The Nest!

The Hornets Nest is one of the oldest facilities among all NCAA Division I member universities. With a seating capacity of approximately 1,200, the intimate setting results in a great opportunity for the fans to be close to the action from every seat in the gym. It also provides the Hornets one of the best home-court advantages in the NCAA. In 2002, the Hornet men's basketball team sold out every game in Big Sky Conference play.

Brian Katz

Head Coach

 

In nine seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at Sacramento State, Brian Katz has guided the program to its most success on the Div. I level. That included a 2014-15 season in which the team set numerous school records after finishing 21-12 overall and winning its first postseason game in 53 years. Katz became the 13th men’s basketball coach in program history when he was named to the position on April 10, 2008, and he is now the second longest tenured Hornet hoops coach.

 

A graduate of Sacramento State and a native of Sacramento, Katz’s extensive basketball résumé includes a 41-year career as a basketball coach at the NCAA Div. I, junior college and high school levels. He signed a contract extension in September of 2015 that will keep him at Sacramento State through at least the 2019-20 season.

 

Under Katz, the Hornets defeated three Pac-12 Conference schools over a six-year span, which included road wins at Arizona State (2015), Utah (2012) and Oregon State (2009). The Hornets had gone 56 years without a win over a Pac-10/12 school prior to the 65-63 win at Oregon State.

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Brandon Laird

Associate Head Coach

 

Brandon Laird, who has 16 years of coaching experience under his belt, completed his fifth season as Sacramento State’s associate head coach in 2016-17, and sixth as a member of the Hornet coaching staff (assistant coach in 2011-12).

 

Laird is the program’s recruiting coordinator while also assisting with on-floor coaching, day-to-day player administration, scouting, academics, player development, compliance and offseason workouts.

 

The Hornets have shown major progress since Laird came aboard as evidence by the team improving its conference win total each of his first four years with the program, culminating in the 2014-15 squad posting a 21-12 overall record, a 13-5 mark in the Big Sky Conference, the team’s first postseason appearance in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the program’s first postseason victory in 53 years.

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Chris Walker

Assistant Coach

 

Chris Walker, who played two years for head coach Brian Katz at San Joaquin Delta College followed by two seasons at Oklahoma, completed his fourth season as an assistant coach in 2016-17 after spending the previous two years (2011-13) as the team’s director of operations.

 

Sacramento State increased its conference win total each of his first four seasons on the staff, culminating in the 2014-15 squad posting a 21-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Big Sky Conference while securing the program’s first postseason appearance in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the team’s first postseason victory in 53 years.

 

Sacramento State has also won at least 13 games each of the last five years, the first time that has happened in 43 years when the Hornets ran off seven straight seasons from 1966-73. In addition, the Hornets have won Big Sky Tournament games three consecutive years (2015-17) for the first time ever. Moreover, the team has posted three conference records of .500 or better during Walker’s tenure after the program had done so just twice in 27 years prior to his arrival.

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Nate Smith

Assistant Coach

 

Nate Smith will enter his first season as assistant coach with the program after spending the previous four years (2013-17) as director of basketball operations. The 2017-18 season will mark his seventh year as a member of the staff as Smith was the team manager from 2011-13.

 

Smith was part of a staff that saw the 2014-15 squad post a 21-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Big Sky Conference while securing the program’s first postseason appearance in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the team’s first postseason victory in 53 years.

 

Sacramento State has also won at least 13 games each of the last five years, the first time that has happened in 43 years when the Hornets ran off seven straight seasons from 1966-73. In addition, the Hornets have won Big Sky Tournament games three consecutive years (2015-17) for the first time ever. Moreover, the team has posted three conference records of .500 or better during Smith’s tenure after the program had done so just twice in 27 years prior to his arrival.

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Ajay Riding

Director of Operations

 

Former Fresno State and San Joaquin Delta College player Ajay Riding will enter his ninth season on the Sacramento State coaching staff in 2017-18. His duties with the Hornets include serving as the team’s academic coordinator, team travel, player development and scouting.

 

Sacramento State increased its conference win total each of his first six years on the staff, culminating in the 2014-15 squad posting a 21-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Big Sky Conference while securing the program’s first postseason appearance in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the team’s first postseason victory in 53 years.

 

Sacramento State has also won at least 13 games each of the last five years, the first time that has happened in 43 years when the Hornets ran off seven straight seasons from 1966-73. In addition, the Hornets have won Big Sky Tournament games three consecutive years (2015-17) for the first time ever. Moreover, the team has posted three conference records of .500 or better during Riding’s tenure after the program had done so just twice in 27 years prior to Riding’s arrival.

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