Last season, the Greenbrier East Spartans basketball team went 10-4 in a COVID-shortened campaign, but those 10 wins were impressive and most came against tough competition. Coach Bimbo Coles had finally gotten to the point in his coaching career where his team was reloading and playing the way he wanted them to play.
After last year, however, Coles accepted a new opportunity in Florida, packed his family up and headed south, which left a coaching vacancy up for grabs at his alma mater.
After several weeks of intense interviews and board meetings, the school decided to hire Jared Patton to lead the Spartans in 2021-22.
Patton was the lead assistant for Coles over the last few years and has plenty of experience and knowledge to be highly successful. When Patton realized he was going to win the job, he felt relief and immediate excitement.
“The waiting process was tough, not knowing who was going to be selected for the position led to a lot of sleepless nights. The schools administration had some tough decisions on who to choose for the position. I felt confident that the position was mine when I received a phone call from the schools Athletic Director, Jason Stewart, telling me that the board had voted me in for Head Coach,” Patton said.
Patton admits he thought he knew what basketball was all about until he got to know Coles in more detail. And the experience of learning under the former NBA player has paid great dividends for Patton at this point in his career.
“Being an assistant under Bimbo for the past six years has been challenging, fun and the knowledge obtained is on another level. He was very demanding and pushed our past teams to exceed a lot of expectations. I had coached basketball for many years in little league andtravel ball before joining his coaching staff in middle school six years ago. I thought I knew basketball until I was in the gym with Bimbo,” Patton stated.
“His experiences that he brought to our teams and us coaches were priceless. Every day was a learning experience for me and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to coach with him for so many years. As for our coaching styles, they are very similar. We both expect our teams to play at a high level and hold each and every player accountable for how they perform on the court and in the classroom. We will continue to play with toughness, the not back down attitude and at the end of the day, whoever we play will know they have been in a dog fight for 32 minutes,” Patton said passionately.
Now tasked with the job of finding his own assistants, Patton thinks he has made the right decisions in regards to who’s going to help him on the bench with a little family flavor mixed in as well.
“Joining me this year for my assistants are Dave Austin, Jemel Samuels and Nate Patton. Dave and I coached together at the middle school for two years and are going into our fifth year together at the high school. Dave is an incredible coach and is responsible for my subbing during games, baseline/sideline plays and assists me with our offenses,” Patton said.
Jemel has been with us for three years. He’s a great coach with a lot of experience from playing for Concord back in the day to coaching at Covington High School. Jemel and Nate (Patton) focus primarily on our defenses. Nate (Jared’s son) is joining us for the first time this year. He is a Spartan Alumni and has played the game since he was five years old. He is graduating in the Spring from West Virginia Tech with a degree in Athletic Coaching. He was the Student Coach Assistant for Coach WIlliams for one year and Coach Long for three years at WV Tech. Nate has the college experience to take our kids to the next level. He is going to be our JV coach this year and brings a lot of energy and excitement to the program,” stated Patton.
With all the hiring and staff decisions out of the way, the head coach anticipates a positive first season on the court.
“I anticipate our first season to be a good one. Our goal has always been trying to make it to states and this season will be no different. We have a lot of good players on both JV and Varsity,” Patron said.
“If fans enjoy a fast paced run and gun type game they will love the way we play. Unfortunately we don’t have that 7-foot guy but what we do have is a lot of players that can play hard nosed defense, run the floor and knock down threes consistently. The players will bring energy and excitement to our games each and every time they take the court. These guys work extremely hard each and every day at practice and appreciate the support from our community,” Patron continued.
“I encourage and challenge all our fans to come to all of our games and continue to make Spartan basketball gym a premier place to play for us,” the coach concluded.
East opens their new season December 10 at home against the Bluefield Beavers.