Gary Stewart begins his eighth year as head coach at UC Davis and his 18th year overall as a collegiate head coach. In becoming Aggie men's basketball's 22nd head coach, Stewart brought nearly 30 years of experience as a highly respected and decorated student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach.
Throughout his tenure with the Aggie program, Stewart has continued a tradition of academic and athletic success and continues to leave an indelible mark on UC Davis basketball. Notably, he guided the program through the university's transtion from Division II to Division I membership. In 2007-08, the Aggies began their first year as an official member of Div. I and the Big West Conference. With that move, Stewart owns the unique distinction of having served as a head coach at every level of NCAA basketball.
On January 15, 2009, Stewart achieved yet another milestone in his coaching career, posting his 200th victory with the Aggies' 85-74 win over Cal State Fullerton. Less than two months later, his career was honored as he earned induction into the University of La Verne Athletics Hall of Fame.
Then in May, Stewart became one of 14 charter appointments to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Ethics Coalition, an organization charged with identifying key rules and issues that challenge the coaching community in making ethical decisions.
A BUSY OFFSEASON
Stewart's efforts to represent UC Davis basketball continues long after the final buzzer of the playing season. In each of the 2008 and 2009 summers, he has traveled to the Middle East as part of the United Service Organization's (USO) "Operation Hoop Talk."
In July of 2009, mere weeks after his first visit to Iraq and Kuwait, Stewart was one of four coaches to serve as a court coach at the USA Men's U18 Team Trials in Washington, D.C. That summer concluded when he took the Aggies on a 10-day tour of Europe where the team took part in plenty of sightseeing as well as four games against various national teams. While there, the Aggies visited France, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco.
MAKING HIS MARK
Stewart made an immediate impact on the Aggie program in 2003-04. Taking over a team that finished three games under .500 the previous season, he guided UC Davis to an 18-9 record and a 15-7 mark in the Division II powerhouse California Collegiate Athletic Association. Since that time, Stewart's teams continued the D-I reclassification period that ended with the 2006-07 season. During those transition seasons, the team competed against some of the elite programs in Division I. A lasting memory for Aggie fans was created in 2005-06 when Stewart led UC Davis, then in its third year of the D-I reclassification, to a 64-58 upset of Stanford at home at The Pavilion. Other marquee match-ups have included games at UCLA, Texas, Louisville, New Mexico State and Nevada. The Aggies have also taken part in the CBE Classic when it played first and second round games at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
In all, the Aggies won more games than any other four-year transition program with Stewart at the helm. The team's success included averaging double-figures in wins from 2003-04 through the final transition year in 2006-07. As part of the reclassification during those four years, the Aggies were not eligible for post-season consideration.
In the summer of 2006, Stewart added another accolade to his career by being named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Board of Directors. He joined such coaches as Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Tubby Smith (Minnesota), Bill Self (Kansas), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Mike Brey (Notre Dame) and Bo Ryan (Wisconsin) in this highly regarded role.
EXPERIENCE AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS
Stewart came to UC Davis from UCLA, where he assisted Steve Lavin as director of basketball services during the 2002-03 season. His duties with the Bruins included recruiting, promotions, compliance and community relations.
Before his stint at UCLA, Stewart served as an assistant coach at Washington State for three seasons, where he was involved in all aspects of the Cougar basketball program. During his tenure in Pullman, Stewart worked with the staffs of the 2001, 2002 and 2003 NCAA Final Four Youth Education through Sports (YES) clinics. In all, Stewart has been a part of six YES clinics. He capped his WSU career by being chosen as an assistant coach to Izzo for the 2002 NABC All-Star Game. Stewart also assisted Maryland head coach Gary Williams on the NABC All-Star staff in 2003, then worked alongside Basketball Hall of Famers Boeheim in 2004 and Jim Calhoun (Connecticut) in 2005. In addition, he worked with Bruce Weber (Illinois) in 2006 and John Brady (LSU) in 2007.
Stewart spent the 1997-98 season at yet another UC program, UC Santa Barbara, as an assistant coach to Jerry Pimm. During that one year, he was honored by Dunk Magazine as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
A PROGRAM ARCHITECT
Stewart's ability to make an immediate impact on a program did not start at UC Davis. It's a pattern of success that has followed him throughout his career. In his first head coaching stint, he guided La Verne, his alma mater, from last place to first in a matter of three years. He remains the only coach in La Verne history to lead his team to a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title or a berth in the NCAA Div. III Championship. Additionally, he ranks second all-time at La Verne with 116 wins during his eight-year tenure.
Following ULV, Stewart worked his magic again when he took over at Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay). The program had gone 22-79 in the four seasons prior to Stewart's arrival. Just two years later, the Pioneers set a school record for wins in the Northern California Athletic Conference and captured a share (with UC Davis) of the NCAC title. Again, he guided a team from last to first place - this time in just two years. For his part, Stewart was named NCAC Co-Coach of the Year and was a nominee for NABC District Coach of the Year honors. Furthermore, the Oakland Tribune selected him as Bay Area Men's College Coach of the Year for all divisions.
In his first 10 years as a collegiate head coach - eight at La Verne, two at Cal State Hayward - Stewart took home four conference championships.
THE SEEDS OF SUCCESS
Stewart graduated from La Verne in 1984 with a degree in physical education following a highly distinguished playing career. He earned All-SCIAC distinction all four years and All-District VIII honors in each of his last three seasons. A three-year team captain, Stewart finished his career ranked among the Leopards' top 10 in numerous statistical categories. He captured the SCIAC's Ted Ducey Award, bestowed upon one senior who best exemplifies outstanding achievement in academics, athletics, leadership and sportsmanship. Additionally, he was the 1984 recipient of the Anthony P. Scafani Sportsman of the Year Award.
In 2002, his careers as both a student-athlete and coach were recognized once again as he was honored as a Distinguished Graduate during the university's 75th Diamond Jubilee festivities.
After his undergraduate career, Stewart began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Long Beach State from 1984 to 1986, during which time he began work toward his master's degree. Stewart continued his graduate studies during his coaching career at La Verne, completing his master's of arts degree in education in 1995.
Stewart continues to be heavily involved as an educator. In addition to his coaching duties at UC Davis, he serves as a lecturer in the exercise biology department. Among the courses he has taught is Ethical Issues In College Athletics. Additionally, he has been on the editorial advisory board for the magazine Winning Hoops since 2003.
He enters his fourth season serving on the NABC Ethics Committee, where he joins John Beilein (Michigan), Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) and Bill Self (Kansas). Stewart is also in his third year as a member of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Regional Advisory Committee. This year, he begins his second season as a member of the voting panel for the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 poll. He served as the chair of the UC Davis Coaches Advisory Committee in 2007-08.
A MODEL CITIZEN
Throughout his career, Stewart has also garnered such awards as The Outstanding Young Men of America Award (1984), Who's Who Among Black Americans (1989), Who's Who Among Rising Young Americans (1990) and a UC Davis Community Service Award (2005 and 2006). He also is or has been a member of the NABC Assistant Coaches Board of Directors, the Black Coaches Association (BCA) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
Stewart remains active in the community. He has previously served or currently serves on the boards of directors for the City of Hope Cancer Center (Duarte, Calif.), the East Oakland Youth Foundation, the United Way and the ALS Foundation. Stewart also developed the Free Throws For Heroes program for 9/11 relief, which was adopted by the NABC. He continues to volunteer with the Special Olympics, bringing along the entire Aggie team to the effort in the spring of 2006. During the fall of 2005, Stewart and the Aggie men's basketball program spearheaded an effort to raise relief funds for the American Red Cross in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. His team's efforts were among 12 groups honored at UC Davis' annual Community Service Awards reception the following May. Stewart has twice been honored with the UC Davis Community Service Award and, in 2008, the Diversity and Principles of Community Achievement Recognition Award.