Cal Poly hires new basketball coach after winless conference season

March 27, 2024


Following a season that ended with a 20-game losing streak and a 0-20 conference record, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Tuesday announced the hire of its new men’s basketball coach, Mike DeGeorge.

DeGeorge, who served the past six seasons as the head coach of Division II program Colorado Mesa, takes over a Mustangs team that finished the 2023-2024 season with a 4-28 overall record. The final 20 games under then-Coach John Smith were all Big West Conference contests, each of which Cal Poly lost. The Mustangs lost the final 38 conference games of Smith’s Cal Poly tenure, with the only Big West win over the past two years being a victory over Cal State Northridge in the first conference contest of the 2022-2023 season.

At Colorado Mesa, DeGeorge averaged 23 wins per season, and he took the program to five NCAA Tournaments. DeGeorge led the Division II program to three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season titles and two conference tournament championships. Twice named Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, DeGeorge guided Colorado Mesa this past season to a regular season conference title and to the Sweet 16 of the Division II NCAA Tournament.

Before his Colorado Mesa tenure, DeGeorge served as the head coach at Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois; Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa; and Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

“We had some great basketball minds that aided Cal Poly through the search, and we appreciate the time and dedication it took from many people to help with this process,” Cal Poly Athletics Director Don Oberhelman said in a statement. “Coach DeGeorge has a proven track record of building programs from the ground up – he’s done it at every level. President Armstrong and I felt that his years of experience and demonstrated success as a collegiate head coach is exactly what Cal Poly needs at this time. Our fans will love the style of play Coach DeGeorge will be bringing to the Central Coast.”

DeGeorge issued a statement saying he is honored to have been selected as Cal Poly’s basketball coach.

“My wife Christi and I have been blown away by Cal Poly and the Central Coast, but the people are what convinced us this is an ideal professional fit for me and a personal fit for our family,” DeGeorge said. “I have made a career of turning programs around and to be able to do it at the Division I level would be a dream come true. In addition, I believe our system is built to help us maximize our potential, and we are excited to put that to the test. Let’s get to work!”


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What with the college transfer portal, NIL and the fact that many big time athletes just aren’t interested in playing in sleepy SLO, this is a very tough job. I was surprised when they fired Collero—he had good teams every few years and was liked in the community.

But, good luck Coach DeGeorge! I’ll be in the stands for a few games as I am every year.

It starts at the top, under the current AD the major sports programs have had losing seasons for years. It is time to remove the AD, hire someone who has a winning attitude. There are no participation trophies at the college level.

Along with Smith, Oberhelman should also be packing his bags. Poly Football and Basketball programs have gone to hell since his arrival. Nobody knows DeGeorge or the school he’s coming from. Poly is one of the highest rated universities in academia and located in the best place in the country. Finding quality coaches and athletes should be easy.

Welcome Coach….

Well, Cal Poly does it again. Pulls someone from a small school that nobody has heard of. Just like football and the rest of the programs at Cal Poly, when was the last time Cal Poly had won anything? While you’re at it, you might as well kill that baseball program. Next thing you know, Cal Poly will be moving to the PAC 2. A perfect fit.

Please keep in mind, CalPoly is a small school that nobody ever heard of as well. Their gym is 1/2 the size of my high school’s. DeGeorge seems like a well credentialed coach who may be able to make the most of this situation.