Sacramento native Kevin Pham was chosen as the first head coach for the UC Merced Women’s Basketball Program.
For two years at UC Berkeley, while working towards a degree in Economics, Pham served as student assistant for women’s basketball. His experience gave him the opportunity to work with some of the best guards in the Pac-12.
After graduation in 2004, Pham worked as a senior consultant at Accenture. He left the company to pursue his passion for coaching. He acted as the Assistant Head Coach for the Lady Hawks of Cosumnes River College in Sacramento from 2007 to 2012.
Pham’s passion goes beyond the court: his mission is not only to motivate the team athletically, but also to advocate the importance of academic development. “Graduation retention is important; my vision and direction is to show them what it means to be successful at UC Merced while focusing on the process of get[ting] strong as a program” said Coach Pham. He is serious when it comes to the players’ education, and takes a personal interest in any academic concerns his players may have.
Pham’s methods may not be conventional, but they are effective. His style of coaching was proven successful when, with his assistance, the Lady Hawks went to the playoffs for the first time in eight years. “We want our coaches to work to develop the entire student, from athletics to academics. I feel strongly that Kevin will be very successful with our women’s basketball program,” said Athletic Director, David Dunham.
As the co-founder of the women’s basketball program, Krystle Statler is positive that Coach Pham will be able to help the program grow. She stated, “I hope he brings a positive attitude to help establish the team and community involvement: communication is key to playing the game, and I hope he will meet the girls half way.”
Statler also believes that a team that never gives up is a team that sticks together. Hard work, discipline, communication, motivation and trust are some of the characteristics she believes make for a strong player. Coach Pham was chosen because his vision resonated with that of the university.
Coach Pham is looking to recruit players that have a passion for the game. He is looking for players that are not afraid to play aggressively. His game plan is to focus on ball pressure and defense, in order to disrupt offensive flow. He wants to be versatile on offense, and execute with precision.
The goal over the next 3 to 4 years is to build a relationship with the Merced community. He hopes to create an environment on campus that students want to be involved in and where they feel honored to be a Bobcat.
In addition, Coach Pham would also like to see the program become a part of Cal Pac, and eventually compete for a conference title. No matter how many years have gone by, co-founders Krystle Statler and Jessica Anderson will always remember the program’s humble beginnings and will continue to support the Lady Bobcats as alumni.