|Team||San Diego State|
March 24, 1945 |
Herrin, Illinois, USA
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Rich East HS
Western Michigan (asst.)
Sacramento Kings (asst.)
San Diego State
|Accomplishments and honors|
NCAA Division I Tournament Championship (1989)
NIT Tournament Championship (1997)
MWC Tournament Championship (2002, 2006, 2010, 2011)
MWC Regular Season Championship (2006, 2011)
Naismith College Coach of the Year (2011)
NABC Coach of the Year (2011)
Fisher attended Illinois State University, where he helped lead the Redbirds to the 1967 Division II Final Four. After college, he became a high school coach in Park Forest, Illinois. In 1979, he accepted an assistant coaching position at Western Michigan University. In 1982, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and took another assistant job at the University of Michigan.
University of Michigan
In 1989, during the final week of the regular season, Michigan head coach Bill Frieder agreed to take the coaching job at Arizona State University. Though Frieder intended to coach Michigan through the end of the 1989 NCAA tournament, athletic director Bo Schembechler ordered Michigan alumnus Frieder to leave immediately and promoted non-Michigan alumnus Fisher to interim coach, declaring that "a Michigan man will coach Michigan, not an Arizona State man."
Initially, Fisher was not expected to retain the position after the season. However, Fisher led the Wolverines to an improbable NCAA championship that season, thanks to a strong performance by forward Glen Rice. Schembechler hired him as the school's permanent head coach a week after the championship game. Michigan credits the 1988-89 regular season to Frieder and the NCAA tournament to Fisher.
The next two seasons of the Fisher era were struggles. However, In 1991 Fisher signed one of the most talented incoming freshman classes of all time. High school stars Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, and Juwan Howard all signed with Fisher and Michigan, forming what became known as the "Fab Five". Together, they helped lead the Wolverines to the national title game in their freshman year, only to lose to Duke. As sophomores, they again reached the title game, this time losing to North Carolina. In that game, Webber was called for a technical foul with 11 seconds remaining in the game when he signaled for a timeout when the Wolverines had none left.
After the title-game loss to the Tar Heels, Webber went pro; Rose and Howard followed after an elite eight loss to the eventual National Champion Arkansas Razorbacks. The Wolverines would not reach the same heights until 2013, although they reached the postseason each of the next five seasons and won the 1997 National Invitation Tournament.
In October 1997, Michigan fired Fisher as a result of an off-court scandal (see section below).
Fisher was out of coaching for the 1997-98 season before taking a job as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings.
In 1999, Fisher took over as coach of a San Diego State program that had suffered losing records in 13 of the previous 14 years. In the season before he arrived, the Aztecs had won just four games, but within two seasons Fisher had brought the team up to a .500 record, and led them to a 21-12 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in year three of his regime. He has since led them to four other NCAA tourneys, and four appearances in the National Invitational Tournament.
Ed Martin scandal
In 1997, after it was revealed that Maurice Taylor had visited Ed Martin, a retired Ford electrician, the school launched an investigation. After the investigators questioned Fisher's role in arranging complimentary tickets for Martin, Fisher was fired a week before practice began for the 1997-98 season.
Later, additional facts surfaced that further damaged the program's reputation. In 2002, an indictment unsealed in a Detroit federal court charged Ed Martin with running an illegal gambling operation and money laundering. Additionally, it claimed that Martin gave Webber $280,000 in illicit loans while Webber was in high school and college, with another $336,000 allegedly going to three other former Wolverine players - Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock. Martin ultimately pleaded guilty, but died in February 2003.
As a result of the revelations, Michigan imposed its own sanctions on the basketball program in 2002, vacating its two Final Four games from the 1992 NCAA Tournament and its standing as the tournament's runner-up. It also vacated the entire 1992-93 season, as well as every game from 1995-96 to 1998-99. Michigan also withdrew from postseason consideration for the 2002-03 season, and removed the banners hanging in Crisler Arena that commemorated their post-season appearances and removed references to the named players' records. The move came because the payments may have compromised the four players' amateur status. The NCAA accepted Michigan's sanctions, and additionally placed the school on probation until 2006. It also ordered Michigan to disassociate itself from the four players until 2013.
The discoveries did not impact Fisher's career with San Diego State (and no new allegations have occurred in conjunction with that program). Fisher denied any knowledge of the Martin misconduct. The NCAA ultimately faulted Fisher for allowing Martin access to his players (though his ties to Michigan dated to the Frieder era), but otherwise cleared him of wrongdoing.
San Diego State
In his third year, Fisher led the Aztecs to their first Mountain West Conference tournament title, and finished with a 21-12 record and continued the upward surge of the program. They returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since that same '84-85 team. During the 2002-2003 season (his fourth year), Steve Fisher's Aztecs returned to the post-season when they hosted an NIT First round match against UCSB. The Aztecs earned their first ever Division 1 post-season win. After two rebuilding seasons (2003-2004 and 2004-2005), the Aztecs returned to the NCAA Tournament in the 2005-2006 season; Steve Fisher's seventh season. That year the Aztecs began a present seven year streak of consecutive 20+ win seasons while capturing their first ever Mountain West Conference Regular Season Championship, and winning their second ever Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship.
In 2009, the Aztecs earned a school-record 26 victories and reached the semifinals of the NIT. It was their third consecutive trip to the NIT, and fourth consecutive post-season appearance. In the 2009-2010 season, the Aztecs won another 20+ games, won the Mountain West Conference Tournament, and earned their third NCAA Tournament trip under Fisher. In 2010-2011, the Aztecs who were ranked #25 in the pre-season AP poll, spent nearly the entire season in the top 10 and won their first NCAA Tournament game ever en route to the Sweet 16. SDSU Set a school record in 2010-11 season with 34 wins. They had 3 total losses, the first 2 against Sweet 16 team BYU (who they went on to beat in MWC Tournament Championship game) and their 3rd loss going against future NCAA Tournament winner UConn.
Overall Fisher has guided SDSU to the NCAA Tournament in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and the postseason NIT in 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2009, to go along with seven 20-win seasons (seven consecutive from 2006-present); with the 2010-2011 season being the Aztecs' first 30 win season in school history. Additionally, under Steve Fisher, the San Diego State Aztecs Men's basketball team has captured three Mountain West Conference Regular Season Championships (2006 outright, 2011 shared with BYU, 2012 shared with New Mexico), and four Mountain West Conference Tournament Championships (2002, 2006, 2010, 2011). Since the 2005-2006 season, Steve Fisher has led the Aztecs to seven consecutive post-season appearances, and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history since the 1974-1975 and 1975-1976 seasons.
Just ten head coaches have won the NIT as well as the NCAA tournaments. The others are John Calipari, Vadal Peterson, Nolan Richardson, Bobby Knight, Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Al McGuire, Dean Smith, and Jim Calhoun. Nat Holman in 1950 coached the City College of New York (CCNY) to an NIT and NCAA championship in the same season.
Head coaching record
|Michigan (Big Ten Conference) (1989–1997)|
|1989–90||Michigan||23–8||12–6||3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|1990–91||Michigan||14–15||7–11||8th||NIT First Round|
|1993–94||Michigan||24–8||13–5||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1994–95||Michigan||17–14||11–7||T–3rd||NCAA First Round|
|^^1995–96||Michigan||21–11||10–8||T–5th||NCAA First Round|
|San Diego State (Mountain West Conference) (1999–present)|
|2001–02||SDSU||21–12||7–7||T–4th||NCAA First Round|
|2002–03||SDSU||16–14||6–8||5th||NIT Second Round|
|2005–06||SDSU||24–9||13–3||1st||NCAA First Round|
|2006–07||SDSU||22–11||10–6||T–3rd||NIT Second Round|
|2007–08||SDSU||20–13||9–7||4th||NIT First Round|
|2009–10||SDSU||25–9||11–5||T–3rd||NCAA First Round|
|2010–11||SDSU||34–3||14–2||T–1st||NCAA Sweet 16|
|2011–12||SDSU||26–8||10–4||T-1st||NCAA Second Round|
|2012–13||SDSU||23-11||9–7||4th||NCAA Third Round|
National champion Conference regular season champion Conference tournament champion
*Fisher served as interim coach during the 1989 NCAA tournament after Bill Frieder resigned. Michigan credits the 1988-89 regular season to Frieder and the NCAA tournament to Fisher.
^Michigan vacated its two 1992 Final Four games and its status as tournament runner-up. Official record is 24-8.
^^Entire season, including postseason tournament appearances, later vacated by the school.
Michigan total record includes games subsequently vacated by the school.
Notable players coached
- Jamaal Franklin
- Kawhi Leonard
- Malcolm Thomas
- Chris Webber
- Jalen Rose
- Juwan Howard
- Jimmy King
- Ray Jackson
- Robert Traylor