Legendary Girls Basketball Coach Asked to Resign at Eden Prairie

August 17, 2017 06:41 PM

Faith Johnson Patterson is arguably the most successful coach in Minnesota girls high school basketball history. For the past two years she's worked as Eden Prairie's head coach.

But that quietly ended in June and the school still hasn't said why. 


On Thursday, she sat down exclusively with KSTP to discuss what happened publicly for the first time.

"I would have to say that I was short-changed," Johnson Patterson said. "Just to keep it real; I was shortchanged."

Johnson Patterson is one of the most successful girls basketball coaches in state history, having led teams at Minneapolis North and DeLaSalle to 14 state tournament appearances and eight state titles.

That includes winning three-straight state championships at two different schools – first at North in 2003, '04 and '05, then again at DeLaSalle in 2011, '12 and '13.

Along the way, she was inducted into the Minnesota Girls Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.

She left DeLaSalle for the Eden Prairie job in the summer of 2015. There, her teams finished 6-21 in 2015-16 and 5-22 last season, falling in the first round of the section playoffs each year.

Earlier this month, it was reported she will be replaced by Ellen Wiese, a former head coach at Orono who was an assistant at St. Thomas last season.

"That's the sad part about this whole thing, is there were so many rumors, and so many things out there, that was so unbelievable," Johnson Patterson said.

She said the Eden Prairie High School principal asked her to resign in June. Johnson Patterson told him no.

"I wanted to continue," she said. "To remain being the head coach of the team, for many reasons."

Among them, finalizing summer training camp.

But at a June board meeting Johnson Patterson said she was unaware of, a decision was made to hire a new head coach.

"A parent shared an e-mail with me," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, OK, thanks for sharing that.'"

"They wanted to thank me for everything that I've done for the program, and they've decided to move in a different direction."

Johnson Patterson said a couple of days later the school gave her a different written notice.

In a Facebook post on June 14th, she wrote, in part: "I feel offended. I feel betrayed."

When asked offended and betrayed by whom or what, Johnson Patterson replied:

"About a lot of things that took place, that happened."

Throughout the interview, Johnson Patterson was emphatic: "I didn't do anything wrong."

She was also asked if she believes she was wrongly terminated. Her response:

"Those questions, I can't and I will not answer those, because my opinion at this particular point, I want it to remain my opinion."

The Eden Prairie school district did not respond to a request for more information on Johnson Patterson's dismissal, other than to say she is no longer employed.


Brandi Powell

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