Darren Savino Named UCLA Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach

The UCLA men’s basketball program has hired Darren Savino as associate head coach, as announced Thursday by Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach.

Savino has spent over 23 seasons working as a college basketball coach, most recently serving as an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati the past nine seasons (2011-19). Savino has worked alongside Cronin for 11 seasons, including each of the last nine at Cincinnati, helping the Bearcats advance to nine consecutive NCAA Tournaments. In 2018-19, he served as associate head coach at Cincinnati.

“I’m honored to be joining the coaching staff at UCLA,” Savino said. “I’m extremely grateful to Coach Cronin and the UCLA administration for this opportunity. Mick and I know each other very well, and we can’t wait to get to work in Westwood. UCLA has a tremendous athletic tradition and is a world-class institution. Having spent my entire life in the game of basketball, I know first-hand what an honor this is to be able to represent UCLA’s program.”

During Savino’s nine-year span at Cincinnati, the Bearcats won at least 22 games each season and finished within the top three in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) standings the past six seasons. With Savino on Cincinnati’s coaching staff, the Bearcats compiled a 235-79 record in nine years, logging a .748 winning percentage. During the previous two seasons, Cincinnati generated the AAC’s Player of the Year, with Gary Clark in 2018 and Jarron Cumberland in 2019.

“Darren and I have been working together for a long time, and he’s a great basketball coach,” Cronin said. “He is an outstanding leader, he comes from a tremendous basketball background and he is in coaching for all the right reasons. Our players will love him. They will see that not only is he a great coach, but he also cares about them as people. That’s what I am looking for on my coaching staff, and he really embodies that.”

Prior to his time at Cincinnati, Savino served as an assistant coach for four years at Rutgers (2006-10) and for two seasons at Murray State (2004-06). He coached on Cronin’s staff during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons at Murray State, helping lead the Racers to the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Savino has also had coaching stints at Quinnipiac (2002-04), New Mexico (1999-02), East Carolina (1998-99) and St. John’s (1996-98). He spent the 1995-96 season as an administrative assistant on the staff at Seton Hall.

Savino began his coaching career as a junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at Marist High School in Bayonne, N.J. He graduated from Jersey City College with his degree in business administration, specializing in sports management. Savino was a member of the Jersey City basketball team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1992.

Hailing from Jersey City, N.J., Savino was a graduate of St. Anthony High School in 1989. He played under legendary coach Bob Hurley, Sr., and teamed with Bobby Hurley and Roderick Rhodes on a team that won the USA Today national championship during his senior season.