Title: Head Coach
Experience: Fifth Season
Alma Mater: Sacramento State, '80
Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
The 2012-13 season will mark the fifth 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 36-year career as a basketball coach at the NCAA Div. I, junior college and high school levels.
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.
Katz immediately hit the recruiting trail hard, and with a full year under his belt, began the process of firmly putting his thumbprint on the program in 2009-10. The fruits of that hard work began to show that season when the team secured nine victories, more wins than the previous two years combined. Included in the team’s 9-21 record were seven losses that came by six points or less.
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.
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. True sophomore John Dickson was named honorable mention all-Big Sky, becoming the fourth Sacramento State underclassman to receive all-conference accolades since the program joined the league in 1996-97.
In 2011-12, Sacramento State increased its conference win total for the third straight year while posting 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, won their most road games (4) since the 2005-06 season, set the Div. I-era record for highest field goal percentage (.451), swept a Big Sky road trip for the first time since 2006, and yielded a Div. I-era low 69.1 points per game. In addition, freshman point guard Dylan 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.
Sacramento State will return each of its top five scorers in 2012-13, comprised of Dickson (12.4 ppg), Joe Eberhard (11.1 ppg), Jackson Carbajal (11.1 ppg), Konner Veteto (9.0 ppg) and Garrity (8.1 ppg).
Academically, of the 14 Hornets that have expired their eligibility under Katz, 11 have graduated, and the remaining three are on pace to graduate in the fall of 2012. One of those graduated players, Justin Eller, completed a transformation in which he was a little-used post player before Katz’s tenure into an honorable mention all-conference selection during a senior season in which he averaged 11.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Eller went on to average 17.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while playing professionally in Germany in 2010-11.
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.
He began his head coaching career at the age of 23 as the varsity coach at Orangevale’s Casa Roble High School in 1982-83.
The 54-year old Katz also spent time at Sylvan Middle School (Citrus Heights, Calif.), and as an assistant at Mesa Verde High School, Casa Roble High School and Grant High School prior to getting his first head coaching stint at Casa Roble.
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 (23), Vinny (22), Megan (21), Steven (20) and Jimmy (15).
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