Albany Patroons Changes Ownership and Seeks Head Coach



The Albany Patroons plan to return next season with a change of ownership, but they will play without head coach Derrick Rowland, known as “Mr. Boss.

Rowland, whose association with minor-league basketball bosses as a player and coach spanned nearly four decades, left to become the head coach of an expansion team in Oklahoma.

Rowland will be introduced on Tuesday as the head coach of the Basketball League‘s Potawatomi Fire at a press conference in Shawnee, Okla. He signed a one-year contract. The Patroons also play in the TBL, which begins its 2022 season in March.

“It’s a hard thing to do because Albany is such a big part of my life, the Patroons are such a big part of my life and my story,” Rowland said. “It’s always a tough decision, but this opportunity they gave me in Oklahoma was one I couldn’t pass up. They understand my worth. They have a great plan for me and I think it’s just time to move on to another opportunity.

Meanwhile, Patroons owner Dr Tim Maggs has said he has handed over ownership of the franchise to Ben Fernandez, owner of the Washington Avenue Armory, where the Patroons play their home games.

Fernandez owned the Patroons when they played in the now defunct Continental Basketball Association in the 1980s.

“Ben is probably going to have a different management style than I’m used to, and in an effort to keep the organization running smoothly, I would prefer not to be involved at the decision-making level,” said Maggs . “I’m sure Ben is more capable of doing this, so for the sake of the program, that’s the reason.”

Maggs, a Schenectady chiropractor, will always be involved in the team’s medical care.

The Patroons will operate under Albany Patroons, Inc. with Fernandez as president and Michael Corts as vice president.
Corts, previously general manager, said the franchise will soon announce a new general manager and start a nationwide search for a new head coach to replace Rowland.

Corts assured the Patroons, who were inactive last season due to the pandemic, will play next season.

“For us here at the Armory, we wouldn’t have let the Patroons go again,” Corts said. “They are too beneficial for the building.

Rowland said he would win more with the Fire than with the Patroons. It was not certain until recently that the bosses would continue.

“Honestly, when I signed my contract with Shawnee, the Patroons weren’t even sure we were going to play,” Rowland said. “If the Patroons had agreed to play a month ago, I would probably still be the head coach here. But the commitment was made at the 11th hour. I could not take this risk, I am a coach. I want to play. I want to win. The way this team (Potawatomi) approached me, made me feel like they really wanted me in so many ways.

Rowland played for the original Patroons in their inaugural 1982-83 season. He’s still the franchise’s career leader in goals and rebounds. He won two ABC titles playing for Phil Jackson, Bill Musselman and George Karl with the franchise.

Rowland, 62, was the head coach of the CBA Patroons, North American Premier League basketball and TBL. He also won a title with the Albany Legends in the International Basketball League in 2010.

Rowland has five children, the youngest, Derrick Jr., in his senior year at New Haven University. Derrick said his son would play for him in Oklahoma.

Rowland, who thanked local businessman Herb Ellis and longtime fan Brendan Casey for their support, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of coaching the Patroons again one day.

“I gave him everything I had,” he says. “I have dedicated my life to the Patroons, so my biggest wish is for the fans to come and support him. If there is a chance that I can come back, I will never rule that out.

The Potawatomi Fire, owned by a Native American tribe, will play in the FireLake Arena, which seats 3,000 people for basketball. Rowland’s introductory press conference will be broadcast live at noon Tuesday on the FireLake Arena Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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