Steve Fisher Announces Retirement

Brian Dutcher Introduced as Replacement


Steve Fisher, John David Wicker and Brian Dutcher

SDSU men’s basketball head coach Steve Fisher is retiring. He made the official announcement Tuesday before a crowd of more than 100 well-wishers, players, and media representatives during an afternoon news conference at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center on the SDSU campus.

“I did it at the right time for me.” said Fisher, 72, who has served 18 seasons since being named head coach at SDSU in March 1999. During that time, he has compiled a record of 386 wins and 209 losses after taking over a program that had suffered 13 losing seasons in 14 years prior to his arrival. 

Fisher’s replacement, as stipulated in his contract, will be assistant coach Brian Dutcher, who was designated “head coach in waiting” in 2011. Dutcher has been an assistant to Fisher since the pair coached at the University of Michigan where Fisher coached the Wolverines to a national championship in 1989 after being promoted to replace the departing Bill Frieder.

Brian DutcherBrian Dutcher was introduced April 11 as the new head coach of Aztec men's basketball.

“They say the hardest distance to travel in basketball is that 18 inches from the assistant coaching chair to the head-coaching chair,” said the 57-year-old Dutcher. “It has taken me 18 years to travel that 18 inches here.”

MOST SUCCESSFUL COACH

During his tenure on Montezuma Mesa, Fisher led the Aztecs to the NCAA Tournament eight times and steered the team to its first win in the tournament during SDSU’s 2011 Sweet 16 run. He also guided the Aztecs to five postseason NIT appearances.

Fisher leaves SDSU as the most successful men’s basketball coach in the university’s history. In October 2015, the university dedicated the basketball court at Viejas Arena to the coach, naming it Steve Fisher Court. 

“He is a great teacher, a great coach, and an even better person,” SDSU Athletic Director John David Wicker said of Fisher, whose retirement becomes effective June 30. Wicker said that even in retirement Fisher would continue to play a role in the Athletics Department and the university which “allows him to continue growing the connection between San Diego State and the greater community.”

John David WickerSDSU Athletic Director John David Wicker said that even in retirement, Steve Fisher will "play a role" in the Athletics Department.

Fisher said he is looking forward to serving the university in a different capacity. “There is something to be said for wanting to be where you're wanted and I feel that," the coach stated.

CONTINUING THE CULTURE OF SUCCESS

Several current and former players were on hand for their coach’s announcement. Fisher told the audience the occasion was more of a time for joy than sadness.

“Because very few times do people of any walk of life have the privilege to go out on their terms, feeling good about themselves and the vast majority of those they have worked with and for them feeling the same way,” he said. “I do know that sentiment."

The retiring coach said he feels as though he is leaving his players and the men’s basketball program in capable hands with Coach Dutcher, who vowed to do his best to continue the team’s culture of success. Fisher said he expects the program to continue to flourish and promised to do what he can to help move it forward.

"San Diego State is my legacy,” he said. “I am proud of every step along the way in my journey, but I am an Aztec. I am a teacher and a coach at San Diego State and that’s what I am always going to be."