San Jose St. Spartans announce new mens hoop coach

San Jose State introduced Cal assistant George Nessman as its new men's basketball coach today, a day his friends and colleagues say was long overdue.

Cal assistant to coach SJSU men


San Jose State introduced Cal assistant George Nessman as its new men's basketball coach today, a day his friends and colleagues say was long overdue.

``This is five years too late,'' said Jerre Cole, who served as an assistant under Nessman at Porterville College. ``He's definitely a good fit for the process that San Jose needs to go through. He has a great deal of experience building programs.''

Nessman, who turns 46 next week, comes to SJSU after just one season at Cal and with no experience as a head coach at a Division I program. But Nessman has 17 years of head-coaching experience in junior college and high school, building winning programs at Porterville and at De La Salle High.

Nessman was chosen by new athletic director Tom Bowen to replace Phil Johnson and resuscitate a program that has won 19 games in three years. An athletic department source said that Nessman received high marks for his interview and presenting his vision for the SJSU basketball program.

Cole and other former coaches and players believe Nessman was ready for a Division I job after his nine-year stay at Porterville, where he turned a doormat into a champion. Under Nessman, the Pirates were 183-72 and won the state title in 2000.

Even there, people wondered if Nessman was the right person for the job.

``People had the same questions at Porterville and we won a state championship,'' said Brian Fonseca, a former assistant of Nessman now at Reedley College. ``He is one of those guys who brings out the best in people. He's a winner and that will show through.''

SJSU, which has had one winning season since 1987, went 6-23 each of the past two seasons under Johnson. As part of the rebuilding process, Bowen wanted his new basketball coach to have Division I experience and a good working relationship with high school and junior college coaches in Northern California.

``He'll get a bunch of exciting players to come and play as one team,'' said Shane Garst, who played for Nessman at Porterville. ``He always gets an exciting bunch. And I still keep in contact with him and a lot of his former players. There's something about Nessman that brought us all together.''

A Cal graduate, Nessman coached nine years at De La Salle, winning five conference championships before moving to Porterville. During his last five seasons there, the Pirates were 147-20 and reached the state's final eight three times. Nessman then spent two years at Bakersfield College before being hired at Cal.

``George is one of the best I've ever seen at bringing a group together,'' Cole said. ``He commands a lot of respect and does a great job teaching the game and developing relationships with kids. And he can get a team to play hard. That's the name of the game when it comes to playing college basketball.''

Contact Mark Gomez at or (408) 920-5869.


Age: 45.

Previous job: Assistant to Ben Braun at Cal.

Coaching credentials: Began his career in 1981 at Salesian High School in Richmond. Was varsity coach at De La Salle in Concord in 1984-93.

Spent 1993-2001 as coach at Porterville College and won a state title in 2000. The next two seasons were spent at Bakersfield College.

He joined Cal in 2004.

Family: Wife, Nancy, and four children -- Joshua, Veronica, Peter and John.

Source: Cal basketball media guide

George Nessman Named Assistant Coach Cal grad has 17 years expierence as a head coach.

Here is a story on Nessman from

April 29, 2004

BERKELEY - George Nessman, who guided his teams to nine conference titles in 17 years as a head coach at the junior college and high school levels, has joined the University of California men's basketball staff as an assistant coach, head coach Ben Braun announced Thursday.

A 1981 graduate of Cal, Nessman began his coaching career in '81 as junior varsity basketball and cross country coach at Salesian High School in Richmond. In 1984, he moved to De La Salle High School in Concord, where he served as varsity basketball coach from 1984-93. During his seven-year tenure with the Spartans, his teams compiled a 155-48 record, captured one section and five conference championships, and made four appearances in the NorCal tournament. Among the players he coached were future NBA players Jon and Brent Barry.

Nessman then turned his attention to the junior college ranks, beginning as head coach at Porterville College from 1993-2001. He added the title of athletic director from 1995-2001 and was an academic advisor for athletics from 2001-02. Nessman accumulated a 183-72 mark at Porterville, which included a state title in 2000.

Named the California Community College Coach of the Year in 2000 when his team finished 33-4, Nessman's squad won four Central Valley Conference crowns and made three final eight appearances in the state tournament. He also led Porterville to a 40-game winning streak from January 2000 to February 2001.

Nessman then spent the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons as head coach at Bakersfield College, where his teams combined for a 26-32 record.

"I'm very pleased to have George join our staff," Braun said. "He has been highly successful on both the high school and college levels, and as a former head coach, he adds a lot of experience to our program. I've admired George's coaching style and the relationships he has built with his players over the years."

Overall, 47 of the 52 sophomores Nessman coached in junior college transferred to four-year institutions, including more than 20 that went to NCAA Division I schools. One of Nessman's players, 6-5 forward Carl Boyd, played for Braun in 1998-99 and helped the Bears to the '99 National Invitation Tournament title.

Nessman received his bachelor's degree in social welfare from Cal in 1981. He also owns a master's degree in education from San Francisco State (1988) and a master's in physical education and recreation from Saint Mary's (1993).

Nessman replaces Lorenzo Neely on Braun's staff at Cal, which also includes associate head coach Louis Reynaud and assistant coach Joe Pasternack. Reynaud served as an assistant under Nessman at De La Salle from 1986-90. He later succeeded Nessman as head coach there in 1994, a position Reynaud held through the 1996-97 season when he moved to Cal.

Inside TheSpartans Top Stories