The excitement of a new era in Matadors hoops is spreading fast around the California State University, Northridge campus. The recent hiring of men’s basketball head coach Reggie Theus is a part of that. The former NBA star and coach has the pedigree that gives hope to a program that went 21-38 over the past two seasons. Not only has he coached in the pros, but he also has the backing of Rick Pitino, coach of the 2013 NCAA Tournament champion Louisville Cardinals and one of the first people to give Theus a chance at working in the college ranks.
“He was everything I hoped,” Pitino told the Los Angeles Times. “A great teacher, a tireless recruiter.”
As Coach Theus starts his CSUN career, he is showing that the endless motor that served him well on the court is also what drives him as a leader and recruiter. Only three weeks into the job and he has already started hitting the road to rebuild a team that has failed to meet expectations in recent years. He is showing the tenacity that made Pitino immediately happy that he took a chance on the former star. That is what new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brandon E. Martin and CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison were looking for in a new men’s basketball coach.
“Improvement is my expectation,” Martin said. “A new energy, a new excitement, a new elevation of players.” No one is expecting more from Theus than himself. That means at least equaling the early trajectory at his previous NCAA coaching job at New Mexico State, where he quickly turned a lackluster team into March Madness participants.
No one would be surprised if that came to be, not even the man who just won the entire thing. “In a couple years,” Pitino said, “he’ll have [the Matadors] in the hunt for an NCAA bid.”
For more: Reggie Theus brings star power to Cal State Northridge [Los Angeles Times]