Brandon Laird, who has 13 years of coaching experience under his
belt, begins his third season as Sacramento State’s associate
head coach in 2013-14, and fourth as a member of the coaching staff
(assistant coach in 2011-12).
Laird is the program’s recruiting coordinator while also assisting with on-floor coaching, day-to-day player administration, scouting, academics, player development, compliance and offseason workouts.
The Hornets have gotten better every year since Laird came aboard as evidence by the team improving its conference win total each season during his tenure. In fact, the 2013-14 squad went 10-10 in league play, the most Big Sky wins for the program since joining the conference in 1996-97.
Also during the 2013-14 season, the Hornets clinched a Big Sky Tournament berth for the first time since 2006, won their most home games (11-3 record) since 1989, set the Div. I era record (1991-pres.) with a .460 field goal percentage and won seven consecutive home games which matched a Div. I-era record.
The season came to a close in heartbreaking fashion as the Hornets fell in the first round of the conference tournament to North Dakota, 79-76, in Ogden, Utah. However, Sacramento State will return all five starters in 2014-15, including arguably the best back court in the conference in guards Mikh McKinney and Garrity. McKinney was a unanimous first team all-Big Sky selection and became the first Hornet during the Div. I era to garner all-region accolades.
Off the court, the Hornets have excelled in the classroom during Laird’s tenure. In fact, the men’s basketball team posted a 3.092 grade point average during the 2014 spring semester, believed to be the best semester mark in school history. In addition, the team finished the 2013-14 academic year with a 3.043 gpa, also the best mark in program history.
During his second season with the program in 2012-13, the squad posted 14 overall victories, the most for the program in seven years. The team’s eight conference wins tied for the most since the program joined the Big Sky before that mark was broken last season. In addition, Sacramento State went 10-4 at home and allowed opponents just 65.7 points per game, the best mark in over 40 years. The Hornets, who never lost more than two games in a row at any point during the season, turned the ball over just 11.2 times per game, the 28th best mark in the nation and best mark in school history.
In 2011-12, Laird helped guide the program to a 5-3 record during the second half of Big Sky play. That team set the Div. I-era record, at the time, 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.
Prior to Sacramento State, Laird spent two years (2009-11) as an assistant at UC Davis where he worked with the guards and assisted in recruiting, scouting and on-floor coaching. In 2009-10, he helped coach the Aggies to 14 overall wins and eight Big West Conference victories, both high water marks for UC Davis since the program joined the Div. I ranks.
Before arriving at UC Davis, Laird spent three years as head coach at Menlo College (2006-09). He led the Oaks to 18 victories in 2007-08, which were the most for the program since 1990. That team also won a school-record tying nine games in a row, won the Cal-Pac Conference Tournament and advanced to the NAIA national tournament for the third time in school history. Menlo also finished that season with a school-record 13 conference wins and a No. 29 national ranking.
Prior to becoming head coach, the Sacramento native spent three years as an assistant with Menlo (2003-06) where he helped rebuild a program that went 4-22 his first season to 17-11 in his third year. Also during his tenure as assistant, the Oaks defeated a pair of Div. II programs, and his recruiting efforts landed six high school players and four junior college players prior to the 2004-05 season.
His first collegiate coaching experience took place at UC Davis where Laird served on the staff during the 2002-03 season. He spent the previous year (2001-02) as an assistant at his high school alma mater (El Camino).
A graduate of UC Davis, Laird played four seasons with the Aggies (1997-01). During his four-year tenure, he appeared in 85 games and helped the Aggies to a combined record of 93-24, including a 31-2 mark in 1997-98 when they captured the Division II national title. He was the recipient of the Captain’s Award (voted on by teammates) following the 2000-01 season.
Laird graduated from UC Davis in 2001 with a degree in managerial economics and then added a master’s degree in 2005 from the United States Sports Academy.