For as long as Steve Fisher has been a head coach—at Michigan and at San Diego State—Brian Dutcher has been his top assistant.
Fisher came to terms with SDSU to what amounts to a four-year contract extension, announced Monday by the university.
The contract will keep Fisher at San Diego State through at least the 2014-15 season.
Staying by his side as his top assistant will be Dutcher, who was also named as the Aztecs head coach in waiting, something that excites Fisher more than the contract extension.
“In my mind, Brian is more important than the extension of my contract and I’ll kind of hit on all of those points,” Fisher said at Monday’s press conference. “When (SDSU athletic director Jim Sterk) and I talked after he got here, my hope was tofor a whole host of reasons not the least of which was the continued growth and success of our program—was to have the stability and continuity that we have had for 13 years. The best way to do that would be to name Brian Dutcher coach in waiting.”
Dutcher has been Fisher’s top assistant for the 10 seasons Fisher was the head coach at Michigan—where the duo helped lead the Wolverines to a national title in 1989 and to two consecutive Final Fours with the Fab Five.
When Fisher returned to coaching in 1999 after be fired for the scandal that involved Michigan players receiving improper benefits, Fisher’s first act was to call Dutcher and entice him to come to the Mesa.
Fisher and Dutcher have been coaching SDSU together ever since totaling a coaching relationship that has lasted for over two decades.
“I’ve always loved the job I’ve had and I’m not a job chaser,” Dutcher said when asked why he hasn’t taken another head coaching position. “I’ve loved being here in San Diego, with my family, with Coach Fisher and with this University. So to draw me away from this, it would have to be something spectacular and I don’t think there’s anything better than what I’ve had here. That’s why this day has come that I’ve been blessed to work with great people and given an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Dutcher’s new contract is a non-binding agreement, meaning that Dutcher can leave and take another coaching elsewhere.
And though Fisher received a four-year extension, Dutcher’s contract will have to be renewed yearly, but has the “coach in waiting” language added into it.
But is there really a possibility of taking over another program this long into his career?
Dutcher has had other offers to assume head coaching duties elsewhere, but he’s stuck by Fisher and the Aztecs.
Loyalty seems to be more important to Dutcher, who is 51 years old, than ambition. But that’s not to say he’s not ambitious.
He’s just waiting for the right fit.
“I’m in line for my dream job right now,” Dutcher said Monday, “that’s the best part of all this.”
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