Brian Newhall is the winningest coach in school history and enters his 31st season in 2019-20 with a 100% team graduation rate. During his tenure, the Tigers have earned regional and national rankings, produced the only perfect 14-0 record in SCIAC history and triumphed in two NCAA playoff games to reach the NCAA III Elite 8.
Newhall has also served as the athletic department's athletic director, associate athletic director and head tennis coach during his tenure.
Newhall, a 1983 Occidental graduate, endorses the scholar-athlete experience. "I was raised on equal parts Socrates and basketball. My parents were fans of the sound mind-sound body philosophy." True to the tradition, Newhall played point guard for four seasons, garnering a degree in American Studies. "It was a formative experience for me. Some of my lifelong friends were teammates." Team MVP twice and SCIAC Player of the Year, Newhall captained the Tigers to a SCIAC championship his senior year. "Varsity athletes get double-teamed," he laughs. "The coaches and professors both challenge you. The Occidental athlete gets a complete education---on the court, in the residence halls and in the classroom."
As a player-coach in Europe, Newhall added a global outlook to his winning strategy. After two successful seasons in southern France, he returned to Occidental as an assistant coach for Bill Westphal. "Inclination and opportunity converged. It was an ideal scenario---an NBA coach to learn from and the junior-varsity team to coach." Newhall maintains strong international ties, placing numerous players on European Basketball Club Teams.
Continuity and community are benchmarks of Newhall's success. Alumni support is at an all time high. "Staying in touch with my own players and meeting those of earlier generations is one of the rewards of my career." Newhall has reached out to scholar-athletes across six decades of Tiger Basketball. "Their collective achievements are the best recommendation for Occidental." Newhall credits Oxy legend, Coach Grant Dunlap, with "inspiration and guidance" in energizing the alumni network. "It embodies the heart and history of our program." Newhall has expanded Oxy's Hall of Fame to include 29 honorees, dating back to 1935. And the flourishing Alumni Basketball Association Sunday Night League keeps teammates connected and involved with the current program. "Their best shots, now, are e-mails to critique my coaching." What's the coach's lament? "If they care when you win, they care when you lose!"
Newhall, who has an MA in Education, also developed and directs Occidental's acclaimed Youth Basketball Camps. In addition, Newhall lends his coaching talent to the YMCA and AYSO youth sports programs and is an active volunteer with the South Pasadena School District.
Newhall and his wife, Amy, Oxy alum and Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty at Scripps College, have a daughter, Rachel, and the twins, Emily and David.