UCLA men’s basketball head coach, Ben Howland, announced today the hiring of Philip Mathews to the post of assistant coach. Mathews replaces Donny Daniels, who left to become Mark Few’s assistant at Gonzaga last month.
Mathews, who spent nine years as the head coach at San Francisco (1995-2004), recently finished a four-year stint as an assistant coach at Nebraska on the Husker bench alongside Head Coach Doc Sadler.
“Philip is a welcome and outstanding addition to our coaching staff,” Howland said. “He has been a successful recruiter at every level. He has great relationships and has built an outstanding network of friends not only throughout southern California but the entire country.”
Mathews holds a wealth of knowledge after serving as a former college head coach at both the Division I and junior college levels. During his career, Mathews recorded nearly 500 wins as a head coach.
Mathews returned to the Division I level in 2006-07 as an assistant coach on Sadler’s first staff at Nebraska. It was Mathews’ first time at the NCAA’s highest level since serving as head coach at San Francisco for nine years from 1995 to 2004.
The experience Mathews provided over the past four years was vital to the Huskers’ success. During that stretch with Mathews assisting Sadler, the Huskers posted 70 wins and earned a pair of postseason appearances.
Working primarily with the guards, Mathews helped Sadler turn Nebraska into one of the top ballhandling teams. Nebraska ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin with a +5.8 margin in 2008-09. The Husker guards also helped Nebraska post at least 200 3-pointers three times in the past four years, each time ranking among the top five totals in the Husker record book. Mathews has also helped the Husker point guards become some of the most efficient assistmen in the league. During the past four years, NU’s point guard has ranked among the top seven in the Big 12 Conference in assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.
In his last stint at the Division I level, Mathews guided the San Francisco Dons program from 1995-96 to 2003-04. His team won at least 16 games in each of his first three seasons and among the early highlights was a 19-11 mark in 1997-98 that led to San Francisco’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years.
Two years later, Mathews again led USF to another 19-win season. Two of his last three squads posted winning overall records and all three finished in the top four in the West Coast Conference standings. He finished his career with a 139-123 record in nine seasons at San Francisco.
Mathews honed his coaching skills in the junior college ranks as he compiled a combined 349-73 record in 12 years as head coach at the junior college level and his squads won a conference title 11 times during his tenure.
Mathews’ first stint as head coach at the junior college level came at Ventura College, where he spent 10 seasons (1986-95) compiling a 298-56 record. His teams won 10 straight Western States Conference titles. Before his arrival, Ventura had not won a league championship in 17 seasons.
All but one of his teams earned at least 20 victories and six times – including each of his last five years in charge – his teams won at least 30 contests. During the 1994-95 campaign, Ventura went 37-1 and ranked second nationally while winning the second California state junior college title under Mathews. Eleven players recruited to Ventura for that season earned Division I scholarships.
Following his stint at San Francisco, Mathews spent the next two seasons as the head coach at San Bernardino Valley College, where he helped the Wolverines to an impressive 51-17 record. In his first season in 2004-05, San Bernardino went 27-5 and won the conference title with a 13-1 record. Mathews’ first San Bernardino Valley team saw every player on the roster move on to a four-year school with a scholarship.
Mathews entered the coaching ranks as an assistant at UC Irvine for the 1973 season. He spent the next year at the high school level before returning to Irvine for four years (1975-78). Mathews then served as head coach at Santa Ana Valley High School, where he won two league titles in three years.
Following the 1980-81 campaign, Mathews returned to the college level where he was an assistant for four years at Cal State Fullerton (1982-85) before taking over at Ventura College.
A two-year basketball letterwinner at UC Irvine, Mathews earned his bachelor’s degree in comparative cultures in 1972 and added a master’s degree in education in 1975. Mathews is married to the former Margie Holland. He has four children, Sabrina (40), Akilah (31), Jordan (15) and Jonah (11).