LA JOLLA, Calif. - Longtime UC San Diego men's basketball assistant coach Eric Olen has been named the program's new head coach. The announcement was made Tuesday by Director of Athletics Earl W. Edwards.
The 12th head coach in the history of UCSD basketball, Olen has spent the last nine seasons as an assistant with the Tritons. He replaces Chris Carlson, who recently accepted a position with the West Coast Conference (WCC).
"We are extremely happy to have someone with Eric's experience lead our men's basketball team," said Edwards. "His extensive knowledge of the program and the California Collegiate Athletic Association, along with his existing relationships with the student-athletes and his recruiting expertise, will make this transition as smooth as possible."
Over the past nine seasons, Olen has played an integral part in all aspects of running the program and has served as the Tritons' recruiting coordinator. His primary duties have also included developing UCSD's post players.
"I'm really excited and grateful for the opportunity to work in this new capacity with the exceptional student-athletes we have on this team," said Olen. "Coach Carlson has done a great job moving the program in the right direction and I'm looking forward to continuing that progression."
Olen joined the UCSD staff as a second assistant under head coach Bill Carr for the 2004-05 season and was quickly promoted to first assistant the next year. During his tenure as an assistant coach, the Tritons collected 14 All-CCAA selections and two players garnered league Freshman of the Year accolades. In 2008, UC San Diego won its first CCAA Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in program history.
As a player at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., Olen helped the Badgers to three straight appearances in the NAIA National Tournament, including trips to the NAIA Elite Eight in 2000 and 2001. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in finance.
Carlson compiled a 75-89 record over six seasons (2007-13) as head coach of the Tritons. He will serve as Associate Commissioner for Men's Basketball and Sport Administration at the WCC, located in San Bruno.
"UC San Diego will always be a special place to me," said Carlson. "I am extremely thankful to Earl, the campus community and our student-athletes for the incredible opportunities and experiences that I've been privileged to be a part of. It is with a heavy heart that I leave UCSD, but I know that the program is in great hands going forward."
"I want to thank Chris for his outstanding contributions to UCSD," said Edwards. "His dedication and enthusiasm will surely be missed by the players and staff as well as the campus and San Diego communities. I wish him the best in his new position and I know he will be a great asset to the WCC."
UCSD returns nine players from its 2012-13 squad that went 11-15 and qualified for the CCAA Tournament. The Tritons open their 2013-14 campaign with an exhibition at Division I Pitt on Oct. 25. Following a second exhibition at Division I Grand Canyon on Nov. 1, the regular season gets underway against Daemen College on Nov. 15 at RIMAC Arena.
For a complete season schedule, click here.