EL CENTRO â€”Â San Diego State Universityâ€™s legendary Steve Fisher unexpectedly retired from his position as Menâ€™s Head Basketball Coach last week despiteÂ having one more year remaining on his contract.
After 18 seasons, Fisher revamped the program into a legitimate West Coast threat leading the Aztecs to five NIT tournament berthsÂ andÂ eight NCAA tourney appearances â€”Â including the institution’s first Sweet 16 showing â€” throughout his tenure.Â
Fisher recorded 386 wins and 209 losses as an Aztec, where he salvaged a sputtering basketball program that only claimed three NCAA Tournament appearances before him between 1922 and 1988.
Fisher gained momentum at the University of Michigan where he coached the Wolverineâ€™s illustrious â€˜Fab 5â€™ and netted a 184-82 resume that included a National title.
As of late, speculation has surfaced regarding Fisherâ€™s over all body of work and potential College Basketball Hall of Fame induction.Â
â€œHe absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and if it doesnâ€™t happen, it goes back to where he was implicated in something he was not guilty of,â€ claimed former player Jalen Rose, regarding to Chris Webberâ€™s infamous time-out blunder.
â€œChris Webber didnâ€™t own what he did and still hasnâ€™t apologized and there has been a lot of collateral damage because of that, the number one person [affected] being Steve Fisher, added Rose.Â “Heâ€™s not the person not choosing to apologize or reconcile any of that.Â Yet what he accomplished doesnâ€™t get recognized.”
In 1993, Michigan was in its second consecutive NCAA championship game with time running out and the score 71-73. The Wolverines had the last possession of the game when Webber called for a time out that the team had already exhausted resulting in a technical foul turnover that cost them the game.
â€œHeâ€™s one of the greatest coaches to ever do it.Â Three finals, one championship.Â Heâ€™s won as many titles as coach Cal (Kentuckyâ€™s Calipari), Tom (Michigan States Tom Izzo), and Jim (Syracuseâ€™ Jim Boeheim).Â Those guysâ€™ names come up and they are spoken about in a different reverence.Â The hall of fame is something he earned.Â Itâ€™s something he deserves,â€ implored Rose.
After a 19-14 season and five games shy of 500 career wins, Fisher steps away from Montyâ€™s Mesa expecting to turn the program over to Brian Dutcher and the page to the next chapter in SDSU basketball.Â Â Â
Fisherâ€™s most recent prodigy, Kawhi Leanard, led the Aztecs to their last Mountain West Conference Championship tournament final and has blossomed into an NBA finals MVP and potential 2017 regular season MVP candidate.
â€œSan Diego is a beautiful place to live and build a program, grow a program and say we have a program.Â Iâ€™m proud of every step of my journey but Iâ€™m an Aztec,â€ saidÂ Fisher.