Fil-Am Mike Magpayo wins award for top first-year coach

Mike Magpayo

FILIPINO American coach Mike Magpayo is the recipient of the annual Joe B. Hall award given to the top first-year head coach in college basketball.

Magpayo on Thursday, April 1, received the award from after leading the University of California (UC) Riverside Highlanders to a historic campaign in the Big West Conference.

“Dealing with the pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding the future of athletics at UC Riverside, Mike Magpayo led the program to an historic season,” said Angela Lento, Vice President of

“Coach Magpayo’s attention to detail and leadership are second to none. He’s a star in the profession,” she added.

Magpayo, the first Asian-American to coach in the NCAA Division 1, steered the Highlanders to a 14-7 record, finishing third in the standings of the Big West Conference.

He also brought the Highlanders to the semifinals of the Big West Tournament for the first time since 2011.

The 41-year-old mentor attributed the team’s success to his coaching staff and players.
“I’ve been very blessed this year on and off the court,” Magpayo told ESPN5.

“But, I’ve been carried by my tremendous coaching staff and amazing group of players, these young men that represent the University of California Riverside. They are the great story, to post the best season in school history and to still want much, much more, is a great place to coach. I’m proud of our team and hungry for more,” he added.

Magpayo bested seven other finalists for the award namely Wichita State’s Isaac Brown, Georgia Southern’s Brian Burg, Texas State’s Terrence Johnson, Loyola Marymount’s Stan Johnson, Southeast Missouri State’s Brad Korn, ETSU’s Jason Shay, and UNCW’s Takayo Siddle.

The Fil-Am mentor was the defensive coordinator at UC Riverside before replacing David Patrick as head coach. He also had stints at University of San Francisco, Campbell University, and Columbia University before making his way to UC Riverside in 2018.

Magpayo is the founder and president of the Asian Coaches Association, a group that supports coaches of Asian descent beyond the basketball community. (AJPress)

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