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Life is not a Sprint, It’s a Marathon – Five District Titles and State Title to Prove It

Coach of the 2009-10 State Championship Girls Team, Coach Gardner

Coach of the 2009-10 Girls State Championship Team, Coach Gardner

Pattie Gardner was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan a city right outside of Detroit.

Growing up, Gardner participated in multiple sports including swimming, and of course her power-house sport, basketball. Gardner has been coaching girls’/boys basketball for over 12 years and has had quite a bit of success. She is in her 8th season at Schilling Farms and they are 5th year district champions. Schilling Farms has won the State Championship once and has had other accomplishments in MAM and MLK Thanksgiving Tournaments. A couple of her most successful players are Marisa Knox, Jaida Roper, Jayla Hemingway and her daughter Shaela Gardner.

Coach Gardner does not just mentor athletes on the court, she is also the proud parent of three athletic children. She has two boys, one is attending Arkansas State where the other attends Southwest Community College. She still coaches her daughter in the summer for Memphis Elite and she attends Houston High school.

When asked about the methods and strategies behind her success as a coach, Gardner starts off by saying ” Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”  This is something she tells her girls often, and it seems to resonate well with them. She is always concerned with her girls being “Game Ready.” She explains that she isn’t talking about the girls being dressed in uniform but rather being mentally ready. This quote is also meant to be applied to events outside a basketball game, including school presentations and job interviews.


Coach Patti Gardner and daughter Shaela Gardner

She mentions that getting the girls to strip of most of their feminine accessories, such as earrings and makeup, is one of the hardest things for the girls to leave behind before stepping on the court.

Gardner coaches part time at Schilling Farm, maintains an additional job, and she also coaches in the summer. Her team has just been named “Team Penny,” personally chosen by Penny Hardaway, so it would be an understatement to say that she is busy. However, she loves coaching and feels blessed to be a part of Schilling for so long. One of the best things she enjoys about coaching is watching the kids who are able to take things that she has taught and use them to take them to the next level. Gardner says she is grateful to Schilling Farms and the support the team has received, from providing carpool arrangements to making sure the students are succeeding off the court in their studies. She touts the assistant coaches as well, stating that if it were not for them, she would not have been so successful.

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