Nathan Rien, who stepped in last year as head coach of Columbia College´s men´s basketball team, has officially been named to that position again for the 2004-05 season, according to George Railey, the college´s athletic director.
“We´ve been impressed with the manner in which Nate Rien has functioned as the head coach in leading our players through some very challenging circumstances in our men´s basketball program,” said Railey. “As a coach, he has demonstrated excellent teaching skills, a passion for the game and a solid commitment to each and every player. We are looking forward to having him return next year.”
Rien joined Columbia College after a highly successful four-year term as head coach of the men´s varsity basketball team at Oakdale High School. He led the Mustangs in their 2002-03 season to a 21-7 overall record (10-2 VOL). Along with developing two All-District players in the same season, he also coached two VOL MVPs and three other All-League players while at Oakdale and led the team to Division III playoffs for three of his four years there.
In addition, Rien was the assistant men´s basketball coach at Stanislaus State University, helping lead the Warriors to an 18-11 overall record (13-9 CCAA) in their 2002-03 season. As such, he contributed toward establishing school records for the most league wins and most home wins in a season.
“I am very happy to be back to represent Columbia College basketball and feel tremendously honored to have the opportunity to coach all these great kids again in addition to some exciting new recruits,” said Rien. “From a coaching standpoint, I´ve been very blessed. I am extremely grateful for my coaching staff, administration and local supporters.”
Rien was hired shortly after the college self-reported COA bylaw violations to the Central Valley Conference (CVC) commissioner, C. Logan McKechnie, which resulted in the school being placed on probationary status. This excluded the college from participation in any COA post-season competitions for the probationary period, as well as forfeiture of all contests for the 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons and any post-season conference play during those years.
After completing one year of probation per the COA bylaws, McKechnie indicated on Wednesday, Mar. 24 that the Columbia College probationary status will be removed as of May 1, 2004, based on the vote of the CVC board.
Reflecting on next season´s players, Rien said, “We have fielded an excellent lineup of athletes and look forward to some high energy, hard playing basketball.” Among the team´s returning players are Josh Kitchen (Oakdale), Ryan Stevenson (Oakdale), Daniel Pastran (Manteca), Rob Hoyt (Sonora), Susumu Ebihara (Kasukabe, Japan), Quint Gerber (Tuolumne), Nick Swisegood (Don Pedro), and Jesse Cuslidge (Oakdale).
Claim Jumpers, who received All-League CVC honors last year were Daniel Pastran and Jarelle Harris (honorable mention); Josh Kitchen, Jarelle Harris and Daniel Pastran (freshman team); and Ryan Stevenson (all defensive team).
All of the team´s assistant coaches will also be returning next season: Jon Moberg, Grant Miller, Lloyd Longeway and Eric Esparza, who has trained NCAA and NBA basketball players at the prestigious Pete Newell Big Man Camp.