By Michael Zhang
This fall season, South’s Athletics Department welcomes two new members: Coaches Bryan Patterson and Jim Burns. They replace Ms. Danielle Dorkings and Ms. Melissa Crotty as the coaches for the varsity girls’ swimming team and the varsity boys’ volleyball team respectively. Both coaches have high hopes for the season and offer unique coaching perspectives.
A physical education teacher at Parkville, Coach Patterson has an extensive background in volleyball. He played for Farmingdale High School but fell in love with the sport while playing as middle blocker for a college club team at SUNY Cortland. His team won a National Club Championship during his senior year, with Coach Patterson himself winning the National MVP award. After graduating from college, Coach Patterson returned to Long Island and started coaching a variety of teams, ranging from middle school to elite club teams. Coach Patterson still plays competitive volleyball for Bottoms Up, a Division A team that makes the USA Volleyball Adult National Championships every year.
After several years of coaching Roslyn High School’s volleyball team, Patterson wanted a new challenge to take on. He was excited when he received the opportunity to take over a team fresh off a successful season. Currently, his focus is on improving the team’s skills and advancing further in playoffs. Some goals for the team include winning another conference championship, returning to the playoffs, and competing with the best teams in the county. In respect to his coaching style, he wants his athletes to share his passion for the sport. Pushing his athletes to their fullest potentials, Coach Patterson enjoys playing alongside his team in practice.
So far, Coach Patterson has been pleased with coaching the South team. “The kids I have this year are so invested in volleyball, and their passion for the game is incredible. They don’t want any days off and are always willing to be pushed,” Patterson observed. “That is the best thing a coach can ask for from his athletes.”
Meanwhile, down at the pool, Coach Burns is diving into a new coaching job. Coach Burns has been involved in swimming for over thirty years. He learned to swim at an early age in a recreational swim program, but never swam year round until high school. He swam at Chaminade High School as well as for various club teams as a teen before competing at the college level for Niagara University. During his freshman year, his team won the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference, Niagara University’s first conference championship. His work experience includes coaching his former college team and the summer club team in Rockville Center.
“I coach swimming because I love the sport,” Burns explained. “I love to take a group of athletes and help them achieve goals and create lifelong memories.”
Coach Burns has been hoping to get into high school coaching for a few years now. He first heard about the open position from his friends, who are also high school coaches. So far, he has been very impressed with the team and considers South an amazing place to work.
“We have amazing leadership from our seniors, very strong divers, star swimmers in all four strokes, and an enthusiastic and dedicated group of freshman,” Coach Burns noted. “My goal is to get as many girls qualified for Counties and States as I can, so that they can represent Great Neck South.”