Men’s Basketball: Former NBA player and coach Reggie Theus officially hired as CSUN head coach

Casey Delich

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Ending a weeklong search filled with speculation of who the new CSUN men’s basketball coach would be, former NBA player and coach Reggie Theus was named the fifth head coach in school history Wednesday morning.

“Obviously I wanted to get back into college basketball, (that) was the number one reason to be interested,” Theus said. “The actual saying yes to the job had a lot to do with Dr. Martin and Dr. Harrison. Their vision of this program and what they want to do with this program is exciting, and that’s why I said yes.”

Most recently the head coach of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, an NBA developmental league team, Theus has a strong background in college and NBA coaching.

“It was a no-brainer for me that this was a coach that could take us to the next level with regards to recruiting, visibility, to connecting to the community and (I) thought he was the best fit for the Matador family,” said Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin.

A three year starter at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Theus is considered one of the greatest Runnin’ Rebels’ in school history. Picked ninth in the 1978 draft by the Chicago Bulls, Theus played in the NBA for 13 years before beginning his coaching career at Louisville as an assistant under Rick Pitino.

“My mentor being the University of Louisville and their program, and that’s the way we will play in terms of our style,” Theus said.

One of Martin’s stressors in his hiring of a new basketball coach was to find someone who has won before in the postseason and will focus on student welfare.

“Ultimately, this is what our job is, to really concentrate on making our guys successful people,” Theus said. “The very first thing (Martin) talked to me about was what he was looking for. It’s right in my wheelhouse because that’s the way I’ve always been, even as a player.”

“My entire coaching career, and even the later years of my basketball career, has been about developing,” Theus said. “It’s not hard to build basketball players. It’s tough to build men and that’s our main goal here; (it) is academically and socially to help build people that are going to be successful outside of Northridge.”

Instilling an up-tempo style that will stress defense and running all 94 feet of the floor throughout the game, Martin said it will be something that excites the fans and garners more attention from recruits.

The team’s players are already looking forward to what Theus brings to Northridge and his background.

“I’m happy with the decision. I like his background and he knows what it takes to be successful,” said redshirt freshman forward Trevone Williams. “A lot of our goals here are to reach that next level and he knows what it’s going to take and be able to help us.”