national award. He was awarded the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach Award for his work in developing young players on and off the court. The Positive Coaching Alliance is a national not-for-profit organization devoted to providing youth and high school athletes with positive and character building youth sports experiences.
The award was announced on February 16 but Patton actually received the award at a ceremony held for him at St. Gregory’s on April 20. Hundreds of parents, players, students and faculty came to watch Coach Patton receive the award.
Patton joined an elite group of twenty coaches nationally. He was the only coach to win the award in Arizona. The award is given to those coaches who are “serving youth in their communities through the Double-Goal Coach model of pursuing both wins and the even more-important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.’’
Having personal experience as a player for Coach Patton, I can not think of a more deserving person for this award. I have known him for even longer than I have played for him and know that he has not only developed me, but many others on and off the court. For Patton, it isn’t all about winning games, rather he focuses on making each of his players better human beings. At the award ceremony, Coach Patton told the crowd that “parents should not critique their kids’ game when they begin playing basketball. You should be there to encourage them and tell them you’re proud of them. Leave the critiquing for later, when they get a older you can focus on that.”
This approach to coaching is all too rare in youth basketball today. Nowadays, many coaches think that winning games is all there is to basketball. They don’t worry about their impact on the confidence and self-esteem of the kids who play for them. Whether you are a starter who has too much pressure put on you or you are a bench warmer hoping to get some playing time, most coaches create stress in the lives of their players. Coach Patton is just the opposite. He builds the confidence of his players at the same time as he pushes them to work harder and do better. As a player, you always know that Coach Patton supports you and wants you to succeed. Every practice and every game ends with a hug or a handshake.
As Coach Patton received his award on stage, he gave a speech which truly exemplified the type of person he is. He said that “all of you being here tonight, means more than winning the award." Coach Patton is the type of person who goes out of his way to help his players. Whether it be an early morning practice or an issue in one of his players lives, Patton is always available for his players.
Coach Darrell Patton has been here in the Tucson community for just about 30 years now and has had a profound effect on many. He has won two state-championships at St. Gregory and has helped send his players to play college basketball.
However, his most important accomplishment has been developing his young players into young men. For Coach Patton, it’s about much more then basketball. It’s how basketball helps transform his players into better people that make him and the community proud.