UC Riverside Athletics announced today that Mike Magpayo, the 2021 Joe B. Hall Award winner, has been tabbed to lead the UC Riverside men’s basketball program forward on a permanent basis and has officially signed to a five-year contract.
Magpayo led the Highlanders to a 14-8 overall record during the global pandemic shortened 2020-21 season. The first-year head coach guided the team to its best record since 2008-09, its highest regular season finish in the Big West Conference (third), and secured UCR’s highest-ever seed in the Big West Conference Tournament (third).
“We are incredibly pleased with what Coach Magpayo has accomplished this year,” said Interim Director of Athletics, Wesley Mallette. “Our team’s performance on the court was outstanding this season, but even more impressive was Mike’s leadership. He and his staff guided this group of young men through the greatest time of uncertainty in our Athletics program’s history, and he did it in an unparalleled manner.”
“Mike has been part of the transformation of our team that began three years ago and led the way as we turned the corner this year and elevated into one of the top teams in the Big West Conference. He has become a true leader in our Athletics program. His selfless and collaborative approach is admired by all and much needed as we continue to build UCR Athletics,” Mallette continued.
Not only did Magpayo help the program make history last season, but Magpayo himself broke barriers. With a 57-42 neutral-court win over Washington in Las Vegas, Magpayo became the first person of Asian American descent to win a game as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level.
Magpayo helped UCR garner a program-record four All-Big West honors at the end of the season, and the Highlanders went on to defeat Hawaii for their first Big West Tournament win in 10 years.
Magpayo arrived to the Inland Empire in April of 2018 from San Francisco, serving as an assistant under head coach David Patrick. The UC Santa Barbara alum was elevated to associate head coach in 2019-20, and soon after was named interim head coach after Patrick departed UCR to take the associate head coach position at Arkansas.
“Without question, this is one of the most transformative days in UCR basketball history,” Magpayo said. “The work of our elite student-athletes has led to this tremendous opportunity for me to lead us forward. We have constructed a group of young men that have proven to be winners over the last few years. My staff is special and I’m thankful to them as well. We are committed to building this winning culture and to always operate with a championship standard. This great young and empowered university deserves a winner and I intend to give it to them.”
“Thank you to our Interim Athletics Director, Wes Mallette, for his incredible work thus far and for offering me the chance to coach the UCR Highlanders men’s basketball team. I would also like to thank you Chancellor Wilcox and the university for believing in me and my family. My wife, Caroline, and my son, Luka, are fired up and we are ready to keep going!” Magpayo concluded.
What They’re Saying About Mike Magpayo
Todd Golden, Head Coach University of San Francisco
“I am absolutely elated to hear about Mike Magpayo's promotion to head men's basketball coach at UC Riverside. I consider Mike one of my best friends, and I am fully confident in his abilities to continue building upon the success the program has had over the past two years. Mike has great basketball acumen, a great work-ethic, and most importantly he's a great person. He has added great value to every program he's been a part of since he entered the coaching profession. He will be a leader that everyone within the UC Riverside family will be proud to call their own. UC Riverside and their administration should get credit for making the right hire. Mike will do a fantastic job!”
Kyle Smith, Head Coach Washington State University
“I am so thrilled for UCR basketball. I would not have had the opportunities that I have had without him. He was on my first staff as a head coach, and I have always leaned on him for his basketball expertise. His best strengths are his intelligence and his ability to connect with all people, especially young people. In addition, Mike has been a tremendous ambassador for coaches from all walks of life. He has volunteered his time over the last nine years to build an inclusive organization which shares knowledge and connects coaches through the Asian Coaches Association. He is a graduate of the UC system and will be a tremendous representative who believes in what the UC System represents. What a great fit for such a great guy. Kudos to UCR. Mike is a true pioneer in the sport.”
Koby Altman, General Manager Cleveland Cavaliers
"UC Riverside just selected a very special person to lead its men’s basketball program. Mike is personable, highly intelligent, and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around. He’s a flat-out grinder that’s goal oriented. Comes from a remarkable basketball coaching tree that prides itself on being data driven. And in my conversations with Mike he’s incredibly passionate about the Riverside community. Congrats on the hire! UCR has a fabulous partner for years to come. "
The Magpayo Timeline
April 20, 2018
Mike Magpayo arrives as an assistant coach from San Francisco.
July 1, 2020
Magpayo is named interim head coach.
December 1, 2020
Magpayo makes history as first Asian American head coach to win a game at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I level with a 57-42 neutral-floor win over Washington.
March 11, 2021
Magpayo leads UCR to first Big West Tournament win in 10 years with 62-52 win over Hawaii.
April 1, 2021
Magpayo wins Joe B. Hall Award for top first-year NCAA Men’s Basketball Division I head coach.
May 21, 2021
Mike Magpayo is named full-time head coach at UC Riverside.