The John Marshall boys basketball team accumulated a robust 23-5 record this season making it to the state semifinals. Along with the hard work of the Bears, the hoopsters were led by veteran head coach, Patrick Cudjoe.
Cudjoe, who has been a head coach for 27 years, hit a milestone at the end of the 2017-18 season by achieving his 400th victory.
He is 430-303 in his career with a 2009 Class 4A state title under is belt while at Star Spencer. That state championship came over a loaded McGuinness squad that possessed eventual University of Kentucky standout and NBA player, Daniel Orton.
With 430 victories, is triumph No. 500 the ensuing step? “Ahhhh, it’s going to take awhile,” Cudjoe said laughingly. “That’s not a goal and definitely not my focus. My focus right now is working with players to improve next year’s team. We have the task of combining Centennial High School players with ours. We have the most extensive summer league and my focus is on player development.”
The success Patrick had surmounting 430 wins was not a smooth road. Though it takes numerous 20-plus victory seasons in 27 years to reach 430, Cudjoe once reflected on being a coach altogether. “There were some lean years in there too,” he said. “One year I was 3-20 and I was questioning myself on if I was in the right profession. I had to keep grinding and had to build endurance. I had to continue to learn the game from the ground up. I had some really good mentors in Dan Hays (longtime Oklahoma Christian University coach) and Lance Cudjoe, my brother at Star Spencer. We talk a lot of basketball. Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you an easy life and being a coach doesn’t guarantee you will win too. I’m glad I had those down times. It is a blessing to have those lean years to appreciate the good years. You try to learn all the aspects of the coaching profession and extract all the positives from it.”
Cudjoe passes on these same life principles as an English teacher. “I love teaching English as much as I teach basketball and work just as hard at it,” Cudjoe said. “Kids have to understand you have to work hard in every aspect of your life. There is a direct correlation of work in the classroom and on the court. You have to try to achieve excellence in every area.”
Patrick has come full circle, beginning his coaching career as an assistant to Charles Davis in 1987-88 at John Marshall, to taking the head coaching job at Carl Albert (1991-2001), Star Spencer (’01-2015) and the head skipper at John Marshall (’15-present).
He is a Northeast High School and Langston University graduate. “I desire to continue to learn,” he stated. “I adore teaching English; I want the kids that don’t play basketball to know that I’m their English teacher just as much as I am their basketball coach.”
Cudjoe was named Little All-City Coach of the Year and Region 8 Coach of the Year in ’09. This year, Cudjoe was recognized as 2019 OKCPS Coach of the Year during OKCPS Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“At the end of the day, I feel I am lucky because I get the opportunity to teach English and basketball every day and I get to do it at a great school with some great people,” he concluded.