John Patton never aspired to be a head boys basketball coach.

But he always knew if he ever got the chance, it would only be at one place.

On Friday, that one place officially named him its new mentor.

"My initial thought was it was certainly not something I expected, but it's something I look forward to doing," said Patton. "I never envisioned being an assistant coach let alone a head coach, but I would never coach anywhere but Marian," said Patton. "I'm happy to be part of this program."

Patton, who is a Marian graduate and has been an assistant coach for the Colts the past 12 seasons, replaces Mick Stefanek. Stefanek recently stepped down after 11 years in charge, compiling a career record of 165-124.

"John has been a loyal assistant and has played a major role in the success of our basketball program", said Marian Athletic Director Stan Dakosty through a press release. "We are confident that he will build on the foundation which has been laid before him."

With his many years as an assistant, the transition should be smooth for everybody involved.

"Certainly it's easier that I've been in the program for 12 years," said Patton. "It'll be easier on the program and for the kids as well. They know what I bring and they're familiar with me.

"This will be settling for the kids, knowing who their coach will be. I'm sure having to go through the process of a coach stepping down was a little unsettling for them."

The school's principal also recognized the familiarity as a major benefit for the new hire.

"John is a Marian graduate ... His leadership will help make this a smooth transition," said Sister Bernard Agnes in the school's release.

Patton not only is an alumnus of the school, but he is also a former Colt player. The new head coach was a member of the 1980-81 Anthracite League and District 11 championship team.

While he doesn't plan to imitate anyone in his new role, he will rely on the information he's learned throughout the years to create his own style.

"There's been a wide variety of coaches I've been around," said Patton. "I played under Coach (Bob) Schlosser and he definitely went on to great things. I was an assistant under (Dave) McAndrew and Stefanek.

"You pick up a little bit from everyone. You play for someone and you learn something, you coach under someone and learn something else. You see things on TV. If something works you use it. Throughout the years, though, teams are different. You have to adjust to the players you have."

Marian lost quite a few quality players from last season's District 11 championship team, but Patton has been working with the upcoming squad and likes what he sees.

"I've actually coached them at Hoops on the Hill and also been at other tournaments," he said. "We'll hope to be competitive and we'll be a fun team to watch. We have people that can play."