BY PAUL HINES
Matt Patterson already coaches multiple teams at Woodlawn.
He recently added to the list.
“I didn't think there was any better opportunity then staying in your hometown and trying to help get that program going again,” Patterson said. “
Patterson is the new coach of the Woodlawn girls basketball team. The squad is currently in the midst of several weeks of open gyms, which continue until July 18.
“Summers are huge in high school basketball anymore,” Patterson said. “You're just trying to keep up with the Jones with the way some of these programs run in the summer. Really all we're trying to do is get some interest and get our numbers up first and foremost.”
The last couple seasons Woodlawn has struggled to build a junior varsity squad to pair with its varsity team. Two years ago, the Lady Cardinals finished with six players on the varsity roster. Last season, Woodlawn started the year with a junior varsity team, but ended the season with just the varsity squad. Patterson said there have been 10-12 girls on average at the open gym workouts.
“That a good start, obviously, and then we're hoping we can pick up a few more once school gets going and get the word out,” he said. “(That is) pretty good numbers so far.”
Patterson added that Woodlawn is not investigating any co-op options that would combine the Lady Cardinals with another school.
“We're hoping that we can get our numbers back up to where that's no longer an issue,” he said. “That's the biggest job right now is making sure we have enough kids for JV and varsity games.”
The new coach said one of the keys is building from the youth programs and junior high school that feed into the high school.
“The junior high program is in really good shape right now, and we're hoping that trend will continue and that will help us build back up at the high school,” Patterson said.
Patterson is a veteran of the Woodlawn sports scene. He coaches the Lady Cardinals softball team. He also coached the boys junior high school basketball squad to the SIJHSAA Class S title over Rome last season.
Patterson takes over for Trisha Draege, who coached the Lady Cardinals for one season. Woodlawn finished 6-20 overall and lost in the opening round of the regional to Elverado in overtime.
The first-round loss snapped a string of three straight regional titles for the Lady Cardinals.