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Former UCLA assistant to lead basketball program

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By Tim Cornell | Asst. Sports Editor

The Riverside City College Athletics Department confirmed the hire of Phil Mathews as the new head coach for the men’s basketball team.

Mathews was hired after an intense interview process that featured many well qualified candidates.

The spot opened up a month ago after former head coach John Smith accepted the associate head coach position at Cal State Fullerton.

Mathews has an impressive and long resume. He has been a coach at the high school or college level for 41 years.

Having spent four years experience as an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska as well as nine years as the head coach for San Francisco made Mathews a top candidate.

Though Mathews has spent a lot of time away from Southern California basketball, he is no stranger to this area.

He spent his previous three years as an assistant coach at UCLA.

He was mainly in charge of training low post players and was a major factor in recruiting. UCLA had the number one ranked recruiting class in the country in 2012 largely due to Mathew’s recruiting efforts.

Not only does he have Div. I experience, he also has an impressive record at the junior college level.

He was head coach at San Bernardino Valley College for two years in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The team had a combined record of 51-17 in those two seasons.

Every single player from his first season at SBVC moved onto a four-year college with a scholarship.

This is an impressive feat for any coach, and one that surely stuck out for the RCC athletics department.

Mathews compiled a 349-73 total record at the junior college level in 12 seasons.

His team won the conference championship in 11 of those 12 seasons. Mathews will be a perfect fit for the Tigers next season.

The vast amount of experience working with low post players as well as guards will benefit the Tigers.

He worked primarily with guards at Nebraska and greatly increased their three point shooting and assist to turnover ratio.

The Tigers have seen much success over the past decade behind coach Smith. Mathews will look to continue that success and make a push for another state

With the returning talent from last year coupled with an athletic red shirt and freshman class, the Tigers could compete for a state championship as early as next

The Tigers start a new era next season, but will always remember the past coaches who helped build the outstanding reputation of RCC basketball.

Phil Mathews will look to add to the four state championship banners the Tigers already have. The most recent from 2009 won by coach Smith.

The future for the Tigers looks bright behind Mathews. Tiger’s players and fans should be excited for the seasons to come.

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