Friday, April 13, 2018

Jimmy Patsos resigns amid allegations of verbal abuse and investigation by Siena

Jimmy Patsos' reign at Siena came to an end Friday amid allegations of verbal abuse that came on heels of 8-24 season, his worst in five years at the helm. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)

After a quiet beginning to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference offseason, the league is now looking at its third head coaching vacancy in less than six weeks.

Just over 24 hours after Shaheen Holloway replaced John Dunne -- who left Saint Peter's for Marist -- in Jersey City, Siena has become the latest rider of the carousel after Jimmy Patsos resigned from his post atop the Saints' program after a five-year reign that began with a College Basketball Invitational championship and ended in a cloud of alleged verbal abuse to a student manager.

Patsos, 51, compiled a 77-92 record in his five seasons at Siena, concluding with an 8-24 mark this past year, the worst of his campaigns since replacing Mitch Buonaguro in 2013. In his defense, though, the Saints were one of the youngest teams in the nation during the 2017-18 season, having to learn on the fly in the wake of graduating four 1,000-point scorers last May and then mitigating the circumstances of Nico Clareth's midseason departure.

"I am resigning my position as basketball coach at Siena College as of April 16, 2018," Patsos said in a statement issued by his attorney, Richard Walsh. "I have denied and continue to deny any accusations of wrongdoing, but it is clear that it would be impossible to coach and recruit for Siena in this atmosphere, and I would never want to do or say anything that would be harmful to the team or to the school."

"I am still not sure how we got to where we are today, but at this time, I believe it would be best for all concerned if I was to leave Siena and pursue the next challenge in my lifetime of helping boys become men through college athletics."

Patsos resigns just nine days removed from the Albany Times Union releasing a report that indicated that he verbally abused a student manager suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, allegedly referring to the manager as "the next Unabomber." The Times Union later reported that Siena had begun an investigation that also looked into potential withholding of per diem payments by Patsos and his staff, as well as a supposed incident in which Patsos shoved guard Kadeem Smithen -- who is graduating and is rumored to be transferring to another university this summer -- during a pregame film session, causing Smithen to be thrown from his chair.

In 14 years as a head coach at Loyola (Maryland), where he won a MAAC championship in 2012, and Siena, Patsos is 222-227 lifetime. A search for his successor will begin immediately, with the rumored top candidate being Le Moyne head coach Patrick Beilein, who was under consideration for the then-vacant head coaching position at Marist before unexpectedly declining an offer two weeks ago.

"I wish everyone at Siena the best and thank all of my players, coaches and managers for their dedication to me over the last five years," Patsos continued in his prepared statement. "I also want to give a heartfelt thank-you to the community that has treated me and my wife, Michele, so wonderfully during our time in the Capital District. Siena is fortunate to have an amazing, dedicated fan base. Hopefully, we will meet again."

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