OFFICIAL: Booker named Head Basketball Coach at Cal State San Marcos

Following up on something that first mentioned earlier this morning (D2 DIRT). UC San Diego assistant Nick Booker has officially been named as the new head men’s basketball coach at Cal State San Marcos. Here’s the release from the school:

The Cal State San Marcos men’s basketball team has a new leader as Nick Booker was named the Cougars’ third head coach in program history on Monday.

“My family and I could not be happier to join the Cougar family,” Booker said. “We are excited about becoming part of this tight-knit community and contributing to its continued growth and success. Cal State San Marcos was an easy choice for me. It is a transformative educational institute in one of the most attractive areas in the United States. The University’s commitment to academic excellence and its very successful athletics program, despite being in its infancy in NCAA Division II, make it an exceptional opportunity.”

Booker comes to CSUSM from UC San Diego where he was the Tritons’ assistant coach beginning in June 2020 and was the program’s interim head coach in March 2023. In his three seasons at UCSD, Booker helped the Tritons transition from NCAA Division II to Division I and coordinated the recruiting efforts that led to back-to-back Freshmen of the Year. He was also a member of the Tritons’ diversity council that strategized ways to continue to reinforce the core values of inclusion at UCSD.

“Nick’s impressive career trajectory and coaching philosophy for helping student-athletes succeed both on and off the court aligns with our mission of student success and social mobility,” said Viridiana Diaz, CSUSM Vice President for Student Affairs. “He has a track record for using a holistic approach to address the physical, social, emotional and mental needs of student-athletes while helping them become great players and positive societal contributors. I’m confident Coach Booker will continue to build on the success of the program and will be a champion for our current and future student-athletes.”  

Prior to UCSD, Booker was the associate head coach at Eastern Washington University from April 2017 through May 2020. Booker was responsible for leading player skill development with emphasis on post players and on-court coaching with defensive emphasis. He also oversaw academic monitoring, recruiting, practice planning, in-season opponent scouting and summer camps.

In three seasons at Eastern Washington, Booker helped the Eagles win 59 games overall, 41 in Big Sky Conference play and a Big Sky championship in 2019-20. He also helped develop a pair of Big Sky Players of the Year: Bogdan Bliznyuk (2017-18) and Mason Pealting (2019-20). As a result of that success, on May 16, 2020, acknowledged him as one of the top 50 impactful NCAA Division I assistant coaches in the nation and Booker was also named as the top assistant coach in the Big Sky by Stadium.

In April 2016, Booker returned to his alma mater Davidson College as the director of basketball operations, and before that, he was at UC Irvine as the director of basketball operations from September 2010 to March 2011 before being elevated to assistant coach from April 2011 to March 2016.

Booker spent time at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo as an assistant coach and interim head coach from July 2007 through August 2010 after his first coaching gig as an assistant at Miramar Community College for the 2006-07 season.

“We are very excited to welcome Nick Booker to our Cougar family as our head coach for men’s basketball,” said Morod Shah, CSUSM Associate Director of Athletics. “Nick’s coaching experience along with his local ties here in the San Diego area is exciting for CSUSM men’s basketball, our department and our community. I look forward to working with him and watching his impact on our student-athletes and our campus.” 

The Davidson grad earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 2004. He was a member of the Wildcats team under former Davidson head coach Bob McKillop. He was a starter for the 2002 Southern Conference championship team that competed in the NCAA Tournament against Ohio State. As a senior, Booker led Davidson in blocked shots and steals. In his time playing for the Wildcats, he was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and contributed to back-to-back regular-season conference championships in 2001 and 2002.

Booker earned his master’s degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific in 2010.

An Oceanside native, Booker is married to his wife Alayna and has four children: Philip, Kaleb, Ella, and Madisyn.

“This is a surreal moment, and I am greatly humbled to be the next head coach at CSUSM,” Booker said.

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