MN Hall-of-Famer Johnson-Patterson ends retirement to coach Visitation

New Visitation School girls basketball coach and MN Coaching Hall-of-Famer Faith-Johnson Patterson is shown coaching DeLaSalle, where she won three State Championships after taking Minneapolis North to five state titles. Photo: 45TV. New Visitation School girls basketball coach and MN Coaching Hall-of-Famer Faith-Johnson Patterson is shown coaching DeLaSalle, where she won three State Championships after taking Minneapolis North to five state titles.

Chris Long
Created: December 31, 2020 08:19 PM

Her eight state titles have her in the Minnesota Coaches Association Hall-of-Fame, but legendary coach Faith Johnson-Patterson isn't done yet.  She told KSTP Sports she's coming out of retirement, and has accepted a job coaching at Visitation School in Mendota Heights.

"I'm excited to be coaching again starting Monday," she said in a text conversation Thursday with KSTP Sports' Chris Long.

Johnson-Patterson won five state championships at Minneapolis North and three more at DeLaSalle. 

Johnson-Patterson had no intention to return to coaching. Her change of heart was sparked during workouts and talks with her brother Terrell and his trainer, UFC fighter Brad Kohler.  Johnson-Patterson says hearing their motivational talks and discussions about their work with kids opened a door in her mind to a possible return.

During her retirement from coaching, she's been working as a business development manager for an employment and staffing agency.

An out-of-the-blue contact from Visitation athletics director Elisa Ryan Manny found a now-willing listener.

"I love the administration, they're about change, inclusion and they are super supportive and appreciative of my work," Johnson-Patterson said in a text exchange.

"Prior to all of this I was extremely troubled by the death of George Floyd and other AA's (African Americans). I thought about what can I do to help bring about change?

"It was sealed when I met the Head of School (Rene Gavic) and spent several hours getting to know her, her passion and mission for her school - I knew at that point I found a new home.

"I said yes yesterday," Johnson-Patterson concluded. "I'm renewed and inspired."

Johnson-Patterson's temporary retirement lasted three years.  After her successes at North and Eden Prairie, she had brief stints at Minneapolis Edison and Eden Prairie.  Both ended after disagreements with parents and administrators.

Her departure from Eden Prairie was especially abrupt after she was asked to resign following two losing seasons. Johnson-Patterson refused, but the school board voted her out.  She only learned of the decision when a parent shared a text message sent by the school.

Johnson-Patterson takes over a Visitation squad that went 11-15 last season before a first-round playoff exit to rising powerhouse Como Park.

According to MnGirlsBasketballHub, the Blazers' last winning season was a 14-12 campaign in 2011-12.  They've lost between 13 and 16 games each season since.


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