|College:||Sacramento State, '80|
The 2013-14 season will mark the sixth year in the tenure of
Sacramento State head men’s basketball coach Brian Katz. He
became the 13th men’s basketball coach in school history when
he was named to the position by Director of Athletics Terry Wanless
on April 10, 2008.
A graduate of Sacramento State and a native of Sacramento, Katz’s extensive basketball résumé includes a 37-year career as a basketball coach at the NCAA Div. I, junior college and high school levels. He recently received a contract extension that will keep him at Sacramento State through the 2017-18 season.
Katz took over the Sacramento State program almost from scratch, beginning a major rebuilding project that saw the 2008-09 squad open the year with 12 new players and only four returners. That included just one player that had started more than 17 games from the previous season.
The Hornets have gotten better every year under Katz as evidence by the team improving its conference win total each season during his tenure. In fact, last year’s team went 14-15 overall and 8-12 in the Big Sky Conference while the 14 victories were the most in seven years, and the second most during the program’s Div. I era (1991-pres.). The team’s eight conference wins tied for the most since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97.
One of Katz’s goals when hired was to create a homecourt advantage, and Sacramento State went 10-4 inside the friendly confines last year which tied the high water mark for home victories during the program’s Div. I era. Another goal was to vastly improve on the defensive end, and the Hornets allowed opponents just 65.7 points per game last season, the best mark in over 40 years. In addition, Sacramento State, which never lost more than two games in a row at any point during the 2012-13 season, turned the ball over just 11.2 times per game, the 28th best mark in the nation and best mark in school history.
Nineteen of the team’s 29 games were decided by a single digit outcome, the most since the 1983-84 season, and the Hornets had two players receive all-league accolades for the first time in seven years (senior forward John Dickson and sophomore point guard Dylan Garrity received honorable mention honors).
In 2011-12, Sacramento State posted double figures in victories for the first time since the 2006-07 season. In addition, the Hornets went 5-3 during the second half of Big Sky play, set the Div. I-era record for highest field goal percentage (.451) and swept a Big Sky road trip for the first time since 2006. In addition, Garrity was named the Big Sky’s Freshman of the Year after finishing seventh in the nation with an average of 6.9 assists per game.
In 2010-11, the Hornets finished with seven wins, but that number could have easily been higher as the team lost eight games that were decided by six points or less, including a program-record four in overtime. Sacramento State finished the season with a positive rebounding margin for the first time in 24 years and the team yielded just 69.6 points per game, the lowest output for the program since the 1985-86 season.
The 2009-10 squad put an end to a pair of dubious streaks that began prior to Katz’s tenure. The Hornets’ win at Oregon State on Nov. 21, 2009, ended a 39-game road losing streak which dated back to the 2006-07 season. In addition, the victory over the Beavers was the first for the Hornets against a Pacific-10 Conference opponent since Dec. 17, 1953. After the Oregon State win, Sacramento State would later add road victories over UC Davis and Idaho State. The win over Idaho State snapped a 27-game Big Sky Conference road losing streak.
Academically, of the 18 Hornets that have expired their eligibility under Katz, 14 have graduated and three more are on pace to graduate during the 2013-14 academic year.
Prior to Sacramento State, Katz spent 19 years as a junior college head coach, compiling a 435-185 record (.702 winning percentage) while leading his teams to the playoffs 18 times, including three Sweet 16 appearances, three Elite 8 appearances and one trip to the Final Four. Also during that 19-year span, his teams combined for seven conference championships and he received conference coach of the year accolades seven times. For his efforts, Katz was inducted into the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 13, 2009.
He spent 15 seasons (1993-08) as head coach at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, where he posted a 348-138 record (.716 winning percentage) and led the team to 14 playoff appearances, six conference championships, two Elite Eight appearances and one Final Four.
A six-time conference coach of the year at Delta College, Katz guided the team to three league championships and a 130-32 combined record during his final five years with the program.
Katz had just one losing season during his tenure at Delta, and that came in his first season (1993-94) when the team posted a 10-19 overall record. However, the very next year (1994-95), the Mustangs more than doubled their win total and finished with a 21-11 mark. From that point on, Delta became one of the top junior college programs in the state, winning at least 22 games 11 times during Katz’s final 13 seasons at the helm. The high point came in 2004-05, when the team finished the year 30-2 overall, 14-0 in league and reached the Final Four before falling to San Bernardino Valley College, 85-84, in double overtime.
Prior to his tenure at Delta College, Katz spent four years (1989-93) at Lassen College in Susanville, Calif., where he led the team to an 87-47 record, four playoff appearances and a league championship. One of those playoff appearances came in 1992 when he guided the team to the Elite Eight despite the school having just 800 students.
In addition, during Katz’s junior college head coaching tenure, of the 115 players that finished their sophomore years under his tutelage, 109 of them advanced to four-year institutions – 66 on scholarships.
Before entering the junior college head coaching ranks, Katz was an assistant under Carroll Williams at Santa Clara where the team combined for a 40-22 overall record and reached the National Invitational Tournament both seasons during his two-year stay (1987-89).
Previous to his stint with Santa Clara, Katz was the head coach at Antelope’s Center High School (1983-87) where he led the team to a four-year combined record of 62-42, including three Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances, one league championship and a season-ending No. 1 ranking among all schools (big or small) in the Sacramento area. Katz was the first head men’s basketball coach in Center High School history, which had an enrollment of just 273 students at the time.
Katz earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Sacramento State in 1980, and his master’s degree in counseling psychology from Santa Clara in 1989.
Katz and his wife, Lori, have five children – Katie (24), Vinny (23), Megan (22), Steven (21) and Jimmy (16).