Hutson out after six years coaching Fresno State Basketball

Fresno State will be on the hunt for a new coach to revitalize the program that is at its lowest point in years.

Justin Hutson has coached his last game for the Bulldogs. 

Hutson said after Thursday’s loss to Utah State in the Mountain West Tournament that he will not be back after six years leading the program. 


Driving the news: Hutson’s announcement came after Fresno State took Utah State to overtime in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. 

  • “I’ve coached my last game here at Fresno State,” Hutson said. 
  • While he won’t run the program anymore, Hutson said during the press conference that he will stay on in a consulting role after his contract expires in April. 
  • Hutson’s exit comes after a report this week revealed that the university tried to fire him last season, only to put that on hold when he alleged that Fresno State discriminated against him because he is Black. 

The backstory: A defensive coach by trade, the Bulldogs consistently ranked as one of top defensive teams in the Mountain West during Hutson’s six-year tenure. 

  • Until this season, the Bulldogs did not rank worse than fifth in points allowed in the conference. 
  • Hutson’s tenure started off on the right track, following up former coach Rodney Terry, who left the program for UTEP. 
  • Fresno State went 23-9 in the 2018-2019 season, finishing third in the Mountain West. Than earned Hutson a one-year extension to the five-year contract he signed when he came to Fresno. 
  • But the ‘Dogs slipped in Hutson’s second season, falling to 11-19 and seventh in the conference and would not ever regain their form during his tenure, only finishing as high as sixth in the Mountain West. 

One last chance: While the Bulldogs limped into the Mountain West Tournament with an 11-20 record, including a 39-point loss at home against Wyoming to wrap up the regular season, Hutson’s Bulldogs shocked the conference by defeating Wyoming in the opening round of the tournament on Wednesday. 

  • That earned the ‘Dogs a date with No. 1 seed Utah State, and the Bulldogs continued their impressive postseason form and nearly knocked the Aggies off on Thursday. 
  • Fresno State pushed Utah State to overtime, but the Aggies went on an 11-0 run to start overtime and held the ‘Dogs scoreless until there was just 50 seconds left in the period, squashing any hopes that Fresno State would go on a Cinderella run to the NCAA Tournament. 

The big picture: Fresno State finishes the season with a 12-21 record, making it four times in Hutson’s six years where the Bulldogs failed to surpass 12 wins. 

  • Before Hutson was hired, Fresno State had only failed to reach 12 wins once since 1989, in the 2012-2013 season when the Bulldogs went 11-19. 
  • Overall, Hutson led Fresno State to a 92-93 record, a 0.497 winning percentage. Terry had a 0.538 winning percentage during his time with Fresno State. 

What they’re saying: Fresno State President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval issued the following statement on Thursday after the game: 

  • “On behalf of Fresno State, I want to thank Coach Hutson for his dedication and commitment in serving as our head basketball coach over the past six seasons. During his tenure, Coach Hutson led the program with integrity and care for his student-athletes. As he transitions from his coaching duties, we thank him for his support of our Bulldog community and appreciate his willingness to continue in a temporary advisory role during the transition.” 
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