Former Assistant Coach Eric Olen named new UCSD Men’s Basketball Head Coach, replacing Chris Carlson, Carlson to take position with WCC
Former UCSD men’s basketball assistant coach Eric Olen will take over as head coach to replace Chris Carlson, it was announced last Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Olen has spent the past nine seasons as an assistant coach at UCSD, after playing four years of NAIA basketball at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity and feel really fortunate to inherit a great group of student-athletes,” Olen said. “I’m really looking forward to this upcoming season.”
Olen will take over for Carlson, who spent five seasons at UCSD after serving as the director of basketball relations for Ben Howland at UCLA.
Carlson leaves with an overall record of 75–89 (.457) over his six seasons with the Tritons and after taking the team to the NCAA tournament in 2008.
When asked, Carlson had nothing but good things to say about former assistant coach Olen.
“He’s very talented and has great insight into the game,” Carlson said. “He’s very thorough and very passionate and has a great love for UCSD.”
A San Diego native, Carlson leaves his post for a job as the associate commissioner for men’s basketball of the West Coast Conference — a NCAA Division-I conference hosting teams including Southern California schools Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University and University of San Diego. He will be stationed in San Francisco.
Carlson says he’s excited for the new job but also finds it hard to leave UCSD.
“There’s so much to love about UCSD, but it was a tough opportunity to turn down,” Carlson said.
The UCSD men’s basketball team has limped through its last two seasons. In 2011, the Tritons went 11–17 and last season UCSD finished with an 11–15 record.
The Tritons will begin 2013 without their top scorer, Tyler McGrath, as well as starting forward Justin Brue, who both graduated last spring. Needless to say, Olen will have his work cut out for him in his inaugural season, but the former assistant coach is optimistic.
“We did lose a lot of seniors, but we’re excited with this group’s talent and work ethic,” Olen said. “We’re younger, but I think we have enormous potential.”
Olen says he is in the process of looking for another assistant coach to join the staff before practice begins in a couple weeks.