RIVERSIDE --- California Baptist University Director of Athletics Dr. Micah Parker has announced Rick Croy as the Lancers’ new men’s basketball head coach at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Croy, who becomes the 12th coach in program history, spent the past three years as the lead assistant coach at NCAA Division I St. Mary’s. During his time working under Head Coach Randy Bennett, the Gaels went 80-22 overall, winning two regular-season West Coast Conference championships and making two NCAA Tournament appearances.
“I’m thrilled to announce Rick Croy as our new men’s basketball coach,” said Parker. “We had a tremendous pool of quality applicants but Rick fit everything we were looking for in fit to the university, head coaching experience, NCAA experience and Southern California ties. I’m confident he will help us continue to honor Christ through excellence in athletics.”
Prior to moving to St. Mary’s, Croy spent five years as the head coach at Citrus College in Glendora, Calif. During his stint there, he quickly staked his claim as one of the state’s best junior college coaches compiling a 130-35 record, which included the program’s first-ever state championship in 2008.
He led the Fighting Owls to three straight Western State Conference titles (2008-09-10) and an appearance in the 2010 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Final Four. He was a three-time WSC Coach of the Year, going 92-9 in conference games in that span. Citrus was 35-1 in 2008, 28-5 in 2009 and 29-3 in 2010, the best three-year run in the state.
During his time at Citrus, 13 players moved on to the NCAA Division I level and 97 percent (36 of 37) of his players went on to four-year schools.
“This is a unique opportunity to coach and mentor at a place that I truly believe has unlimited potential,” said Croy. “There are so many great things happening on this campus, and my goal is to build a program that reflects all the other great things going on. I want to build one that everyone can be proud of, and I wouldn’t be leaving St. Mary’s if I didn’t undeniably believe in the vision at CBU.”
Croy’s ties to Riverside run deep. His first ever coaching job was a two-year stint at UC Riverside, working under Head Coach John Masi in 2000 and 2001. He worked the 2002 season as the associate head coach at Concordia University in Irvine under Head Coach Ken Ammann, recruiting the class that went on to win the NAIA National Championship in 2003.
In 2002-03, Croy returned to UC Riverside as the top assistant to Masi for three years before taking the Citrus job. While at UCR, Croy recruited the Big West Freshman of the Year (Nate Carter), the Big West Defensive Player of the Year (Vili Morton) and UCR’s all-time leading scorer (Larry Cunningham).
“I’m extremely grateful to Dr. Ellis, Kent Dacus and Dr. Parker for the opportunity to coach at a special place,” said Croy. “For me, coaching and competing has never been about which level I am at. It’s about being at places that can be successful. The potential here and the people that are already on campus make this a perfect opportunity for my family to settle in and become part of a great place.”
Croy played collegiately at San Francisco State, ranking among the program leaders in five categories, including holding the school record for 3-pointers (167). He is second in games played, third in assists and steals and eighth in scoring. Croy was a three-time All-California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) selection and led SFSU in scoring three straight years.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration in 1999 and a master’s in education/physical education from Azusa Pacific University in 2001. He and his wife, Jamie, who played basketball and volleyball at St. Mary’s, have a daughter (Kayden) and a son (James).
What They Are Saying About Rick Croy:
Randy Bennett – St. Mary’s Head Coach
Rick is a tremendous leader. He does a great job getting everyone around his program to feel included and feel like they are equally important. He has an ability to get his players to buy in, be unselfish and make them realize the team is more important than themselves. He left fingerprints on our program that will stay for years to come. He came in three years ago and didn’t just get comfortable. He kept building and adding to this program. I don't want to see him go but he's really excited about this opportunity. We’re excited for him, we are going to cheer him on and we are going to be big CBU fans now. CBU could not have hired a better guy for the job.
John Masi – former UC Riverside Head Coach
California Baptist University is getting what I call a complete coach. Rick is energetic and knowledgeable of the game. He is a good recruiter, great off the floor and will be great with the kids. He is a family man and a guy who understands the situation he’ll be getting into at CBU.
Ken Ammann – Concordia University—Irvine Head Coach
Rick Croy is the best basketball coach and person I know. He is an inspiring and passionate leader, and CBU will play a special brand of basketball.