Joe Callero Hired as Head Basketball Coach at Cal Poly
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Joe Callero, who has successfully revitalized slumping college basketball programs in his last two head coaching assignments, will be Cal Poly's next men's basketball coach, Athletics Director Alison Cone announced today.
“Joe has experience building programs in an academic environment similar to Cal Poly's,” said Cone. “He understands the potential of basketball at Cal Poly and has the energy and passion to help us achieve that potential.”
“He has compiled a winning record on the court, but as important to us, he has done a great job of developing young men,” added Cone. “As Joe said to us in his interview, he develops young people who play basketball. He doesn't just coach basketball, he develops people.”
“Additionally, he will aggressively recruit academically qualified student-athletes and will develop a competitive schedule to test and prepare our team for conference play.” Cone added.
“His approach to developing a program will help us achieve our goal of consistently competing for a Big West Conference championship and a postseason berth in the NCAA tournament.”
Callero has served as head coach at Seattle University the last eight years, leading the Redhawks to a 117-105 record, including a 21-8 mark this season, the school's first year of transition back to the Division I level.
The campaign included a 10-game winning streak, a 10-0 record at home, the best winning percentage at Seattle in 45 years and victories on the road over Big West Conference members Cal Poly and UC Irvine. He was 13-8 against Division I schools this season. Seattle had the best record of any independent Division I team.
Callero is the fourth head coach at Cal Poly since the school made the transition to Division I in 1994.
“The opportunity at Cal Poly is a real dream come true,” said Callero. “Living and working in a college town will be a unique experience.”
“I will be able to continue to recruit bright student-athletes that will graduate, compete and make the community and university proud on and off the court,” Callero added, “I'm looking forward to the parade downtown when we make it to the dance.”
Seattle has had four consecutive winning seasons, posting a 75-37 mark during that span. It was the first time in the past 36 years the Redhawks had four straight winning campaigns.
This season, Seattle finished the year with a final Jeff Sagarin USA TODAY rating of 131 (out of 347 schools).
During the 2006-07 season, Seattle was 20-9, winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship and advancing to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in 38 years.
Callero coached the 2002-03 Redhawks to a 16-11 mark, the school's first winning season in nine years and a 10-game improvement from the previous campaign.
Prior to his tenure at Seattle, Callero guided the University of Puget Sound to a 22-25 record in two seasons. In his second year, the team had a 14-10 record, the first winning season in nine years.
Overall, Callero is 139-130 in 10 years as a collegiate head coach, and 130-49 in six years at Highline Community College.
Callero was a prominent figure in the Pacific Northwest basketball coaching scene. In a pair of three-year stints at Highline Community College (1989-92, 1995-98), he guided his team to back-to-back NWAACC championships in 1997 and 1998 with a combined record of 63-2, earning honors as the Northwest Division Coach of the Year both seasons.
During his time at Highline, Callero coached Brian Scalabrine, who currently plays for the NBA's Boston Celtics. He recruited Scalabrine while coaching at Southern California.
Between his stints at Highline, Callero served as the head basketball coach and guidance counselor at Sumner High School from 1992-95. He led Sumner to its first winning season in six years.
A graduate of Central Washington University, Callero helped guide the Wildcats to NAIA national tournament appearances in his two seasons at the university and received his bachelor's degree in psychology in 1986.
A team captain and point guard at Central Washington, Callero received his master's degree in education (post-secondary counseling) from Seattle University in 1991 and his associate of arts degree from Highline Community College in 1983. He is a graduate of Enumclaw High School
Callero is one of 16 children, his brother Marc is the current head coach at South Puget Sound Community College.
Callero and his wife of 13 years, Erika, have one daughter, Malia.