CSUF welcomes new basketball coaches

ROBERT HUSKEY/ Daily Titan

ROBERT HUSKEY/ Daily Titan

Cal State Fullerton welcomed two new members to its athletics department Wednesday as Dedrique Taylor and Daron Park were formally introduced as the coaching future of the Titan basketball program.

Taylor, former Arizona State associate head men’s basketball coach and longtime college assistant, was appointed as the 11th men’s basketball head coach in CSUF history. Park, former USC associate head women’s basketball coach, was introduced as the Titans’ next women’s basketball head coach.

Athletics Director Jim Donovan had nothing but praise when it came to speaking on Taylor, a Pomona, Calif. native.

“He had a phenomenal interview, full of energy. At the end of the interview, he left most of the selection committee with goosebumps because he said, in closing, ‘This is my destiny. I’m coming home. I’m going to lead this program and we’re going to go places.’ We are so very pleased to have someone of his character,” said Donovan.

He now replaces interim coach Andy Newman, who led the Titans to a 14-18 overall record and 6-12 in Big West Conference play this past season.

“My coaching journey has brought me to a place I call home, and I value that immensely,” said Taylor.  “I look forward to positively impacting the lives of the young men that are currently in the program and the lives of future Titans as well. Together, we will represent Fullerton with pride.”

Named as one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the country by CollegeInsider.com in 2010, Taylor has spent the last seven seasons at Arizona State helping rebuild the Sun Devils basketball program. He led ASU to four 20-win seasons, including a trip to the second round of the 2009 NCAA tournament with a 25-10 overall record, the most wins for the program since 1974-1975. He was elevated to associate head coach in the spring of 2010.

Donovan was also beaming with excitement as he welcomed Park to the Titan family, the first male head coach in CSUF’s women’s basketball history.

“His experience at some of this country’s premier collegiate programs will be of tremendous benefit to our program going forward and will help build a winner here at Cal State Fullerton,” said Donovan.

He replaces former head coach Marcia Foster, who led CSUF to an 11-22 overall record, 5-13 in the Big West conference and a trip to the conference semifinals this past season.

Park earned his first associate coaching position in 2009, where he was associate head coach at Louisiana Tech for two seasons, helping to lead the Lady Techsters to two consecutive 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He also led Louisiana Tech to the school’s first WAC Tournament Championship since the 2005-2006 season.

Prior to coming to coach at USC in 2012, Park spent a year as UC Berkeley’s associate head coach, and under the mentoring of Lindsey Gottlieb, guided the Golden Bears to a 25-10 overall record and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2008-2009 season.

“For the last nine years I’ve done this at the Division I level, at BCS schools, at mid-major schools. The bottom line and what I’ve been so proud of is the fact that we’ve won everywhere,” said Park.

His enthusiasm was apparent as he spoke on this opportunity he is about to embark on.

“I eat, breathe and sleep basketball. It’s so great to align myself with so many others at Cal State Fullerton who share the same passion for their jobs, their sport and their university,” Park said. “This is an absolute perfect fit for me personally, professionally and for my family.”

About Angel Mendoza

Angel Mendoza was a previous sports editor at the Daily Titan, and graduated as a journalism major with an emphasis on print. Mendoza enjoys watching most sports but basketball is his passion. When the Lakers lose, it’s a bad day. His dream job is to work for the Los Angeles Times or Sports Illustrated.