Hired as the 22nd head coach in the history of the Loyola Marymount University men's basketball program, Steve Aggers was given the task of rebuilding the program in April of 2000. After posting the program's best record to continue a consistent growth process within the program, Aggers was given a two-year contract extension through 2007.
"I am very pleased with the confidence our athletic director and university administration has shown in me," said Aggers, who is 358-343 in 24 years as a collegiate head coach. "It is pleasing to see that our philosophy and vision for the future has been rewarded as we continue our efforts. I love LMU and look forward to making continued positive progress in building a championship program in the West Coast Conference. Our students, the alumni and our fans deserve nothing less."
Aggers was hired with the task to rebuild a program that the year prior finished with just two wins, both coming against non-Division I opponents. Over the course of the past four years the program has made consistent improvement, leading to the Lions' winning record of 15-14, its first in eight seasons.
"Steve has put into place the building blocks that will allow this program to compete for and win the West Coast Conference championship," said LMU Athletics Director Dr. William Husak. "The program has made great strides in each of his last four years in all facets of building a program - recruiting quality student-athletes, emphasis on graduation and academics and a focus on winning a conference championship. We want to compete and win against the nation's best."
The success has come from some of the best freshmen recruiting classes in LMU history as Aggers has stressed building the program based on consistency. The freshmen recruited by Aggers in the last four years hold 27 freshmen records at LMU, the most of any one coach in program history. This past season freshman Damian Martin became just the second first-year player in LMU history to earn a postseason honor as he was named to the WCC All-Freshman team.
"At LMU we are blessed with student-athletes who want to work hard and be part of a team concept which is why we are showing consistent progress in our building efforts," said Aggers. "The University is focused on developing the whole person and doing it with an individualized and personal approach. This is a great asset in attracting top student-athletes and it has really helped us as basketball has become an international game. Our roster reflects that with athletes from Australia, Finland and Brazil. What is interesting is how much at home our student-athletes feel when they come to LMU. The young men believe and understand that we are ready to compete at the highest level."
In addition, Aggers' first recruit, senior Sherman Gay, had one of the best senior seasons since Hank Gathers in 1990. Gay became the first LMU player to earn WCC Defensive Player of the Year as he led the WCC in blocked shots for the second straight year and set the school record with 144 blocks. The senior also became just the 16th player in 97 years of LMU basketball to play in more than 100 games as a Lion. The first-team All-WCC selection finished with 109 games in a Lion uniform. Gay finished 2004 fourth in the WCC in scoring (16.1) and ninth in rebounds (5.9) for the best point-rebound total for a senior since Hank Gathers.
"Each year this program has improved. LMU's basketball program, like the athletics program as a whole, is a rising star," said Husak. "Lions' fans are looking forward to next year and the years to come as Steve Aggers leads this team to national prominence.
"Our staff and players have worked very hard and this contract extension allows us to stick together and continue those efforts in having the kind of consistency that leads to future successes," said Aggers. "LMU, under the direction of President Father (Robert) Lawton, is the premier Catholic university in the west and we are proud to be part of that growth."
Prior to LMU, Aggers, had a phenomenal five-year run at Eastern Washington University. Guiding the Eagles to a share of its first Big Sky Conference title in school history in the 1999-00 season. EWU finished the season at 15-11 overall and 12-4 in conference play. After accomplishing the school's first conference crown, Aggers was named the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year (his second in three seasons), an honor that came on the heels of the prestigious National Association of Basketball Coaches District 13 Coach of the Year award. Aggers joined the company of 14 fellow district winners including the likes of Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), John Chaney (Temple), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Billy Donovan (Florida), Bob Huggins (Cincinnati), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Larry Eustachy (Iowa State) and Mike Montgomery (Stanford).
The winner of more Big Sky conference games than any other coach in Eastern Washington history, Aggers led the Eagles to 32 conference wins in his four seasons. As a member of the Big Sky Conference since 1984, Eastern had won only 34 games without Aggers as its head coach. Since arriving in Cheney, Wash., in 1995, Aggers took the Eagle basketball program from a power ranking of No. 298 to No. 106 in 1999-2000, its highest ranking in EWU history. He guided Eastern to a 32-46 Big Sky record, and 51-82 overall. In his final three seasons, his teams were 41-40 (.506) and 29-19 (.604) in conference play. Aggers left the Eastern Washington program on solid ground as the Eagles advanced to the Big Sky Championship last season.
Well known for his recruiting talents for student-athletes, Aggers has had one academic All-American, 18 academic all-conference selections and 13 all-conference selections the past seven seasons.
Aggers began his collegiate coaching career in 1974 when he accepted the duties as head coach at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, Neb. Spending four seasons at the school (1974-78), Aggers guided the Knights to three 20-plus winning seasons and captured one league title while ranking among the top 10 programs in the country in team defense. His 1974-75 squad shared the NCCAC conference title.
Moving back to his native Laramie, Wyo., during the 1978-79 season, Aggers accepted his first Division I coaching assignment as an assistant under Jim Brandenburg. Spending just one season with the Cowboys, Aggers helped Wyoming finish with an overall record of 15-12 and a 5-7 mark (4th place) in the Western Athletic Conference. While at Wyoming, Aggers established a strong relationship with fellow assistant Tom Asbury.
Aggers left Wyoming after just one season and accepted his second head coaching position in 1979 at the College of the Great Falls in Great Falls, Mont. Aggers spent six seasons with the program (1979-85) and helped the team amass a record of 120-54 (.689). Posting six-consecutive winning seasons, Aggers guided the team to five postseason playoff appearances and captured three conference titles. Twice earning Frontier Conference Coach of the Year accolades, Aggers was also tabbed the District 12 Coach of the Year following the 1981-82 season. In addition to his duties as head basketball coach, Aggers served as the director of athletics and also taught a variety of physical education courses.
In 1985, Aggers took over the head coaching duties at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. Helping to guide the school through its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, Aggers quickly rebuilt the program into a winner. He led Wayne State to four postseason appearances during his five-year tenure (1985-90) and earned NAIA District 11 Coach of the Year honors in 1988-89.
Aggers moved back into the Division I coaching ranks following his stint at Wayne State. Becoming an assistant under Tom Asbury at Pepperdine in 1990, Aggers spent four successful seasons in Malibu (1990-94). Helping to guide the Waves to three 20-plus winning seasons, Aggers played a major role in guiding Pepperdine to three NCAA Tournament berths and one appearance in the NIT. During the four seasons Aggers spent at Pepperdine, the Waves compiled a record of 88-35, and at one point had built a conference winning streak of 38 games.
In 1994, Aggers followed Tom Asbury to Manhattan, Kan., when he accepted the head coaching position at Kansas State. Aggers spent only one season with the Wildcats before accepting the head coaching duties at Eastern Washington University where he was the most successful coach in the program's Division I history.
In addition to his vast array of coaching assignments, Aggers has spent a number of years teaching course work in physical education. Aggers taught classes at Sheridan Junior College (1973-74), Mid-Plains (74-78), Wyoming (78-79), College of the Great Falls (79-85) and at Wayne State (85-90).
A native of Laramie, Wyo., Aggers graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1971 from Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb. While at the school, he was a four-year letterman on the basketball team and was selected to the Outstanding College Athletes of America as a junior and senior. His senior year, Aggers was named to the Nebraska State College Coaches All-Star squad. He continued his education at the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he earned a masters of science degree in education in 1973.
Aggers has been highly visible in the community during each of his coaching stops. Assisting in fund-raising efforts for the Easter Seals and working with the Nebraska Heart Association and served as a committee chairman for the Montana State Special Olympic Games. Aggers was the Big Sky Conference representative on the NABC Division I Congress. Aggers and his wife, Frankie, have a son Erin, and a daughter, Keely.