Clovis High baseball coach James Patrick will retire after 2019 season
When Clovis High baseball coach James Patrick looks back at his storied career, one thing comes to mind:
“I never thought of this as a job. It’s never work. It’s really enjoyable, and I’ve got great memories.”
After 34 seasons, Patrick, 61, is retiring at the end of the season. He was feted Thursday night during the regular-season finale against Clovis West, coached by his son Kevin. The Cougars defeated the Golden Eagles 5-4 to improve to 16-11 and finish third in the Tri-River Athletic Conference at 8-7, while the Golden Eagles fell to 17-11 and 7-8.
Patrick has compiled a 752-272-3 career record in two seasons at San Joaquin Memorial (1983-1984) and 32 at Clovis (1988-2019), according to Central Section historian Bob Barnett.
He came to Clovis in 1985 as an assistant and replaced Mike Paustian as head coach three seasons later.
“This is the right time to close this chapter,” Patrick said. “Maybe it’s time for a new chapter. I’ve got three grandchildren, my wife is retired ... it’s the right time do something a little different.”
Patrick guided his teams to 13 league championships and nine section titles — the most by a coach in the section, Barnett said. Clovis won two national championships in 1997 and 1998 under Patrick.
It was Patrick who made Clovis relevant, giving the school its first league title in 32 years in 1995, and the Cougars’ section championship in ‘95 was the first for a program that started in 1907.
His last section title at Clovis came in 2017 when the Cougars defeated Buchanan 2-1. Patrick is the section’s all-time coaching leader in wins.
Patrick said he let the administration know of his intention of retiring before the season and “I gave plenty of advance notice my time was numbered.”
“I can close my eyes and tell you 100 things about what I’ve been able to do coaching baseball,” he said. “Players have been great. The relationships you build, the parents, people I work with ... those are probably the best memories. I can close my eyes and tell you different championship teams and how they played together, the relationships you make through the years.”
Besides championships, what’s his crowning achievement?
“It’s mostly about holding kids accountable,” he said. “Teaching how to be good teammates in life and how they’re going to grow up and be husbands, fathers, employees, whatever it is. They’re going to be a part of team as they get older - lesson we provide in this generation.
“In retirement, I am looking forward to spending time and traveling with my wife, CC. Because of the demands of coaching high school baseball, we have a large bucket list of things that we want to do and places that we want to visit.”