San Diego State Basketball Coach Steve Fisher Announces Retirement
Steve Fisher, who is credited with breathing life into the San Diego State University men's basketball program and making the team a conference and national power, announced his retirement Tuesday.
SDSU President Elliot Hirshman — who will also be leaving the college later this year — released a statement on the coach's retirement saying Fisher's "tenure at San Diego State University has been extraordinary for his development of scholar-athletes."
"Coach Fisher’s steady leadership, tireless work ethic and commitment to winning the right way transformed our men’s basketball program into a top-tier program that is a source of pride for our campus, our alumni and all of San Diego," Hirshman said.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer took to Twitter to thank Fisher.
"Steve Fisher is a legendary coach," Faulconer wrote. "Thanks Coach Fisher for transforming SDSU basketball and leaving behind an incredible legacy."
Fisher, who has led the team for 18 years, and athletic director John David Wicker said Fisher will remain at SDSU in an unspecified capacity.
"I'm not all of a sudden going to disappear from the landscape," Fisher said at a news conference. "I'm not going to get in the way, but I'm going to be a part of San Diego State. That's important to me. I want to be here."
He said he is in good health and believes the program will flourish under new coach Brian Dutcher, Fisher's longtime assistant.
Fisher, 72, had one more year on his contract. He has been the coach since 1999.
Fisher took his teams to eight NCAA tournaments during his tenure and won the Mountain West Conference regular season championship 10 times. He took his team to the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament, losing to eventual champion Connecticut.
Before his arrival in 1999, the Aztecs had never won a Division I post- season game, hadn't reached the NCAA Tournament in 15 years and were coming off a season in which the won-loss record was 4-22.
"Steve led SDSU basketball to unprecedented heights," Wicker said.
Fisher previously coached at Michigan, guiding the Wolverines to the NCAA championship in 1989, just weeks after the firing of coach Bill Frieder, who had accepted the coaching position at Arizona State just before the NCAA Tournament began.
Two years later, Fisher was credited with assembling one of the best recruiting classes of all time — Michigan's "Fab Five" group of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King and Juwan Howard. That team went to two national championship games but lost both.
Fisher was eventually fired by Michigan amid an investigation involving a team booster. He was an assistant coach for the NBA's Sacramento Kings for a season before his hiring by SDSU.