Denver Ricardo Patton is through waiting for a contract extension.
"Today I am announcing that this is my last year as head coach," the University of Colorado men's basketball coach said Wednesday at the beginning of the team's annual media day. "I will neither seek nor accept an extension of my contract."
Patton, whose deal expires on July 1, 2007, said he was doing this for his players.
"We have a large, outstanding freshman class and a talented team this year. Our players need to focus on adjusting to the rigor of academics at CU and the level of competition in the Big 12 without being distracted by speculation regarding my contract," he said.
Patton is 177-140 in 10 years at Colorado. He guided the team to two NCAA Tournament berths, in 1996-97 with Chauncey Billups and again in 2002-03.
Patton, who took over the program on Jan. 16, 1996, after several years as an assistant, said he informed his players Wednesday morning of his decision but hadn't gotten in touch with athletic director Mike Bohn before notifying the media.
Later, Bohn said Patton's announcement blind-sided him.
"This came as a big surprise to me. I'm also disappointed. We've had weekly meetings that have been constructive and positive," Bohn said. "His concern for his players was foremost on his mind, and I applaud him for that."
Bohn, who met with the team before their afternoon practice, said he had no timetable for selecting a replacement and didn't have even a list of potential candidates.
"I'm really not prepared for this because it was a complete surprise," Bohn said.
Patton said he never considered stepping down immediately.
"No. We don't teach our guys to quit. This is not quitting," Patton said. "This is just knowing when it is time to move on. We talk to our guys about life every day. I think there is certainly a life lesson in this moment."
Junior Richard Roby said the team was taken aback by Patton's announcement.
"I think we were all surprised, shocked, and confused," Roby said. "It is kind of hurtful when your coach leaves, but it is a part of life. You have a lot of relationships; sometimes they don't last, sometimes they do. But you have to move on."