By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletic Director (Media Relations)
Northridge, Calif. – A highly enthusiastic crowd of nearly 300 people welcomed Reggie Theus as CSUN's new men's head basketball coach at a press conference on Friday afternoon at the Matadome.
University dignitaries included Dr. Dianne Harrison, CSUN President, who officially welcomed Theus to the CSUN family.
"There has already been a great deal of excitement on the campus, in the community and there was a great buzz in Atlanta at the Final Four with the hiring of Reggie Theus," said Dr. Harrison. "The excitement about the future of Matador basketball is here. The hiring of Coach Theus is another example of how 'CSUN Shines' and how we will continue to shine even brighter into the future."
Theus has enjoyed more than eleven years of successful coaching experience including two seasons as head coach at New Mexico State (2005-06, 2006-07) and as an assistant coach under head coach Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville (2003-04, 2004-05).
"What has impressed me most about coach Theus is his interest, his notable experience, and his infectious enthusiasm for developing young men," said Dr. Harrison. "Coach Theus has displayed a commitment to the well-being of student-athletes, to mentoring his young athletes and as students who will succeed academically, graduate and be productive citizens."
As head coach at New Mexico State (2005-06, 2006-07), Theus directed the Aggies to a 41-23 record including a 25-9 record in 2006-07 and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
"Coach Theus and I share the same values," said Dr. Harrison. "Student success is Reggie's priority #1. I have been so impressed with coach Theus because he is totally committed to student success, not only on the court, but also in life and their future. I believe CSUN is most fortunate to have someone of Reggie Theus' caliber with his deeply held values and priorities, and his strong ethics to lead the basketball program. We are deeply grateful to have someone with his appreciation for CSUN and all that we have to offer."
Theus was an assistant coach at Louisville where he helped the Cardinals to the NCAA Final Four in 2004-05 with a 33-3 record. For his efforts, Theus was named one of the Top 25 recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com.
Following his success at the collegiate coaching level, Theus served as head coach of the NBA's Sacramento Kings for two seasons (2007-08, 2008-09).
CSUN returns a team in 2013-14 that is expected to be contenders in the Big West Conference.
"Reggie has already spoken enthusiastically about our players and the potential of CSUN basketball to succeed in every way," said Dr. Harrison. "He is excited about building team spirit, engaging our student body at-large, the campus community, and the San Fernando Valley. He is highly motivated and determined to advance the Matador basketball program."
Dr. Brandon E. Martin, CSUN's new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, also endorsed Theus' credentials to the large contingent of news media, CSUN faculty and staff, and members of the community who attended the event.
"This is truly a great day to be a Matador," Dr. Martin told the large crowd. "We had a very competitive pool of candidates, both as head coaches at the NCAA Division I level, and top assistants from across the nation. They all saw the value of CSUN, and who all wanted to be attached to Dr. Harrison's vision. In my conversations about Reggie, I knew he was someone special. I knew this would be a good fit for the university."
Theus signed a multi-year contract with CSUN with a starting date of April 15, 2013.
"I wanted someone with a strong work ethic, a high basketball acumen, and a motor for excellence," said Dr. Martin. "I really wanted someone who really wanted the job at CSUN. I spoke to many influential people in basketball including Rick Pitino (Louisville head coach). In that conversation, coach Pitino talked about Reggie's ability to recruit, and the connections he had with student-athletes with skill development. He talked about his (Reggie Theus) hunger to be the best coach in America. That was very compelling in my decision."
Theus enjoyed an excellent career as an All-American college player at UNLV and an outstanding 13-year NBA career with the Chicago Bulls, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets.
Theus is the fifth head coach in the 55-year history of Matador basketball. Theus joins CSUN after serving as the head coach of the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the NBA D-League since October, 2011.
"I am deeply honored and humbled that Dr. Dianne Harrison (CSUN President), the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Brandon Martin (CSUN Director of Intercollegiate Athletics) has chosen me to be the new head coach at CSUN," said Theus. "Our objective is to make a student-athlete successful not only at CSUN but also in life. This is the start of their journey. We want to make the Northridge community, the university, the student body, and the faculty and staff to be proud of the product that we put out on the basketball court. Our goal is to be the hardest playing team in the conference. Our identity is going to be paramount. We're going to get after it with a full court pressure defense, and we're going to run. We want to win, compete for the Big West championship and eventually go deep into the NCAA Tournament."
Theus admits the challenge to upgrade the basketball program won't be easy but the effort will be "full speed ahead."
"With the collective people I have met at CSUN, I really believe we can pass all these challenges and make it happen for all of us," Theus said. "CSUN basketball is going to be on the rise. It can't happen without the help of the entire community. I challenge the student body that if you support our program 1,000%, I will put the product on the floor that you will be proud of. You will be able to hold your head high when you talk about CSUN basketball. This is my goal. I am truly excited to be a part of Matador Nation."