Josh Pastner will attempt to join three other former Arizona Wildcats as head coaches who won a national or world championship when his Georgia Tech team faces TCU tonight in the NIT title game.
Those Wildcats who have captured a title of that magnitude include Brenda Frese as the head coach of Maryland’s women’s basketball team in 2006, Terry Francona as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007 and Steve Kerr as head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2015.
Craig McMillan coached the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College team to a state title in 2014, and Mike Bibby guided Phoenix Shadow Mountain to the Class 4A state championship this season.
Reggie Geary has also coached a champion team, when the Yokohoma B-Corsairs won a Japanese professional league title in 2013.
Pastner, in his first season with Georgia Tech after seven seasons with Memphis, calls what his Yellow Jackets (21-15) have achieved this season a “modern miracle.”
Georgia Teach was picked to finish 14th in the ACC because of the coaching transition and lack of depth, but he managed to coach his team to upsets over Duke and North Carolina this season.
“I can remember like yesterday watching our first work outs,” Pastner said in a press conference after his team beat Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday night in an NIT semifinal game. “If you told me we’re playing (in) the NIT Championship, I would say you’re crazy.
“I remember at spring meetings and I had multiple coaches from the league just said … ‘It’s going to be a hard year for you. You’re never going to experience the amount of losing that you’re going to go through this year.'”
The following is a list of 32 former Arizona Wildcats who are head coaches in high school, college of the pros:
FORMER ARIZONA ATHLETES AS CURRENT HEAD COACHES
High school boy’s basketball (3)
|Mike Bibby||1996-98||Phoenix Shadow Mountain||2014|
|Jason Stewart||1997-99||Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito||2014|
Men’s college basketball (4)
|Craig McMillan||1984-88||Santa Rosa (CA) JC||2000|
|Josh Pastner||1996-00||Georgia Tech||2016|
Men’s professional basketball (4)
|Matt Brase||2003-05||Rio Grande (D-League)||2015|
|Reggie Geary||1992-96||Nagoya (Japan)||2015|
|Steve Kerr||1983-88||Golden State (NBA)||2014|
|Luke Walton||1999-03||L.A. Lakers (NBA)||2016|
College baseball (2)
|Tod Brown||1990-94||North Dakota State||2007|
Professional baseball (2)
|Shelley Duncan||1999-01||Class A Hillsboro (OR)||2015|
|Terry Francona||1977-80||Cleveland (MLB)||2013|
Women’s college basketball (2)
High school football (8)
|Marcus Bell||1996-99||Eager Round Valley||2011|
|Robert Bonillas||1995-98||Desert View||2012|
|Mark Keel||1979-82||Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap||2000|
|Clarence McRae||2003-04||Mountain View||2012|
|Antonio Pierce||1999-00||Long Beach Poly||2014|
College softball (3)
|Leticia Pineda-Boutté||1995-98||Washington-St. Louis||2006|
High school softball (4)
|Jackie Coburn||2002-05||Scottsdale Horizon||2013|
|Jody Pruitt||1990-93||Peoria Sunrise Mountain||2011|
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.