Her favorite, Pierce's Barb-B-Cue, is no longer a plane ride away.
Welcome home, Trina Patterson.
The Newport News native is Old Dominion's newest assistant coach to Karen Barefoot. She replaces Tom McConnell, who was hired as head coach of Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
There are lots of reasons Patterson might be a familiar name. The Warwick High School graduate played her college ball at Virginia (1983-87) and was head coach at William and Mary from 1991-99. She has also been head coach at Maryland Eastern Shore and the University of Albany. For the last two years, Patterson has been an assistant to Tara VanDerveer at Stanford, working with The Cardinal front court and assisting with recruiting.
"Everything was good about Stanford -- just working with Tara VanDerveer a Hall-of-Fame coach, the excellence in every aspect of basketball; it's been an incredible experience," Patterson says. "It's a very special place. I don't take it lightly. I cherish every moment of it."
But nothing beats home. Husband Carl, a retired Marine, is also from Newport News. Patterson's father, James Thomas, lives there as well. Brother Robert and his family live in Hampton, and another brother, James, lives with his family in Williamsburg.
"I'm home yearly," she says. "I see how everything is changing. It's great to see the changes. We (Stanford) were just there two years ago (during the NCAA Tournament; Stanford beat Hampton and West Virginia at the Constant Center). I've seen the change in facilities in Old Dominion. I've always had respect for the Old Dominion women's basketball program and just to see the facilities... We were actually in their locker room when we were there."
The move will be a transition as well for her sons: C.J., 16, Matthew, 12, and Joshua, 6. C.J., 6-foot-5, is entering his senior year of high school and he is a football and basketball player.
"It's always a tough transition when you move," Patterson said. "C.J. is resilient and I'm positive that he's going to make friends easily and be able to make the adjustments in this move. He did the same thing two years ago when he came to California."
Patterson has known Barefoot since Karen played at Menchville High. Patterson advised Barefoot about her own recruiting. "Set yourself apart," she told the scrappy point guard who went on the play at Christopher Newport. "She started to put on kneepads. She was diving on the floor. She was the same person then as far as energy level."
Barefoot's passion is among the reasons Patterson is looking forward to the new opportunity.
"I think Karen has a great body of work," Patterson said. "As an assistant, my job is to be the best assistant for her. Her vision for the program is what I want. And I know she wants excellence, so I would say excellence in all capacities is what I bring. I definitely bring super, super work ethic. I believe in being very corporate about basketball. We're in the business of wins and getting it done on the court."
Patterson looks forward to ODU's move to Conference USA, and noted recruiting will evolve for the Lady Monarchs as Texas will likely become a key state. She plans to hit the ground running when she arrives, even though she'll miss the fish tacos and fresh fruit from California.
But now the barbecue......
"When we come home though we go to get some really good barbecue at Pierce's," she said. "You don't find that style here in California."