The Humboldt State men’s basketball team welcomes a familiar face back to the sideline as Rich Mendoza rejoins the program as an assistant coach.
Mendoza served as an assistant from 2002-04 back when the Jacks’ Austin Nichols and Fred Hooks-led squad made its Division II Final Four run. He will bring a wealth of experience back home as one of the three new assistant coaches to go with an HSU roster full of fresh faces.
“I am very happy to be back with the Humboldt State Lumberjack basketball family,” said Mendoza. “I have great championship memories of my time with Humboldt State basketball and look forward to continuing to grow the championship tradition. Coach Steve Kinder and former coach Tom Wood have helped me and my coaching career every step of the way. It’s great to be a Lumberjack again!”
Coach Kinder was exceptionally pleased to welcome Mendoza back to the program saying, “Rich brings a flavor of excitement and experience that I think the guys are going to grab onto. The college basketball season is a marathon and you need somebody that’s consistent and mature, but at the same time has enough levity to be able to keep things light at times. I think his personality is spot-on for that.”
Mendoza has a sterling resume, including his most recent stint at Dominican (2011-17), where he established his team as the best Division II program in the Bay Area. He also coached at College of the Redwoods (2008-11), leading the team to a Golden Valley Conference championship and a berth in the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs Sweet 16. Finally, he was an assistant at San Francisco State (2008), and University of Alaska-Fairbanks (2005-07), where he coached a squad that played in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division II tournament.
As a player, Mendoza was an All-CIF guard for Brethern Christian High of Huntington Beach and helped the squad win the Division V championship game in 1993, advancing to the state finals. He also played for a conference championship team at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
“We’re very close friends, and have been for the last 15 years,” said Coach Kinder. “We’ve stayed in contact constantly throughout those years, so we have a strong bond. He and I communicate extremely well together; we’re very comfortable working together. He understands his role in this program, and I think that’s really going to help generate a sense of security for our players.”
Jason Hodges and Tom Witzel will be joining Mendoza as assistant coaches this season.
» Read more in-depth analysis of basketball coaching in my `Coaching is a Risky Business’ cornerstone article.