Like Father, Like Son

By Josh Herwitt - October 03, 2007

It's a family affair at San Diego State these days.

That's because father and son will both be working the sidelines when the Aztecs open their season Nov. 9 in Fresno, Calif. at the World Vision Classic against Liberty.

On Wednesday, San Diego State coach Steve Fisher named his son Mark as his new assistant coach after serving as the team's Director of Operations for the last five seasons.

"I am very excited for Mark to move into an assistant coaching position," Steve Fisher said. "As a five-year member of our staff, he is very familiar with everything that surrounds San Diego State University, including our program and student-athletes. It will be a seamless transition for him.

"He has been around basketball all his life and now he moves into on-court coaching and off-campus recruiting."

The younger Fisher will take over for Gregg Gottlieb, who left the SDSU coaching staff in July to work under Cal's Ben Braun as an assistant coach.

"Gregg was one of our original hires here and he has been with us for the last eight seasons," the Aztecs' head coach added. "He has grown steadily into an extremely loyal, valuable and important asset to San Diego State basketball. He will be a wonderful asset to Coach Braun and the California program."

During his time at San Diego State, Mark Fisher has been in charge of the day-to-day operations -- from scheduling to team travel -- for the Aztecs, but now he'll have even more responsibility with an up-and-coming program that has reached the postseason four times in the last six years.

"I am honored and excited to officially be on the coaching staff," he said. "I am fortunate to be an assistant on an unbelievable staff at a great university in the best city in America."

Howland Agrees To New Contract Terms

UCLA coach Ben Howland has made two consecutive trips to the Final Four in just four years in Westwood.

So on Wednesday, Howland decided to extend his stay in Southern California by happily agreeing to a new seven-year contract, keeping him with the Bruins through the 2013-14 season.

"There is no place I would rather be coaching than UCLA," he said. "This has always been my dream job. I grew up a Bruin basketball fan and it still is hard for me to believe that I am the caretaker of the program that Coach [John] Wooden built."

The deal guarantees Howland, who earned $1.2 million last season, $1.5 million for the 2007-08 season with an increase to $2 million for his final year, and there's no question that Howland is well-deserving of the pay raise.

"He is clearly one of the top teachers and recruiters in college basketball," athletic director Dan Guerrero said. "He has re-established UCLA as one of the nation's elite programs, as our back-to-back Final Fours illustrate, and has built a solid foundation that will keep us at the forefront for the foreseeable future."

But Howland won't be satisfied winning a third straight Pac-10 championship and reaching the Final Four again in 2007-08. With the kind of talent that he has now and the way the Bruins have rebounded from their 11-17 season in 2003-04, the former Pittsburgh coach knows that there's a lot more in store for UCLA this season.

"Back-to-back Final Fours are great, but our team is looking forward to the challenge of taking the next step," Howland said.

For Howland and UCLA, failing to take that next step the past two seasons has been the difference between a Final Four finish and the program's 12th national championship banner.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 06:51 PM on October 03, 2007

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