Braswell out as Cal State Northridge coach
Dr. Brandon Martin and Jim Donovan effectively put their stamps on their short tenures at Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton this week when the two schools announced that head basketball coaches Bobby Braswell and Andy Newman would not return for next season.
Braswell was the latest one to be let go, as Martin, a former player of his at Cleveland High School in Reseda, announced Tuesday afternoon that Braswell would be let go after 17 seasons.
"I want to thank Coach Braswell for his 17 years of service and contributions to our men's basketball program and the university community at large," Martin said in a statement. "I wish Coach Braswell and his family all the best moving forward."
Last week, Donovan announced the decision not to keep Newman, who was leading the Titans on an interim basis, at the conclusion of a 14-18 season.
Also in a statement, Donovan said, "We would like to thank coach Andy Newman for his efforts and dedication in his capacity as interim head coach. We appreciate Coach Newman's hard work and stewardship for the past eight months."
While Newman's time at Fullerton was short-lived, Braswell, a CSUN alum, saw 17 seasons worth of record-setting highs and also ugly lows.
This past season, the Matadors fielded the youngest team in Division I and after a hot 6-0 start, the program's best in its DI history, the team significantly cooled off losing its first 7-0 in the Big West.
Braswell lamented his young team's lack of discipline and drive. Following a particularly bad, 105-86 loss to Cal State Fullerton in January, Braswell said,
"We're still in the learning process. We know we've got to continue to teach and continue to get better."
But the team continued to struggle, finishing the season 14-17 but a 5-13 record in the Big West and failing to reach the Big West tournament.
It was the second season in a row the Matadors missed conference tournament, as last year the program served a one-year postseason ban due to academic issues.
Although under Braswell, the program made great strides reaching the NCAA tournament for the first two times in program history and achieving three 20-win seasons, the Matadors have been mediocre at best since the 2008-2009 NCAA tournament seasons.
Since CSUN's first-round exit from the 2009 tournament, the Matadors have gone just 32-58. In addition, the program has been marred by disciplinary issues off the court.
In 2003, former Braswell assistant John Dahlager allegedly tampered with a student's grades. The incident was self-reported and Dahlager's contract was not renewed.
A few months before the Matadors won the Big West tournament and made their second NCAA Tournament appearance, Braswell's son Jeffrey and two of his CSUN teammates were arrested on charges of commercial burglary and grand theft. Jeffrey and his teammates allegedly stole more than $6,000 worth of merchandise from a Porter Ranch Best Buy, where he was employed at the time.
A year later, Jeffrey suffered from major lung problems and even had a portion of a lung surgically removed. His father was by his side though much of the ordeal, missing road trips with the team for fear of complications with his son.
While Braswell has been a mainstay in Northridge for several years, it became clear during recent years that a change was needed. A national search will be performed by both schools, giving the Big West basketball scene a significantly different look next season.