A four-time conference coach of the year, Gary Stewart is one of the most decorated coaches in the country. The Pasadena, Calif., native was honored in 1990, 1991 and 1993 as the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year while at the University of La Verne, and the 1997 Northern California Athletic Conference Coach of the Year while at California State University, Hayward. In 10 years as a head coach, Stewart compiled a 169-91 overall record and took two different programs from worst to first.
Stewart enters his third season at Washington State and his 20th as either a player, assistant coach or head coach at the four-year level of collegiate basketball. He is involved with the Cougars on the floor coaching and game preparation, recruiting, monitoring of academics and opponent scouting.
He was largely responsible for signings in WSU’s 2000 recruiting class regarded by many among the best in the nation and ranked by most recruiting experts in the top two in the Pacific-10 Conference. WSU recruiting classes he has been involved with produced J Locklier, the 2001 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, and Marcus Moore, a 2001 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection.
Stewart, 40, played his collegiate ball at La Verne after graduating from Pasadena's Blair High School. He graduated from La Verne in 1984 as arguably the best player in school history. He ranks in the career top 10 in virtually every statistical category. He was named the 1984 University of La Verne Sportsman of the Year. He was also a two-time Academic All-American. A three-year captain, Stewart garnered all conference honors each of his four years at La Verne. In 1984, he received the SCIAC’s prestigious Ted Ducey Award given to the senior who best exemplifies athletic ability, leadership, self-discipline, determination, sportsmanship and academic achievement.
It was apparent early that Stewart had the ability to coach. At age 17, his first coaching job came with the sophomore team at St. Francis High School in La Canada, Calif. He inherited a team that finished last as freshmen in the same league and proceeded to lead them to a sophomore championship.
Following his graduation from La Verne, Stewart became an assistant coach at Long Beach State and spent two seasons with the 49ers. While at Long Beach State, he demonstrated his ability to develop guards, coaching Morlan Wiley, an NBA draftee of the Dallas Mavericks who went on to spend 10 years in the league. In addition, he helped secure a recruiting class selected by numerous publications as the second best in the Big West Conference. Stewart saw the 49ers record improve each year he was part of the program.
Stewart remained at LBSU until his alma mater came calling in 1987. At the age of 24, Stewart was named the youngest head coach of a four-year institution in the United States. In his eight seasons at La Verne, he led the Leopards to their first NCAA tournament, with an appearance in the Sweet 16. His last six seasons as head coach, La Verne was ranked nationally and/or regionally, marking the only seasons in school history the Leopards have garnered such recognition.
In addition to being named three-time SCIAC Coach of the Year, Stewart was recognized by the city of La Verne in 1993 for outstanding achievement. He compiled a 138-69 overall record at La Verne, where he earned his master’s degree in 1995. Stewart has the highest winning percentage in La Verne history and the second-highest number of victories at the school.
While at La Verne, he designed and implemented an academic program to aid in the retention and graduation of student-athletes. The result was a 92 percent graduation rate of student-athletes who completed their eligibility.
Stewart moved north to Cal State Hayward to coach the Pioneers during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. In two years, he turned the CSUH program around, taking the Pioneers from a last place finish the year before he arrived, to the NCAC conference championship in 1997. During that season, CSUH went 18-10 and was ranked third among all Division II schools in points allowed per game.
He chaired an award committee at La Verne and two others at CSUH regarding outstanding scholastic achievement. Stewart was recognized by professors, administrators and support staff at CSUH for a mentor program he designed and implemented to aid in the retention and graduation of student-athletes.
Stewart set single season records for wins in conference play at both La Verne and CSUH and holds the single coaching winning percentage mark at both institutions. He also served as an associate athletic director at Cal State Hayward and taught at both CSUH and La Verne.
Stewart left Cal State Hayward following the 1996-97 season to return to the Division I ranks as an assistant at UC-Santa Barbara. He was involved with on the floor coaching and recruiting for the Gauchos and helped coordinate academics, which resulted in the highest graduation rate in the Big West Conference.
Stewart has been recognized by The Dunk Publication as one of the top assistant coaches in the country and a prime candidate for a Division I head coaching position in the future. He has coached a pair of players who went on to sign as NBA free agents. While at La Verne, he coached Shaun Manning (Sacramento Kings, 1990) and mentored Raymond Tutt (San Antonio Spurs, 2001) while he was at UCSB.
Stewart was selected as a YES clinician for the 2001 NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four and has spoken on numerous occasions to civic groups and organizations. He has also written articles for several publications. Articles Stewart has written include “Leadership Principles Needed to Build and Sustain A Championship Program” and “An Academic Plan Ensuring The Enrollment Intellectual Development Retention and Graduation of the Student-Athlete.”
Stewart is well respected off the court as well having been selected by his WSU peers to serve on numerous selection committees largely based upon his leadership abilities.
Stewart worked in accreditation for ABC Sports Television at the 1984 Olympic Games In Los Angeles and worked in event management at the 1986 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.
He has earned several honors throughout his career including The Outstanding Young Men of America Award (1984) and being named Who’s Who Among Black Americans (1989) and Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans (1990).
Stewart is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the Black Coaches Associations (BCA) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). He was recently appointed to the NABC Assistant Coaches Board of Directors.
The Stewart File
Born: July 24, 1961 (40), Los Angeles, Calif.
Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.
High School: Blair High School (Pasadena, Calif.), 1980 - Three year letterwinner for basketball team.
College: University of La Verne (La Verne, Calif.), 1980-84 - Received bachelor's degree in physical education…1984 SCIAC sportsman of the year…four-time all-conference selection…three-time all-district…three-time team MVP…two-time Academic All-American;
Long Beach State University, 1984-86 - Post-graduate work toward master’s of science degree in physical education.
University of La Verne (La Verne, Calif.), 1994-95 - Received master’s of arts degree in education, special emphasis in physical education.
Coaching Experience: Long Beach State University, 1984-86 - Assistant coach…academic coordinator…directed summer basketball camp.
University of La Verne (La Verne, Calif.), 1987-95 - Head coach…youngest NCAA head coach in United States at age 24…three-time Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year (1990, 1991, 1993)…NCAA Sweet 16…first NCAA Tournament in school history…1993 City of La Verne Outstanding Achievement award…eight year record of 138-69.
California State University, Hayward, 1995-97 - Head coach…1997 Northern California Athletic Conference coach of the year…led CSUH to 1997 NCAC title…ranked third nationally in points allowed per game…two year record of 31-22.
University of California, Santa Barbara, 1997-98 - Assistant coach…recruiting coordinator…helped secure recruiting class that led UCSB from last to first in one year.
Washington State University, 1999-present - Assistant coach.
WSU Appointment: 1999