it didn't take long for David Patrick to resurface upon retiring from the public school system. Patrick, a Prairie View graduate, was hired as the school's athletic director and boys basketball coach.

David Patrick is back where it all started. A Prairie View alumnus and former coach, Patrick has been hired as the school's athletic director and boys basketball coach.

Patrick, who spent the past four years at Beekman, retired from the public school system early last week. So much for retirement.

"I didn't get very far on my retirement bucket list," Patrick joked.

Upon visiting the Prairie View campus and meeting with Principal Perry Kelly, Patrick liked what he saw.

"It seems to me like Mr. Kelly and the board have a well-grounded vision for the athletic program as well as the school," Patrick said. "I was very impressed by what they are trying to accomplish."

Patrick was surprised by the school's athletic facilities. A new football dressing room was completed prior to last season and a new softball field is currently in the works.

"I went to some ballgames over the years, but I had not been through the grounds and facilities in many years," Patrick said. "I was really impressed by all the improvements they have made with their facilities — the dressing room and just the whole setup. I had no idea they had made so many improvements over the years. That's a big plus."

Patrick succeeds Reagan Morrison as AD and Herb Hollimon as the Spartans' basketball coach. Taking his administrative and coaching experience into consideration, Patrick was an ideal fit to fill both vacancies.

"We're really excited to have David," Kelly said. "I think he's going to be a great asset. He's a Prairie View graduate, so he's coming home."

Patrick's ties to Morehouse Parish aren't limited to Prairie View. It would probably be safe to say that he is the only person to have ever coached at Prairie View, Beekman, Bastrop, Delta and Morehouse Junior High.

Patrick got his start in the public system at Morehouse Junior High. Prior to landing the Beekman position, he spent six years as Bastrop's varsity basketball coach and two years as an assistant principal at Delta Junior High.

Patrick has also held head coaching positions at East Union Academy (two years), Prairie View (two years) and Epps (10 years total). During his first tenure at Epps, Patrick guided the Panthers to state runner-up finishes in 1997 and 1999. In between stints at Epps, he was an assistant for Cedar Valley (Texas) Community College's 2001 NJCAA Division 3 national championship team.

With Patrick's addition, all of Prairie View's coaches are full-time staff members.

"That's something we have been working towards," Kelly said.

Prairie View made a splash in January by hiring Bo Barton as its head football coach.

"I feel very fortunate that we have such experienced coaches," Patrick said. "Coach Barton has been very successful at a high level. Mr. Kelly was an assistant basketball coach at UAM (University of Arkansas at Monticello) before going into administration. He's been a very successful coach and worked for some very successful coaches."

Matt Middleton directed the Spartans to back-to-back district football championships for the first time in school history before accepting the head coaching job at Class 4A West Ouachita in December. Barton guided the Spartans to a 24-4 record and the MAIS District 6-2A baseball title last season.

On the hardwood, the Spartans have lost to Clinton (Miss.) Christian in the first round of the North State Tournament the past two years.

"There are some outstanding programs and coaches in this league — no doubt about it," Patrick said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Patrick, who played at Belhaven University in Jackson, has ties throughout Mississippi.

"Another thing that kind of intrigued me about this job is that several people I played against or knew in college have retired from the high school ranks, and are now coaches or administrators in the MAIS," Patrick said. "We had a close-knit basketball community in Mississippi during that time between guys from Millsaps, William Carey, Belhaven and Mississippi College. I'm looking forward to re-connecting with those guys."

As athletic director, Patrick is excited about the direction all of the school's athletic programs are headed. Although the girls programs struggled with extremely young softball and basketball teams last year, the future looks promising.

"They have recently had some success with Matt in football, and the baseball team had a great year," Patrick said. "Hopefully, we can get all of the programs up. Prairie View athletics are trending upward."