Published August 29, 2011
SAN DIEGO – San Diego State coach Steve Fisher has received a four-year contract extension and long-time assistant Brian Dutcher has been designated as his eventual replacement.
The school announced the deal Monday. It could keep Fisher at SDSU through the 2014-15 season, if he wants to serve it out.
The 66-year-old Fisher has turned what had been a sad-sack program into a consistent winner. The Aztecs had a breakthrough season in 2010-11. They set a school record by going 34-3, secured their first two wins ever in the NCAA tournament and were ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time.
Fisher will get a $150,000 raise next season, to $800,000. The contract provides for escalators after that.
The Aztecs reached the West regionals before losing to eventual national champion Connecticut. It was their sixth straight 20-win season, and seventh in 12 years under Fisher.
Dutcher has been with Fisher since 1988 at Michigan.
Fisher said Dutcher has been approached several times by other schools about head coaching jobs, but that he's talked his assistant out of leaving.
"To draw me away from this would have to be something spectacular," Dutcher said.
"In my mind, Brian is more important than the extension of my contract," Fisher said.
Fisher will have a big job trying to keep the Aztecs playing at a high level after losing four starters. Point guard D.J. Gay and forwards Malcolm Thomas and Billy White were seniors, and star sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard left for the NBA draft. Additionally, center Brian Carlwell was denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
"I'm not looking to be pushed out the door or run out the door anytime soon," said Fisher, who had a cancer scare a few years ago. "Who knows? I used to operate on a handshake. Now, everyone has a contract. I do like that I have a contract. Right now I'm very healthy. Given the success we've had recently, I'm very excited about what the program has done and what we continue to do."