Jim Saia Named CSUSM Men's Head Basketball Coach
California State University San Marcos Athletic Director Tom Seitz announced today that Jim Saia has been named the first men's head basketball coach at CSUSM.
Saia spent the last three seasons as head coach at Fresno Pacific University. Prior to that, he was the interim head coach at USC in 2004-2005, and an assistant coach at UCLA from 1996-2003. Saia was selected from a pool of over 250 applicants to be the first head men's basketball coach at Cal State San Marcos.
"We are thrilled to have someone with Jim's background and successful coaching experience to start the men's basketball program at Cal State San Marcos", said CSUSM Athletic Director Tom Seitz. "His record speaks for itself. He is a proven winner who graduates his players. Just as importantly, he is a person of character, and we want to build our athletic program in this mold."
In his three years at Fresno Pacific University, Saia led FPU to an overall record of 70-29, taking the Sunbirds to the NAIA National Tournament the past two seasons. He set FPU records with 26 wins in 2008-2009 as well as a No.3 national ranking in 2009-2010.
As interim head coach at USC in 2004-2005, Saia helped the Trojans sweep Pac-10 rivals California and Arizona State. That year, USC led the Pac-10 in three-point field goals and was fourth in offensive field goal percentage. He notably coached guard Gabriel Pruitt, who was named to the All-Pac-10 freshman team on his way to the NBA.
As an assistant coach at UCLA, Saia helped the Bruins to a Pac-10 title and an Elite 8 appearance in 1997. During his seven year tenure there, the Bruins reached the Sweet 16 five times. As the recruiting coordinator, he brought in the top rated recruiting class twice (1998/2001) as well as the No.2 class once (1997).
Saia began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Cal in 1988. He then served as an assistant coach at Indiana State in 1989-1990 and at Fresno State from 1990-1994. Saia landed his first head coaching job at Columbia College in 1994, where he compiled a 61-10 record over two seasons before moving on to UCLA.
"It's extremely exciting to be the first head coach of men's basketball at Cal State San Marcos," commented Saia. "With the location, the possibility of building an arena, and the resources the University has committed to the program, I truly believe that within the next four to five years this will be the best NCAA Division II job in the country."
As a player, Saia was an All-Conference selection at College of Marin in Kentfield, California. He finished his career at Chapman University, where he earned his B.A. in business. He would go on to receive his M.A. in physical education from Fresno State in 1993.
Jim was born June 15, 1964 in San Francisco. He and his wife, Stacey, have two daughters and one son: Jillian, Tatym, and Dominic.
The CSUSM men's basketball team will begin play in the 2011-2012 season. The program will also be adding women's basketball and women's volleyball, and is in the process of interviewing applicants for those jobs. CSUSM Athletics currently competes in the NAIA, but has applied for membership in NCAA Division II.
"It's extremely exciting to be the first head coach of men's basketball at Cal State San Marcos," commented Saia.