Stan Morrison, former basketball coach at USC and Pacific, was hired Tuesday as San Jose State's new coach.
Morrison signed a four-year contract that marks his return to coaching after being athletic director at UC Santa Barbara since 1986. He replaces Bill Berry, who was fired last month after a 5-21 season that was further clouded by a walkout by 10 players who claimed he verbally and physically abused them.
Morrison, 49, who has a record of 203-183 in 13 seasons as a head coach, began his collegiate coaching career as a San Jose State assistant in 1966. He went on to be named conference coach of the year at both Pacific and USC, and took both teams to the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. tournament. He was fired at USC three years ago.
"I have not made any secret how much I've missed coaching," Morrison said. "Above all, I've missed the competitive arena and the association with student-athletes. . . . To return to San Jose State, where I have my coaching roots serving as an assistant to Danny Glines, is coming home in a way."
A UCSB spokesman said the search for an athletic director would begin immediately.
"Our priorities were first to promote retention, graduation and the overall welfare of our student-athletes, and second to build a program of high quality that is highly competitive," Athletic Director Randy Hoffman said.
"Stan Morrison was our first choice. His philosophical approach to basketball was consistent with San Jose State and the division of intercollegiate athletics."
Hoffman said last month that he wanted the new coach to restore San Jose State's status as a contender for both the NCAA tournament and the Big West Conference title.
Morrison made no promises.
"You need to be patient," he said. "It takes time to build on a foundation, but we'll start it and hopefully we'll put a good product out on the floor."
Morrison was a 6-foot-7 center on California's national championship team in 1959 and later played professionally in Spain before returning to Cal as a graduate assistant. Before embarking on his collegiate head coaching career, Morrison served as a high school head coach in Sacramento and an assistant at San Jose State and then USC from 1970-72.
Morrison's first head coaching job came in 1973 at Pacific, where he stayed for seven years. His teams posted a 100-88 record and in 1979 won the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. regular-season title and conference tournament.
He returned to USC as head coach for the next seven seasons, compiling a 103-95 record. His two best teams were the 1982 squad, which went 19-9, and the 1985 team, which was 19-10 and won the Pac-10 title.
Morrison was PCAA Coach of the Year in 1979 and Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1985.