Van Patten steps down as coach

GLENDALE — Jack Van Patten will no longer be roaming the courts as coach of the Hoover High girls’ basketball team.

However, he will still be visible in the landscape of Hoover athletics.

Van Patten recently opted to resign as coach after nine seasons so he could continue to serve as Hoover’s athletic director and teach full time.

It’s not clear who will succeed Van Patten, who graduated from Hoover in 1980 after playing for several seasons on the school’s boys’ basketball team. He also went on to coach the school’s lower-level football and basketball programs for several seasons.

Van Patten, whose team went 10-15 and 4-8 in the Pacific League this past season, cited several reasons for no longer being able to handle both positions.

“To coach a team and do it well, it takes an inordinate amount of time,” said Van Patten, who has been the athletic director since 1998. “There’s a lot that goes into it.

“I have two young boys (ages 2 and 4) and they’re growing up. [Hoover is] going through some changes in athletics in different ways, and there’s going to be stuff where I need to pay a little more attention to. You only have so much time and energy, and I think the girls [on the basketball team] deserve somebody who can give their full time and energy to the program.”

Hoover Principal Kevin Welsh said Van Patten made him aware that last season would likely be Van Patten’s last on the bench. He also hopes to have a successor in place before summer league begins in June.

“Jack is a prince of a human being,” Welsh said. “He’s been a tremendous model for our teachers to the coaches right down to the kids.

“He kind of gave me the heads up prior to the season that it would probably be his last. I support his decision and he will still be here. There’s a great deal of reciprocal trust between him, Assistant Principal Bill Sterling and I.”

The Tornadoes last qualified for the postseason in 2007, when they fell to powerful Mira Costa, 71-35, in the first round of Division I-A playoffs.

Hoover struggled throughout most of this past season, though it closed out the campaign with a 37-35 road league victory against cross-town rival Glendale on Feb. 7.

Hoover has undergone massive changes recently with respect to coaching positions. The Tornadoes hired Chris Long to be their new football coach May 6.

Girls’ water polo, girls’ soccer, boys’ basketball, the swimming program, softball and boys’ tennis all had first-season coaches in the past school year.

Hence, Van Patten would like to oversee the programs and make sure they have stability.

“There’s a lot of new coaches out there,” Van Patten said. “There’s a lot of different parameters in store.

“It’s always challenging and it’s always evolving.”

 CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or

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