Print RSS

Gary Colson Appointed as Assistant to the President

Memphis, Tennessee, April 30, 2002 - The Grizzlies announced that Gary Colson, one of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I history with more than 500 career wins, will join the Memphis Grizzlies as Assistant to the President of Basketball Operations for the Grizzlies. In his new role, Colson will assist West in leading the team's basketball operations.

"Gary has been involved in coaching at so many different levels, and he has built winners. Plus, I have admired how he has been a successful coach and most recently, as successful administrator in basketball operations," said West. "Personally, I have been close to him for years; and he truly loves the game of basketball. You want someone who you count on through thick and thin, and Gary will be there for this franchise and me."

As a head coach for over 34 seasons, Colson compiled a record of 563-385 at Valdosta State from 1959-68, Pepperdine from 1969-79, New Mexico from 1981-88 and Fresno State from 1991-95. Colson's 563 coaching wins ranks him 34th all-time in Division I history. His best season came in 1984 when New Mexico posted a 24-11 record and in 1994 when Fresno State finished 21-11. In eight seasons at New Mexico, Colson earned Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1984, had five players drafted to the NBA during his tenure including Dennis Johnson and Luc Longley and left the program as the second-winningest coach in school history.

"Well, it took me about 42 years as a coach and administrator to finally join the NBA," said Colson with a laugh. "I am really excited about this opportunity to join the Grizzlies and work closely with Jerry. Not to add any pressure, but I have a feeling that we're going to win. I don't know when but it will happen."

Colson, 68, began his coaching career in Tennessee as an assistant coach at David Lipscomb College in Nashville from 1956-57 before being head coach at Valdosta (Georgia) State in 1958, a position he held until 1968. In his 10 seasons as head coach at Valdosta State, he compiled a record of 188-69. His best season came in 1962, when the team posted an impressive 19-2 record. During his tenure, Valdosta State won eight consecutive Georgia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships (1961-1968).

Colson moved on to serve as the head coach at Pepperdine for 11 seasons (1969-79). He compiled a record of 153-137, and a pair of first round wins in the NCAA Tournament in 1976 and '79. He was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 1976 and '79. From 1971-75, he also served as Pepperdine's Athletic Director. Then he compiled a record of 146-106 at New Mexico from 1981-88. Colson spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of California at Berkeley from 1989-90 before being hired as head coach at Fresno State in 1991.

Most recently, Colson has served as the Associate Director of Athletics at the University of California at Santa Barbara for the last six years. He has also written two books, "California Basketball" and "New Mexico Basketball - The System," covering fundamentals of the game. A former member of two NCAA committees (rules and officiating), Colson helped effectively lobby to bring the three-point shot to college basketball in 1986.

Born April 30, 1934 in Logansport, Ind., Colson graduated from Dasher (Ga.) Bible High School in 1952. He went on to David Lipscomb College, where he was a Dean's List student as a senior. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1956. While at David Lipscomb, Colson was a two-time all-conference selection in basketball. As a senior, he was named the conference's Most Valuable Player.

He is married to the former Mary Katherine Moulten. Gary has three adult children, two sons, Rick and Wade and a daughter, Garianne, from a previous marriage.

Click here to view Press Conference Photos