Reggie Theus is going back to college.
The former NBA player and coach is making his return to the college sidelines after he was hired to coach the men’s team at Cal State Northridge. The move comes as the Matadors seek to build a bigger national profile, and taking a coach with a NBA pedigree is sure to make a splash in basketball-rich Southern California.
Reggie Theus had two NBA coaching stints, leading the Sacramento Kings from 2007-09 and serving as an assistant at Minnesota from 2009-11. Most recently he was coach of the Los Angeles D-Fenders of NBA’s D-League.
”I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to get back into college basketball,” Theus said in a statement. ”This is what I really want to do. To have an opportunity to coach in my hometown area is really a dream for me. This is what I really wanted.”
Cal State Northridge finished at the bottom of the Big West last year, with a 5-13 conference record that included losses in six of their final seven games. They failed to make their conference tournament.
”This is a program that everybody in the near future is going to be proud of,” Theus said. ”If the team is willing to work, it’s going to happen.”
Theus has had success at the college level before. As coach of New Mexico State from 2005-07, he compiled a 41-23 record and led the team to an NCAA tournament berth. He also reached the Final Four as an assistant coach under Rick Pitino at Louisville.
Theus had reportedly been trying to get back into college coaching for the past two years, and was a finalist for the job at UNLV a year ago before the university selected Davie Rice.
Reggie Theus joins a changing groups of coaches at Los Angeles colleges. UCLA announced the hire of former New Mexico coach Steve Alford this week, and USC made a splash by hiring Florida Gulf Coast University’s Andy Enfield.