New Siena Coach Jimmy Patsos Brings Optimism, Panache
When the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference moved its basketball tournament from frequent host city Albany, then-Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos was perhaps more upset than even arena and city officials. Patsos loved the downtown experience, he loved Albany’s restaurants, and he loved the knowledgeable college basketball crowds that made mid-major basketball feel like the big time each March.
Now, after nine years at Loyola, where he took the Greyhounds from a six-win season his first year all the way to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, Patsos can call his favorite MAAC city home.
Patsos was recently named head coach at Siena, and he takes over a program did a 180 over the past three seasons under the fired Mitch Buonaguro after a three-peat for coach Fran McCaffery, who is now at Iowa.
For Patsos, who won a national championship as an assistant at Maryland in 2002, the Siena job means he can stay in the MAAC, since Loyola is leaving for the Patriot League. It also means he has to win soon, since the Saints have a rabid fan base that is ready to return to the top of the conference after three years in the wilderness.
One thing is for sure: Siena fans are in for some excitement, since Patsos is the dictionary definition of “colorful coach,” known for his loquacious press conferences, sideline outbursts and sometimes untraditional strategy.