ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany Patroons announce Derrick Rowland will return as Head Coach for the 2023 season. Rowland most recently coached this past season in The Basketball League (TBL) for the Potawatomi Fire in Oklahoma, leading the first-year franchise to the TBL western division playoffs.

Derrick Rowland’s long history with the team began 40 years ago, dating back to the 1982 inception of the franchise as a rookie practice player. He quickly became a key contributor on the court, helping guide the Patroons to their first two championship titles in 1984 and 1988 under famed head coaches Phil Jackson and Bill Musselman. Rowland’s commitment to the club continued with the team as assistant coach during the 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 seasons, as well as head coach during the 2008/2009 season.

He was once again instrumental in 2017 by leading negotiations that resulted in professional basketball returning to the Armory – the second revival of Albany’s hometown team that continues to play today. That first season Rowland, as head coach led the new Patroons to the 2018 championship series, falling short to the rival Yakima Sunkings. Rowland and the Patroons returned in 2019, bringing the team again to the TBL championship finals. The Patroons forced a deciding game 3 at the Armory against Yakima; winning the game and receiving their 3rd championship title, the first in 31 years.

“It feels great to be back in Albany where my professional career began, and where my heart has always been,” says Coach Rowland. “I’m proud to have been a part of the many great basketball memories here in the Armory with the Albany Patroons, and look forward to many, many more. The Patroons are undoubtedly the greatest minor sports franchise in history, and it’s where I belong.”

Rebecca Clifford, Team Market Owner agrees. “We are so happy to bring Derrick Rowland back to the Patroons, and it’s an honor to have him as our coach. His history with the team along with his deep roots within this community made our decision a no brainer. Let me be the first to say…welcome home Mr. Patroon!”

Rowland replaces the exiting Will Brown, who recently announced his departure to focus on returning to college basketball. Coach Rowland has already started signing pro players, offering them an invitation to the Patroons training camp beginning February 18th at the Armory. A tryout will also be held January 22nd at the Armory –interested players are encouraged to pre-register by emailing Coach Rowland will also attend the TBL draft in Indianapolis, IN in early February to select 2 draft pick players who will also attend training camp.

“There were over a dozen, well qualified head coach applicants from across the country that were reviewed and considered. We are confident Coach Derrick Rowland’s return helps position the Patroons for continued and long-term success,” says Michael Corts, General Manager of the Armory & President of Albany Patroons, Inc.

The Patroons have released the 2023 full season schedule beginning with back-to-back home games the first weekend in March. The season opener is Friday, March 3rd vs Lehigh Valley Legends, and Saturday, March 4th against the Syracuse Stallions, at the Armory. Both games tip off at 7pm. The following weekend the Patroons travel to Canada to play 3 games in 3 days starting with the Montreal Tundra, and then to Academie Alma.