FULLERTON, Calif.--- Former USC associate head women's basketball coach Daron Park was formally introduced as Cal State Fullerton's next women's basketball head coach, Athletic Director Jim Donovan announced in a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Titan Gym.
"I am very excited to add a coach of Daron's caliber to our staff," Donovan said. "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."
Park becomes the Titans' 10th head coach in the program's 44-year history, after spending last season as the associate head women's basketball coach at USC. He has spent nine seasons coaching at the Division I level, appearing in seven NCAA tournaments, taking three trips to the Elite Eight, and securing one WNIT bid during that span. Park's teams have collected an overall record of 219-85 (.720), with only one of them posting a losing season record.
He replaces former head coach Marcia Foster, who led the Titans to an 11-22 overall record, a 5-13 conference mark, and a trip to the Big West Tournament Semifinals in 2012-13.
"I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as the next head coach at Cal State Fullerton. I want to thank President Mildred Garcia, Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes, and Athletic Director Jim Donavon for entrusting me with this truly amazing opportunity," Park said. "The energy and enthusiasm surrounding Titan athletics right now is incredibly contagious, and from the moment I set foot on campus I knew this was the place for me."
"I am excited to begin this journey with Cal State Fullerton, and look forward to our program representing the campus community in a positive way in everything that we do."
Before coming to coach at Southern California in 2012, Park spent a year as California's associate head coach, and under tutelage of Lindsey Gottlieb, guided the Golden Bears to a 25-10 overall mark and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2008-09 season.
Park earned his first associate coaching job in 2009, where he served as an associate head coach at Louisiana Tech for two seasons (2009-11), helping to lead the Lady Techsters to two consecutive 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA Tournament berths, including the school's first WAC Tournament Championship since the 2005-06 campaign.
During the 2007-08 season, Park served as the interim head coach at the University of Maryland, where he led the Terrapins to a 33-4 overall record and a 13-1 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference, including a trip the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight round. He also was an assistant coach on Maryland's 2008-09 ACC regular season and tournament championship team. The Terps made a run to the Elite Eight that year as well.
Over his two years there, he helped guide Maryland to two Top-5 national rankings and two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
Before arriving at Maryland, Park recieved his Division I start as an assistant at Utah from 2004-07, where he helped guide the Utes to a 72-29 overall record, a Mountain West championship, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and a trip to the Elite Eight in his three years there.
Park also owns head coaching experience, as he served as the head coach at NAIA Westminster College for four years (2000-04) during which time the program sported 30 Academic All-Frontier Conference recipients and eight Academic All-Americans. Park began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Westminster in 1999.
The Great Falls, Mont. native earned his Bachelor's degree in Health Enhancement from Montana State in 1994.
Park now becomes the first male head coach in Cal State Fullerton women's basketball history.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Cal State Fullerton Athletics Director Jim Donovan
Cal State Fullerton Women's Basketball Coach Daron Park
"I can't even begin to tell you how humbled and how honored I am to be with you here today. To have a chance to build something so special here at a university that's in such a technologically rich, metroploitian area in Orange County is just special. You have dreams, you have realistic dreams, and then you have wild dreams. Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned something as special as this journey that we're about to embark on. I'd like to thank president Garcia and Dr. Eanes for sharing their vision and the role they wanted athletics to play at Cal State Fullerton. The future is very, very bright under their leadership and I absolutely thank them for the opportunity for me to be a part of that vision. I'd also like to thank athletic director Jim Donovan. From our very first conversation, I could easily see his passion, his love, and his desire for this university to be exceptional.
"People that have known me for any sort of time know that I'm high energy, enthusiastic, and passionate. 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. This is an absolute perfect fit for me personally, professionally, and for my family. Jim (Donovan), I once again thank you for believing in me and trusting me to build something very special here at Cal State Fullerton.
On his experience at large basketball institutions and what he can apply and bring to Cal State Fullerton.
"I've had the opportunity to coach at some amazing institutions alongside some amazing assistant coaches. It really gives you the opportunity to help shape your philosophy and develop your style on how you want to be and how you want to get things done. You get to see the good, you get to see the bad, and then differentiate between the two. 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. To have the idea and the understanding to know what it takes to win, be successful, and create a foundation to ensure success, not only in the short term, but the long term, is absolutely what I'll take from my past experience at all those other programs."
On Park's various mentors
"The first person that hired me was Elaine Elliott, she was the head coach at the University of Utah. Elaine set the standard for women's basketball coaches in the west, so to have the opportunity to be with her and be alongside her, to learn from her, and to see how exactly you need to do things the right way, regardless of the situation really was an amazing opportunity. To this day, being with Elaine at Utah and experiencing that type of work ethic and that type of program, you just assume, that's how it is everywhere. When you get out there and get to be around other coaches and people, you understand really quickly that's not the norm, it's the exception. So she'll always be someone that is very special to me. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for her. Every coach I've been with I can say the same thing, I've experienced so many wonderful things from so many of them and we say in the coaching business all the time that you're not going to event anything new, you just steal from other coaches. I've got notebook, after notebook, after notebook from those coaches that I've stolen from."
On Park's desired style of play
"We're going to play hard, we're going to play incredibly hard. We're going to play with an incredible amount of energy. And when I say "we", I mean our players, because I will never set foot on the court or be able to put the ball in the basket. I tried out in ninth grade and got cut. There were four teams I could have made and I didn't make any of them. I learned very quickly that I needed to instruct people on how to do things. They're going to play hard, they're going to be enthusiastic, they're going to play smart, and the most important thing is that they're going to play together. We're going to compete for 40 minutes and at the end of the day we absolutely hope and expect that a lot of the results are going to be exactly how we want them to be. I do know one thing, I know we're going to make this campus community incredibly proud that we're affiliated with them and it is absolutely our mission to ensure that Cal State Fullerton women's basketball has an excellent place on this campus."
On the stamp Park wants to put on Cal State Fullerton women's basketball
"I think it starts with how we play on the floor, because really that's your identity. People see that the most because people come to the games and they see the end product. With that being said, I had the wonderful pleasure to meet with these young ladies a little bit ago and I got to share some thoughts with them, and they got to share some thoughts with me. The hard work, energy, and enthusiasim that you'll see on the court can only happen by what we do off the court and how we carry ourselves in the classroom, and how we carry ourselves on campus, and how we carry ourselves from the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we lay our heads down on the pillow at night. That's the one thing we talked about, every single day, no matter what, the stamp of this program will be: we will get better every single day individually. Whether it's on the court, in the community, in the classroom, it doesn't matter, because if we get better every day individually, collectively as a team we'll be very, very fun to watch."
DARON PARK YEAR-BY-YEAR DIVISION I COACHING CAREER
|Utah (Mountain West)||Assistant||26-8||.765||12-2||2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|2005-06||Utah (Mountain West)||Assistant||27-7||.794||12-4||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2006-07||Utah (Mountain West)||Assistant||19-14||.576||10-6||5th||WNIT Second Round|
|2007-08||Maryland (ACC)||Interim HC||33-4||.892||13-1||2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2008-09||Maryland (ACC)||Assistant||31-5||.861||12-2||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2009-10||Louisiana Tech (WAC)||Assoc. HC||23-9||.719||11-5||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|2010-11||Louisiana Tech (WAC)||Assoc. HC||24-8||.750||15-1||1st||NCAA First Round|
|2011-12||California (PAC-12)||Assoc. HC||25-10||.714||13-5||2nd||NCAA Second Round|
|2012-13||USC (PAC-12)||Assoc. HC||11-20||.355||7-11||7th||---|
|TOTALS||9 Years||---||219-85||.720||105-37||---||7 NCAA / 1 WNIT Berth|