Longtime mentor was among winningest softball coaches in Michigan history
Not only was Barry Patterson a great coaching strategist, expert communicator and one of the most victorious coaches in Michigan high school softball history, he was — above all — a champion human being.
Patterson, 62, passed away Monday following a long battle with prostate cancer, which he was initially diagnosed with in 2008. The cancer metastasized in recent months.
Patterson coached the 2022 Cougars before retiring after the season. He finished with 846 wins over a 35-year career — all with Garden City.
Patterson’s impact on people he developed friendships with was reflected on a number of social-media posts since his death.
“Your legend will never die,” wrote Yvonne Jenks Foreman. “The fundamentals and work ethic that were instilled in my life from you have gotten me to where I am today. You were with me as we won the 40 and over Major plus this weekend and I will make sure to do you proud as I continue to be an athlete, mother and wife.”
During a June interview with SocialHouseNews.com, Patterson talked about his final season of coaching.
“I feel good,” said Patterson. “I still set up practices and call players aside when I see something they need to work on. I don’t have the energy to hit balls during drills anymore, but I can still teach and share my knowledge. I usually have two good hours a day and I try to save them for practices and games.”
Patterson said his wife Diana was his biggest source of support during his final months.
The Cougars won at an amazing clip during Patterson’s tenure — even though they often faced teams from communities with much-larger populations than Garden City — including the 2008 Class A state championship.
“Garden City is not an affluent community, but really good people live here,” he said. “It’s like a downriver-type city: blue collar, the parents support their kids 100%. If you can provide something stable, something they can buy into like we’ve tried to do, it’s a place where a program like ours can still be successful.”
A visitation for Patterson will be held Friday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Uht Funeral Home, 35400 Glenwood Road in Westland. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, people are asked to donate to the Barry Patterson Memorial Scholarship fund that will support female athletes at Garden City High School. Checks can be sent to: Garden City High School, 6500 Middlebelt Road, Garden City, MI 48135. (Please indicate Barry Patterson Memorial Scholarship in the memo line.)