You're the coach of a premier girls' high school basketball
program, but other schools keep wooing your top assistant. How
do you ensure he'll stick around to give your team a chance to
become only the second in Minnesota history to win three
consecutive girls' state titles? Easy: Marry him.
In October, a month before the basketball season began, Faith
Johnson said, "I do," to John Patterson, her assistant for the
past four years at North High in Minneapolis. Faith denies that
her vows were basketball-related, though she does tease John by
saying that if they ever break up, she'll fire him.
Though the Pattersons try to team up on decisions, they approach
coaching differently. John, an engineer by day, is the analytical
one, while Faith, a human resources specialist, is more
intuitive. He'll want to start a player who practiced well; she's
more inclined to go with someone because she can see in the
player's eyes that she's ready. Still, the coaching couple does
far better than most of their unwed rivals. North High, with its
back-to-back Class 3A titles, is 114-13 since 1995.
At home the Pattersons play more traditional roles: John shovels
snow, does home repairs and handles the finances; Faith tends to
the housework. "He's the head coach at home," she says. After a
tough game or practice, though, the head coach on the court needs
a husband, not an assistant. "I don't want to talk X's and O's
then," she says. "I just want to be held."
The Pattersons recently learned that Faith is pregnant. The
baby's due in August, which means that next season the couple
must decide who'll take charge of child care and who'll run the
team on a given night. By a twist of nuptial fate, John might
finally land a head coaching job after all.