Brandenburg named coach at San Diego State


SAN DIEGO -- Jim Brandenburg, who led Wyoming to the NCAA regional semifinals last week, Tuesday was named head basketball coach at San Diego State University, the Cowboys' Western Athletic Conference rival.

Brandenburg, 51, replaces Smokey Gaines, who resigned from San Diego State last month at the end of the Aztecs' 5-25 season.


Brandenburg had a 176-97 record in nine years at Wyoming. The Cowboys were 24-10 this season and defeated Virginia and UCLA in the NCAA tournament before losing to Nevada-Las Vegas 92-78 in the regional semifinals last Friday. It was Wyoming's best NCAA tournament performance since winning the championship in 1943.

'I had a good situation at the University of Wyoming,' Brandenburg saidTuesday at a news conference announcing his appointment. 'We had a good team coming back ... but I thought this was too good an opportunity to pass up.'

He said it was 'an agonizing decision, but I didn't have to be sold on it.'

Brandenburg's overall college coaching record is 215-113. He was named WAC coach of the year in 1981, 1982 and 1986 when his teams won league championships.

Brandenburg said he felt San Diego's program, which has languished for years in mediocrity and community apathy, had the potential to become a nationally respected name.


He said he would approach the San Diego job as a 'three-year program.'

'Our first goal is to be competitive,' Brandenburg said. 'In the second year, it's to become a contender, and the third year, to be a serious contender.'

He will have plenty of players returning next season, but the Aztecs will still be a young squad of sophomores and juniors.

'I think there are athletes in the program, but they are all young,' Brandenburg said. 'I haven't had a chance to evaluate them.'

Brandenburg said he would not try to build San Diego's team with Wyoming recruits.

'I think if I spend a lot of time recruiting players for San Diego State that we had spent a lot of energy recruiting for the University of Wyoming, then we run into an ethical question,' he said. 'We'll leave those players alone.'

Wyoming Athletic Director Paul Roach said he started a search for a new coach Tuesday and was unsure why Brandenburg left Wyoming.

'After three meetings with him, I really don't know why he's leaving,' Roach said. 'He did cite a couple of factors that might be involved in the decision. One was former contract problems here in the past that I'm not too knowledgeable about.'


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