Patrick Klein didn’t quite get the introduction to basketball that he expected. He wished to become a walk-on player as an Ohio State student, but things changed quickly.
“I left my dorm and my friends were wishing me luck,” Klein said. “I came back and said ‘Hey, I made it, but the women’s practice team.’”
Even though the position was not what he had originally envisioned, Klein rolled with the punches and quickly began working his way up the ranks of women’s college basketball, recently leading to a promotion to associate head coach of the OSU women’s basketball team.
By the time he graduated from OSU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Klein — a native of Belpre, Ohio — served as a student manager for the women’s basketball team from 2004-2005.
Upon earning his undergraduate degree, Klein stayed at OSU as a graduate assistant under former head coach Jim Foster from 2005-2007.
Klein then moved on to the University of Illinois, where he was an assistant coach from 2008 to 2010. For the 2011-2012 season, he returned to OSU, where he spent the next five seasons as an assistant coach.
“For them to make that job title for me, it was an honor,” Klein said.
Although he is appreciative of the promotion, Klein has never been caught up with labels.
“When you work with great people, it’s not about the titles,” Klein said. “It’s just about every day working together for that common goal.”
Despite the new title, Klein’s duties for the team remain the same. He will continue to be a key contributor in the recruiting process, provide detailed analysis on OSU and its opponents and will continue to push his agenda of proving OSU has a top women’s college basketball program
“One of the big things for us here is being the best, the absolute best at developing young people,” Klein said. “In order to be the best, you have to really have the opportunity to focus on the details every single day.”
Coach Kevin McGuff has had Klein as an assistant coach in his first three years at OSU.
“He’s done a great job since he’s been here,” McGuff said. “He’s really helped us develop the program.”
Off the court, Klein has helped bring in several highly rated recruiting classes for the Buckeyes.
“Really, he’s been impactful on all of the recruits that we have gotten here,” McGuff said. “He’s very much a people person and he’s got great organization skills.”
Klein also helped aid the club’s scoring spike in the 2015-2016 season, when OSU scored 86 points per game to set a new school record.
“I think it’s just trying to execute coach McGuff’s vision, it’s trying to play really fast and aggressive,” Klein said. “We have great players out there that play hard and create an environment where both defense and offense creates points.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming campaign, Klein said he is excited to see this year’s group take the floor.
“Not only from a talent standpoint, but just the chemistry and how our team has grown together. I think that makes us really special,” Klein said. “When we’re playing the schedule that we’re playing — South Carolina, Miami, UConn — these are teams that you have to be totally focused and you have to continue to be prepared. Everybody’s role is going to be important this year.”
As for his coaching future, Klein isn’t in any rush to move on from his current role with the Buckeyes.
“Any time that you can coach at your alma mater, it’s a really special thing.” Klein said. “I have one of the best jobs in women’s college basketball.”