Sometimes it's about who you know, and sometimes it's about what you know.
In Patrick Klein's position, it was about both.
When The Ohio State University and long-time women's basketball coach Jim Foster parted ways following last season, Klein wasn't sure about his future. The Belpre native and 2005 OSU graduate had served on the Lady Buckeyes coaching staff for the past two seasons, primarily working with the post players and recruiting under Foster's tutelage.
Things started to become a little clearer when Ohio State named former Washington and Xavier University women's coach Kevin McGuff as its new head coach and Klein was the only staff member retained.
"I was lucky," he admitted during an event for the iBELIEVE Foundation, which he founded, in Belmont County last week. "I've known Kevin for some years just being on the recruiting trail and to have the opportunity to stay (at Ohio State) during the transition period meant a lot to me just because of the relationships you have with your players.
"You just know that the direction Kevin is going to take this program is in a positive way," Klein added. "For what he's done and the work he's put in already, it's really set us up for a great future.
"I am honored to be able to continue my coaching career at my alma mater and the greatest university in the country," Klein continued. "I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Kevin and I am excited to work under his leadership."
McGuff returned the kudos in a statement on the OSU website.
"I'm really excited to keep Patrick in our program. He's an incredibly hard worker and is very passionate about Ohio State - specifically this program. As an Ohio State graduate, his knowledge of the school and this team, along with his connections in the state of Ohio and Big Ten will allow us to move forward in a really positive way."
In his first season with the Lady Buckeyes (2011-12), the squad posted its school-record 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a 25-7 overall record. The team has won 43 games in his two seasons on the bench.
"The thing that sticks out at Ohio State is the opportunities that we are able to provide the the student-athletes," he said. "That's what makes it very special to me to be a part of that every single day."
Klein, who served as an assistant coach at Illinois from 2007-09, served as a graduate assistant on Jim Foster's Ohio State staff from 2005-07 and again in 2011 where he assisted in several areas including summer camps, community service and supervising the student managers. During his time with the Illini, Klein played a large role in the development of Illinois post players in addition to scouting, scheduling, recruiting, summer camps and academic mentoring.
At Illinois, Klein helped the Fighting Illini to 49 wins and two postseason appearances in three seasons and played a big part in Jenna Smith's development into one of the top post players in the country. Klein also helped coordinate summer camps and had a hand in landing three talented recruiting classes.
During his first season in Champaign, Klein helped the Illini to a 20-win season, a postseason appearance in 2007-08. In November of 2008, Klein helped Jolette Law and her staff sign the No. 3 recruiting class in the country - the highest-ranked class in school history.
In 2008-09, Klein helped a young Illini squad play its best basketball at the end of the season as the team finished 6-5 in the final 11 games after starting 4-16. Then in 2009-10 the Illini had a 19-win season and earned a trip to the WNIT quarterfinals.
In addition to his contributions at Ohio State, Klein also gained experience working with USA Basketball in the summer of 2006. He served on the support staff for the U18 FIBA Trials, monitoring and supervising 30 athletes during the trials week and assisting with on-court practice. Then, in August of 2006, he was on Anne Donovan's support staff for the USA Senior Women World Championship Trials, serving as a practice player and assisting the staff with on-court and post-practice workouts.
Klein's success isn't solely devoted to basketball. He founded PB& J Consultants, a leadership consulting firm in Columbus, in June of 2003 and remains the company's CEO. Klein also is the founder and director of the iBELIEVE Foundation, which provides leadership, communication and problem solving skills to Appalachian youth and raises money to help send kids to summer camp. During the inaugural year in 2010, the program sent 35 kids to summer camp. Last year the program grew by leaps and bounds, sending more than 100 students in both Ohio and West Virginia to camp. In 2013, the program raised more than $100,000 and will send more than 200 students to summer camps.
Klein earned a bachelor's degree in business management in 2005 and a master's degree from the Fisher College of Business in March 2011. While a student, he served as Director of Tournaments and Leagues for Ohio Sports Plus, Inc., managing AAU and seasonal leagues for over 500 high school athletes. He also worked one year as a student manager for the Buckeyes in 2004-05 before becoming a graduate assistant for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org