Kevin Pham Named Head Men’s Basketball Coach at UC Merced

The second coach in UC Merced men’s basketball history is a familiar face to the department.  Kevin Pham who has been with UC Merced for three years, previously as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach and fresh off the first California Pacific Conference Tournament Championship in school history will now take the reigns of the men’s program, effective immediately.

“We are excited to have Kevin (Pham) take the helm for our men’s basketball program,” David Dunham, Director of Recreation and Athletics stated. “He is a proven leader and will move our program in a positive direction.”

Pham echoed Dunham’s sentiment saying, “Our goal is to build a strong competitive men’s basketball program that not only competes for conference championships, but thrives to move young men forward in their lives outside of basketball.  The guys will be challenged every single day to be their absolute best as individuals and as a team.”

Pham was instrumental in the progression of the UC Merced women’s basketball program at UC Merced as he developed the foundation starting in their 2012-13 inaugural season.  In three years at the helm, Pham accumulated an impressive resume as he increased the teams record each season, most recently with a 14-12 overall record (5-5 Cal Pac) in 2014-15.  This last season was topped off with a California Pacific Conference Tournament Championship as they defeated #15 nationally ranked Menlo College in the Cal Pac semi finals and secured a trip to the NAIA National Tournament with a win in the championship game.

With only two recruiting classes in his three years with the women’s program Pham’s development of talent has been highlighted by numerous conference honors including two Freshman of the Year, one Newcomer of the Year, three First Team All-Conference, Four Second Team All-Conference, three Honorable Mention All-Conference and three Player of the Week honorees.  Additionally two student-athletes were honored as Daktronics-NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athletes this past season.

“Beyond the minimum requirements, coach Pham offers additional experiences that translate well in our growth as a university and athletic department,” noted Associate Director, David Noble. “A UC graduate himself, he is familiar with the demands and commitment devoted to achieving a successful UC academic experience and is able to support current student-athletes, future recruits and parents in the process.”

Pham, a graduate in Economics from UC Berkeley, brings his basketball knowledge, passion, strong organizational skills, and successful coaching experience to a men’s program that is looking to build a strong foundation moving forward.

“Three years ago I was given the opportunity to build our women’s basketball program from the ground up.  The knowledge and skills I have gained from starting a program combined with my past experiences have prepared me well for this next challenge in my life,” noted Pham.  “I know not many people in college athletics get the chance to lead two different programs at their institution.  This is a rare opportunity for me that I feel privileged to take on, and I am humbled and honored to be our next Head Men’s Basketball Coach.”

Prior to UC Merced, Pham served five years as the Assistant Head Coach for Cosumnes River College (Sacramento, CA) where his main responsibilities included recruiting, practice planning, on-court training, as well as scouting and game preparation.  During Pham’s tenure at CRC, the Lady Hawks moved up from last place in conference to achieve three winning seasons, earned back-to-back California College Athletic Association state tournament appearances, and were ranked as high as 5th in Northern California and 14th in the state.

In speaking about his transition within the department Pham said, “I would like to thank Dave Dunham, David Noble and the search committee for their efforts in this search process and granting me this opportunity.  I would also like to thank our current and former women’s basketball players for allowing me to be a small part of their lives during the last couple of years.”

“We will begin a national search immediately to fill our Head Women’s Basketball Coach position, noted Dunham.  “Coach Pham has built a solid women’s program and has set the program up for success in the future.”

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