The UC Riverside Men’s Basketball Team announced it has bolstered its coaching with the additions of Mike Magpayo and Liam Simmons.
Both Simmons and Magpayo will join Associate Head Coach, Justin Bell as part of a revamped Highlander staff under newly appointed Head Coach David Patrick.
Magpayo comes to Riverside fresh off a one-year stint as the men’s basketball director of operations at the University of San Francisco.
“We are excited to have Mike join our staff and thankful he is now part of our Highlander family,” Coach Patrick said. “He has been a part of winning programs on and off the floor at USF, Campbell and Columbia. Mike also understands the culture we are building here at UC Riverside, and he has had success and postseason play at every stop. He will be a vital part in working with me on the day to day operations of our program and his connections through the state of California will enhance our program and recruiting base.”
Prior to his time at San Francisco, Magpayo spent three seasons at Campbell, where he served as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. In 2016-17, he helped put together one of the best seasons in school history, as the Camels advanced to the CIT quarterfinals in the program’s first postseason appearance since 1992.
A Hacienda Heights, Calif. native, Magpayo was also an integral part in helping bring Columbia to new heights, serving as director of operations, assistant coach, and recruiting coordinator and scheduler over a span of four years. Magpayo has also found tremendous success off the court, both as the CEO of a multi-million dollar real estate firm in Southern California for seven years, and as the founder and president of the Asian Coaches Association. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in business economics in 2001.
A dynamic coach and recruiter Liam Simmons joins the Highlanders following four years on the bench at Southwest Baptist University (SBU), where he was promoted to Associate Head Coach ahead of the 2017-18 season. While at SBU, Simmons was part of a program turnaround which in 2015-16 saw the team enjoy its first winning season in eight years.
“We are happy to have Liam join our basketball family,” Coach Patrick said. “I have known Liam for over 25 years and seen his rise as a coach .He brings coaching and recruiting experience at every level. We will utilize his international connections to help broaden our reach globally. His work ethic and understanding of culture will be a major asset to our program.”
Before arriving at SBU, Simmons was an assistant coach at Nicholls State for the 2013-14 season. In just one season, he helped lead NSU to its first winning conference record and postseason win since 2008-09.
Simmons also spent two highly successful seasons coaching at Northwest Christian High School from 2010-12, served as an assistant coach at NAIA National Tournament-bound San Diego Christian in 2007, and has spent time Coaching in Australia.
From 2003-06, Simmons played basketball at San Diego Christian, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. As a player at SDCC, he helped his team to a NAIA Tournament appearance, a pair of top-10 national rankings, and an NCCAA National Championship. Simmons also earned a Masters degree in in Education Science and Physical Education from the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne.
While Simmons and Magpayo along with Head Coach David Patrick are newcomers to UC Riverside, Associate Head Coach Justin Bell is set to return for his sixth year on the Highlander coaching staff. Bell recently served as the team’s interim head coach from January to March, leading the charge in a memorable late-season push which saw the Highlanders nearly upset No. 1 seed UC Davis in the Big West Tournament.
“Justin and I go way back,” Patrick said. “I’ve followed him throughout his coaching journey and am very familiar with his work ethic and his character. He did a great job handling our program during the transition. He is part of the fabric of Riverside both as a student-athlete and a coach, and I am excited he is staying on board to help us compete for wins on and off the floor.”