Washington State Magazine

Fall 2007

Fall 2007

In This Issue...


It Happened at the World's Fair :: Shortly after Jay Rockey '50 arrived in Seattle to handle the public relations for the 1962 World's Fair, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an editorial claiming it could not see how the fair could possibly make it. &"Do you really know what you're doing?" Rockey's wife asked him. Turns out he did. by Tim Steury
{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Impressions - A gallery of souvenir lithographs commemorating the United States Science Exhibit at the Seattle World's Fair, 1962.}
{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Van Allen belts and other impressions - A meditation on the convergence of science and art, written in 1962 by United States Commissioner Athelstan Spilhaus, for the Seattle World's Fair. }

The Rockey Style :: In spite of nearly universal name recognition and a client list that runs through the Pacific Northwest alphabet, Rockey himself rarely shows up in the press. In this age of Google, it's unnerving to go looking for someone who you know permeates a civic and business culture, and he just isn't there. by Tim Steury

Contagion! Emerging diseases: Unraveling the mystery :: What makes some strains of pathogenic microbes nastier than others? Why do they emerge when and where they do? Are we more susceptible now than in the past, and if so, why? At least partial answers to these troubling questions may lie with snails and salamanders. by Cherie Winner

Food fights :: Four children died in the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. Attorney Bill Marler's client survived, but only after spending six months in the hospital. Marler sued and won a $15.6 million settlement for Brianne Kiner. Even more significant, the work he produced for the case made him an expert not only on E. coli, but on the whole food production system. by Hannelore Sudermann. Photography by Bruce Andre and Robert Hubner


{ WEB EXCLUSIVEVideo: A buzz about bees - In a set of video clips produced exclusively for Washington State Magazine Online, WSU's Steve Sheppard talks about the breeding of honey bees and his work on finding out why honey bee colonies across the country have been disappearing. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Frontline: Pullman - For senior communication major Kate Yeager, playing host to Frontline executive producer David Fanning was the high point of her student career. by Annette Ticknor '07 }

Tracking the Cougars

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Washington State Magazine wins top honors: Five stories, four issues, and a gold medal from CASE. }

COVER: Jay Rockey '50 poses in front of his Seattle World's Fair press book. Photoillustration by Bruce Andre and John Paxson.

Shelley Patterson.


Shelley Patterson. Matt Hagen

Home-court advantage: Shelley Patterson

© Washington State University

When Shelley Patterson graduated from Washington State University in 1984, she thought her basketball career was over. A guard for the Cougar women's basketball team, she was among the state's all-time leaders in assists and steals. But in 1984 there wasn't much work for a woman in basketball. So she started a career in computers. That didn't last long. In her free time she volunteered with a team at a local community college. That, and her persistence in applying for open positions with college teams, led to her first professional job in NCAA basketball in the mid-1980s. Since then, her coaching career has taken her into the American Basketball League and Women's National Basketball Association, where she was head coach of the Chicago Blaze. Last spring, she returned to Washington as the new assistant coach of the Seattle Storm. One morning after practice at the Key Arena, she sat down with Hannelore Sudermann and shared some insights.

Follow your interests.

After college, I was working at Arizona State on computer operations. I ended up working the night shift. Computers back then weren't anything like computers now. You had to put the tapes in, you had the wheels and the cards.

I was doing OK, but I missed basketball. I met this guy named Bike Medder, and he was the coach of the Scottsdale Community College team. I would go down there a lot and just kind of help out. He helped me find the NCAA newsletter and encouraged me to start looking up coaching positions. I applied to a lot of different places. I have lots of rejection letters-Auburn, Georgia.

It's OK to start small. Just keep moving.

I ended up landing on a little school called Eastern Michigan University. This lady calls me, Cheryl Getts, the coach there. She was what I needed at that time. She brought me out to Ypsilanti, Michigan, sight unseen. That's how I got started. I was there for two years. After that I ended up landing a recruiting coordinating job at Indiana University. Then I went to Ohio University, same position. I finally landed in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Wake Forest for about five years.

Don't quit, change gears.

After one too many recruiting trips, I was ready to quit college basketball. I was at the University of Dayton at the time, and trying to keep Tamika Williams in Dayton. She went to the University of Connecticut instead. After all that work and after that failed, I just decided I'm tired of college coaching. But then I got a call from Anne Donovan [now head coach for the Seattle Storm]. She was in Philadelphia at that time [coaching the ABL's Philadelphia Rage]. That's when I started working with professional teams.

Seek friendship over rivalry.

I have worked with former NBA guys. They're always skeptical about all this player interaction. But we always wait for the other team to come on the court to practice. And we always make sure we're going to go out to eat together after the game.

Most of these women have played with each other either here or overseas. And I've coached probably half of them.  If I don't know who you are, I'll try to find you and at least introduce myself to you.

Competing is cathartic.

I think sometimes sports helps you. It gives you a moment to take your mind off of whatever's bothering you. For example, 1999 was a hard year. Kim Perrot [a player Patterson knew from the Houston Comets] died, and our team lost a player because of an eye injury. But having basketball helped. And at the end of the day, you go back and reflect in your room. You have your teammates to comfort you. It's like a family.

Find a way.

I almost wish the league had been around when I played. I think I could have made it. I'm glad that right now there's an opportunity for these players to stay here. I thought about going overseas, but for me at 5-foot-4 and a point guard, overseas we're like a dime a dozen. Being able to stay at home and play basketball would have been great. My love for basketball is the same, but I would have been able to play a bit more and make money from something I really love. Instead of being a player, I ended up coaching and being involved that way.

Get motivated.

As a coach, you try to be involved as much as possible. If we have to sit down and have a conversation, talk about somebody struggling with their shot, I try to, in a fun way, encourage them. I think the hardest part at this level is really motivating the players. They've been through this. It's old to them. You have to figure out what's going to motivate them. I'm so new to this team, I'm just figuring that out.

Moving is easy. Packing is hard.

I've moved around a lot. Now, though, I know how to pack. In Charlotte, two months before I was going to leave, I started packing. It's always in the back of my mind: Someday, I'm going to have to move out of here.

Make the most of your time.

Something that's appealing to me about the WNBA is that there are two seasons. I know that from approximately March through September I'm going to do this job. Then in the down time I go to a place called Harbour Island in the Bahamas. A friend of mine owns a hotel and restaurant and a beach house there. I've helped my friend build her house. The thing I like most is the bartending. I have a chance to meet some very interesting people...and I've created some more WNBA fans.

Categories: Athletics, Alumni | Tags: Basketball, Women athletes

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