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Patterson Resigns at Arizona St.

February 05, 1989|Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State basketball Coach Steve Patterson, whose coaching ability has been severely criticized by the media recently, resigned Saturday.

Patterson, 40, announced his resignation just 1 hour before the Sun Devils played California in a Pacific 10 Conference game. Patterson, who was in his fourth season, had a 48-57 record. This season, the Sun Devils were 10-9 overall and 3-7 in the conference and had lost 7 of their past 10 games.

Arizona State Athletic Director Charles Harris said that assistant coach Bob Schermerhorn will take over on an interim basis for the rest of this season and that the school will begin searching for a new coach.

Schermerhorn, 44, a second-year assistant at Arizona State, was 68-42 in 4 seasons as coach at Southern Utah State.

He lost in his debut Saturday as Leonard Taylor scored 20 points and Keith Smith added 16 to lead California to a 73-63 win.

Columnists for three of the state's largest newspapers criticized Patterson in the past week, and all said the program needed to go in a different direction with a different coach.

However, at his weekly news conference Tuesday, Patterson said his job seemed secure and he had Harris' support. He said Saturday that the decision to resign was his own and was reached "just in the last 24 hours."

Patterson, who was a center at UCLA from 1969-71, has a bachelor's degree in physical education from Sonoma State. He was a Sun Devil assistant when he was named head coach on Aug. 15, 1985, taking over for Bob Weinhauer, who was fired after going 44-45 in 3 seasons.

Patterson's only previous head-coaching experience was one season at Santa Rosa (Calif.) College in 1983-84.

In his first season, Patterson led Arizona State to a 14-14 record, 8-10 in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils were 11-17, 6-12 in 1986-87 and 13-16, 6-12 last season.

The NCAA placed the program on probation for 1 year in January, 1986, for various violations during Weinhauer's tenure.

"When I took over this program, it was a tough job." Patterson said. "It was almost a no-win situation. I believe I've brought a sense of stability, both athletic and academic."

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