"Shalee Lehning is a tremendous addition to our staff," said Patterson about Lehning, who is replacing Andria Jones, who left the program in October.
"She is a KSU women's basketball program alum who epitomizes the excellence of character and achievement, the passion, intensity and loyalty that the Kansas State women's basketball program is known for.
"Shalee brings a great work ethic and tremendous people and leadership skills to our staff and program," Patterson continued.
"Her passion for and thorough knowledge of our program philosophies and system, her teaching skills and her love of Kansas State University are all attributes that will make her an excellent recruiter and coach."
Lehning, a native of Sublette, Kan., led the Wildcats to 90 victories in the last four years, playing to the level to have her number retired at the end of the 2008-09 season.
A draft selection by the Atlanta Dream franchise in the WNBA, Lehning started and averaged 3.8 assists per game, which was the highest for all rookies in the league and 10th best among all players.
Calling it a "great opportunity," Lehning said of re-joining the program, "I take great pride in this university and the women's basketball program. I have the utmost respect for coach Patterson, her coaching staff and this program. I am honored to have the chance to help take our program to new heights."
Lehning said that coaching has been in her mind for a number of years, but admitted, "I never dreamed it would happen this early." Lehning completed her degree in electronic journalism in December, so has been around the team throughout the first semester.
"I miss playing here so much, so it was an opportunity to help me cope with no longer being a K-State player," Lehning said. "I've joked with coach P through the years that I was going to torment her and come back and coach on her staff, but it was always in fun. Now, I'm here."
Here, on the K-State staff where she is now coaching her best friends of a year ago, who were her teammates.
Laughing, Lehning said, "Really, nothing has changed. As a player I was one of those teammates that if things didn't go right I would get on them. Just the other day Kari (Kincaid) joked that I yell at her in practice now as a coach just like I yelled at her as a teammate last year."
Currently sidelined with a shoulder separation, Lehning says eventually getting on the floor and personally demonstrating how to play the game will work to her advantage.
"I'm quickly finding out how different things work, and don't work, in teaching and motivating different players," said Lehning. "But with most players, I think it's good to be able to get out there and show them, which helps a young coach like me."
Lehning said that her K-State coaching assignment will not alter her career in the WNBA, which will have her playing in Atlanta from mid-May through the end of August. All other time will be with the Wildcat coaching staff and focusing on recruiting.