H-SPORTS

Jul 2, 2013 9:05 PM by Andrew Masuda

New associate head coach Fortier gets to work with Mustangs

Just days after being named the associate head coach of the Cal Poly men's basketball program, Paul Fortier arrived on campus this week to assume his new duties with the Mustangs.

Tuesday afternoon, Fortier worked out with sophomore-to-be Brian Bennett, one of the Cal Poly post players he will be charged with overseeing. "I'm just really excited about what he brings to the table and how he can help our program and us individually," said Brian Bennett, a 6-8 center.

Fortier spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington. He was tasked with helping to develop Husky post players, who included future NBA Draft picks in Spencer Hawes, Quincy Pondexter and Jon Brockman. He takes over for former assistant Omar Lowerey, who left the Mustangs in April for San Jose State. Fortier said he was excited to join the winning tradition and culture fifth year head coach Joe Callero built at Cal Poly.

"I just like the way the program is going. He's done a great job. Everybody knows the UCLA win last year. I just feel they're close to taking that next step," said Fortier, who added his experience as a coach and former professional player will have an immediate impact.

"Coach comes in with a lot of experience especially at that higher level, Pac-12 level and hopefully he can get that to come on to us," said senior forward Chris Eversley, who earned All-Big West First Team honors after averaging 15.4 points and 7 rebounds per game as a junior.

Fortier, who stands 6-9, starred at Washington from 1983-1985. He was selected by the Washington Bullets in the fifth round of the 1986 NBA Draft and spent 17 seasons in Europe.

The Mustangs are coming off back-to-back appearances in the Big West Conference Tournament semifinals. They set program records for Big West victories (12-6), conference winning percentage (.667) and a 13-1 mark in the Mott Athletics Center. Cal Poly also made its first-ever postseason berth at the Division I level with an invite to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

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