San Diego State men’s basketball head coach Brian Dutcher announced Monday that Rod Palmer, who spent the last 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Long Beach State, including the last four as the associate head coach, has been named an assistant coach at SDSU.
Known in the coaching ranks as both an expert in West Coast recruiting and an excellent on-floor coach, the 49ers posted a 114-64 record in Big West Conference play, easily the highest winning percentage in the league since his arrival prior to the 2007-08 campaign. He has also helped Long Beach State acquire talent that has resulted in three conference players of the year and 14 first-team all-conference performers.
Palmer becomes just the 12th San Diego State men’s basketball assistant coach since the 1999-2000 campaign, the beginning of the Brian Dutcher/Steve Fisher era.
“I am very excited to announce the addition of Coach Palmer to our family,” Dutcher said. “I have known Rod for a long time and he is an excellent coach. So frequently in our business you can get labeled as just a recruiter or just an on-floor coach. What makes Rod so special is that he can do both at a very high level.
“He will make an immediate impact with the players in the program and will help us continue to recruit student-athletes that fit the San Diego State mode.”
Palmer helped lead Long Beach State to three Big West regular-season titles and four appearances in NCAA-sponsored postseason events (NCAA or NIT) in his tenure with the 49ers. Among the notable players he recruited and coached at LBSU include James Ennis, who was drafted in 2013 by the Atlanta Hawks and started for the Detroit Pistons this past season, Casper Ware, who spent time with the Philadelphia 76ers, and two-time all-Big West honoree Justin Bibbins. Both Ennis (2013) and Ware (2011, 2012) were Big West Players of the Year.
“I can’t give enough thanks to Coach Dutcher and the rest of the staff for opening up their arms and welcoming me into the family. This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Palmer said.
“Coach Fisher built a remarkable program that rivals any college basketball program in the nation and Coach Dutcher has done a superb job as head coach carrying on that tradition,” Palmer added. “I am looking forward to coming in and doing whatever Coach Dutcher requires of me and working closely with the staff, in order to maintain the great success and tradition of San Diego State Basketball.”
Prior to his stint in Long Beach, Palmer coached at Centennial High School in Compton where he was the head coach for nine years (1998-2007). Palmer led Centennial to the 2004 CIF Division III State Championship and his 2002 squad was a state finalist.
Both the 2002 and 2004 squads were CIF Division III Southern Regional Champions and in 2006, Centennial was the CIF Division III-A champs. Prior to coaching at Centennial, Palmer was the head coach at Compton High School for four years (1993-97).
Palmer saw two of his former players take the first step of realizing their NBA dreams in 2007. Arron Afflalo was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Pistons and Gabe Pruitt was taken in the second round by the Boston Celtics.
Over 13 years as a high school coach, Palmer guided his teams to eight CIF sectional title games (six consecutive), three Southern Regional championship games, two Southern Regional championships, two state final games and one Division III State Championship. He sent over 25 players to NCAA Division I schools on basketball scholarships.
The 2004 state championship squad was led by Afflalo. The Apaches went 32-3 that year and defeated Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, 60-36, in the title game in Sacramento. During his last season at Centennial, the Apaches were 19-5 and won the Pioneer League title with a perfect 10-0 record, but lost in the first round of the CIF I-AA playoffs to Jordan in overtime.
Palmer earned his bachelor’s degree from UC Irvine in 1990, in psychology and received a teaching credential-secondary in social science in 2004, from Cal State Dominguez Hills. He is a member of the Black Coaches Association.
Palmer prepped at Dominguez High School and was a two-time All-CIF guard and earned a scholarship to UCLA where he played from 1985-87. He then transferred to UC Irvine for his final two seasons.