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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jim Les named men’s basketball coach

The Aggies have a new coach.

On Friday, Jim Les was named the head coach of the UC Davis men’s basketball team. He will replace outgoing coach Gary Stewart.

Les, father of Aggie freshman Tyler Les, spent seven seasons in the National Basketball Association, leading the league with a .461 three-point percentage while with the Sacramento Kings in 1990-91.

“I am very excited to be coming back to the Sacramento region and joining the UC Davis family,” Les said in a press conference Friday afternoon. “I thought so highly of UC Davis that I encouraged my son, Tyler, to be an Aggie student-athlete, and now it is truly an honor to be asked to teach and coach here.”

After his NBA career, Les became the assistant coach of the Sacramento Monarchs of the Women’s National Basketball Association.

More recently, Les won over 150 games in eight seasons at Bradley University, leading the Braves to the 2006 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen. It was the first time in more than 50 years that Bradley had advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Les’ experience at the collegiate level was what most impressed Athletics Director Greg Warzecka in the coaching decision.

“Jim’s experience as a player, but especially as a leader of outstanding student-athletes, makes him an ideal coach to lead our program,” Warzecka said. “He has experienced college basketball at its highest levels and brings his immense coaching and teaching abilities to UC Davis. We’re excited about the impact he will make on the program.”

In Friday’s press conference, Les revealed his goals for the basketball program, and is eager to start preparing for the 2011-12 campaign.

“My goal is to match the academic excellence that is UC Davis with a winning basketball experience,” he said. “This will be done through dedication, preparation, an up-tempo style of play and a work ethic that will energize this community.”

GRACE SPRAGUE can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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