|College:||Central Washington, 1986|
Under fourth-year head coach Joe Callero, Cal Poly has established itself as both a Big West Conference championship contender and as one of the top defensive programs in NCAA Division I basketball. With Callero at the helm during the 2011-12 campaign, the Mustangs produced their second-highest win total at the Division I level (18) and reached the Big West Tournament semifinals for the first time in five years. During a 100-54 televised triumph against Cal State Northridge last year, Cal Poly made further history by matching a 25-year-old NCAA record with 11-straight three-pointers.
With a reputation for refining talent, Callero – who coached NBA champion and Chicago Bulls forward Brian Scalabrine at USC (1998-99) – has produced five professional players during three seasons at Cal Poly. Additionally, former Mustang point guard Amaurys Fermin was selected for the NBA-rich Dominican Republic Men’s National Team that is attempting to earn a spot in the 2012 London Olympics.
In support of Cal Poly’s winning ways, talent and nationally recognized style of play, the Mustang program has experienced a 42.5 percent increase in attendance between the 2008-09 campaign (the final season prior to Callero’s central coast arrival) and last season’s average of 2,242 fans per home contest.
In addition to finishing as one of the top defensive teams in the nation last season, Cal Poly enjoyed a slew of individual success. Forward David Hanson earned his third-successive All-Big West honor and finished his career first in program history in appearances (122), seventh in rebounds (628) and eighth in points (1,267). Fermin topped the Big West with 119 assists, forward Will Taylor led all conference players with a 53.3 percent field goal mark and guard Dylan Royer finished fifth among NCAA Division I players with a 46.5 percent three-point mark.
Selected to finish fifth in the Big West standings during the 2010-11 season, Cal Poly instead matched single-season program records for highest showing in the Big West (second), highest seeding for the conference tournament (second) and total Big West victories (10). The Mustangs also cemented their status as a defensive powerhouse by finishing third among NCAA Division I programs in opponent three-point percentage (28.7) and sixth in opponent points per game (58.9). Individually, guard Shawn Lewis earned All-Big West first team praise after finishing as the seventh-leading scorer in program history. Hanson earned the first of his two all-conference second team honors while guard Maliik Love was named as the Big West Co-Freshman Player of the Year.
Callero’s initial 2009-10 season at Cal Poly yielded one of the top single-year turnarounds in program history. In orchestrating a five-win improvement from the previous year, Callero also directed the Mustangs to their best start to any Big West season (5-2). Predicted to finish last in the standings, Cal Poly clinched the No. 6 seed for the Big West Tournament and capped the year by winning the program’s first conference tournament game in three seasons. Individually, guard Lorenzo Keeler became the first Mustang in three seasons to earn All-Big West first team praise. Hanson earned all-conference honorable mention consideration while guard Kyle Odister was selected to the Big West All-Freshmen Team.
Cal Poly has also performed exceptionally in the classroom under Callero’s guidance. The 2010-11 Mustang squad finished the spring quarter with a 3.0 team GPA. Highlighted by 13-time Dean’s List selection Matt Titchenal, all six seniors on Cal Poly’s 2011-12 roster graduated on schedule.
Named head coach of Cal Poly on April 3, 2009, Callero has developed a reputation for revitalizing programs. As head coach at Seattle (2001-09), Callero directed the Redhawks to 75 victories during his final four seasons and successfully guided the program through its Division I transition. Callero’s final 2008-09 season with the Redhawks produced a 21-8 campaign and the program’s highest winning percentage in 45 seasons. Additionally, the 2008-09 Seattle squad – as an independent program – finished No. 131 out of 347 Division I programs in the final Sagarin Ratings.
Under Callero, Seattle finished the 2006-07 season with a 20-9 record, a Great Northwest Athletic Conference title and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 38 years. During just his second season at Seattle (2002-03), Callero directed the Redhawks to a 16-11 finish that was the program’s first winning campaign in nine seasons and a 10-victory improvement upon the previous year.
Prior to his success at Seattle, Callero guided Division III University of Puget Sound to a combined 22-25 record during the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons. The Loggers finished 14-10 during his final season to secure the program’s first winning campaign in nine years.
Before pointing Puget Sound in a winning direction, Callero served the 1998-99 season as an assistant coach at USC. During his one season in Los Angeles, Callero assisted the Trojans to the NIT.
A prominent figure on the northwest basketball scene for more than two decades, Callero compiled a 130-49 mark during two three-season stints at Highline Community College (1989-92, 1995-98) and, before departing for USC, helped guide the Thunderbirds to successive Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges championships. Callero twice earned conference Coach of the Year praise after Highline posted a combined 63-2 mark during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 campaigns.
Between successful stints at Highline Community College, Callero served as the head coach and as a guidance counselor at Sumner HS (1992-95). Under Callero, Sumner also posted its first winning campaign in six years.
A 1986 graduate of Central
Washington with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Callero
helped guide the Wildcats to consecutive NAIA National Championship
appearances. The point guard and captain of Central
Washington’s 1985-86 squad received his master’s degree
in education from Seattle in 1991. One of 16 children, Callero is a
graduate of Enumclaw HS.
Callero, his wife, Erika, and daughter, Malia, reside in nearby Arroyo Grande.