Todd Golden (center) sits on the bench during the University of San Francisco Dons’ basketball game on Jan. 12, 2019 against No. 5 Gonzaga at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, Calif. (Courtesy / Chris M. Leung / USF Dons Athletics)

Golden to add NBA vet as special assistant at USF

Todd Golden to add NBA vet Cartwright as special assistant for USF basketball

SAN FRANCISCO — Sitting atop a the stage at center court at War Memorial Gym, Todd Golden could hardly contain his smile.

On Monday afternoon, the University of San Francisco introduced Golden as the 20th head coach of the Dons’ men’s basketball team. He replaces Kyle Smith, who sat at the helm for the last three seasons.

“It’s truly an honor to be named head men’s basketball coach,” Golden said. “It’s been a long journey in my career.”

Over the last three seasons, Golden has served as the Dons’ recruiting and defensive coordinator under Smith, who was named as the head coach of Washington State last week.

Before that, Golden played for Saint Mary’s in Moraga, where he averaged seven points and 2.6 assists per game during his senior year.

Golden’s coaching career started in 2013 when he accepted an assistant coaching position under Smith at Columbia. The two had built a strong relationship while Smith was an assistant at St. Mary’s during Golden’s playing days.

After a year at Columbia, Golden picked up everything and moved to Alabama to serve as the director of basketball operations under Bruce Pearl at Auburn.

According to Golden, the slew of cross-country moves were difficult on his family but were made possible by his wife, Megan.

“She’s the real reason why I’m in front of you guys today,” Golden said. “She’s supported me in every step of my career and for that I’ll be forever thankful.”

In 2016, Golden came to the University of San Francisco and helped the Dons win 63 games over the last three seasons.

“We’ve won at least 20 games in the last three seasons,” Golden said. “It’s the first time that’s happened since the program came back in the early 80s.”

With Golden now at the helm, the Dons will look to carry on with the foundation of winning that Smith established over the last three seasons.

“When I found out it was coach Golden [who got hired] I was really excited,” Dons junior guard Charles Minlend said. “It’s someone that we’re really familiar with and that we have a great relationship with. That we trust to lead us into the future.”

Golden also announced that former No. 3 overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft Bill Cartwright will be serving as a special assistant on his staff this upcoming season.

“I want him to be as involved in the program as he can be,” Golden said. “I want him to mentor myself and my staff as we move forward… He won’t have an on-the-court coaching role or recruiting role but he will be at practice helping me and my staff out.”

In addition to being a top-three pick in the NBA draft, Cartwright played a total of 14 years in the NBA, including seven seasons with the Chicago Bulls between 1988-94 when the Bulls won three consecutive championships between 91-93.

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