When he steps in to lead the Santa Monica College (SMC) Corsairs menís basketball team next season, Jesse Teplitzky will take on the on-court duties of a head coach for the first time.

Santa Monica College athletics director Rhonda Hyatt announced Thursday, March 29th, that Teplitzky, who has worked as an assistant collegiate basketball coach in Denver and Northern California, will take over as SMC menís head coach starting Monday, April 16th.

Teplitzky will succeed Trevor Shickman, who coached the Corsairs menís team for three seasons after former longtime head coach John McMullen retired in 2004.

Teplitzky had served as an interim head coach at Chabot Community College in Hayward for about four months during the off-season in 2005, but he says the part-time SMC position will be his first permanent job as head coach.

ìIt will be my first experience calling time-outs,î Teplitzky said.

The 29-year-old Teplitzky called his new SMC position a good opportunity both professionally and personally, and said he was excited to become a head coach at the collegiate level.

ìTo be a head coach at the college level at a really young age is a great opportunity,î said Teplitzky, who is originally from Denver.

Aside from his responsibilities as head menís basketball coach, Teplitzky will also teach various physical education classes at SMC.

Hyatt said SMC received numerous applications for the head coach position and the selection committee established strong criteria for choosing a candidate, including communication, teaching and coaching style.

The committee wanted to make sure that the new coach would be a ìgood fitî for the campus and the students, Hyatt said.

ìWeíre delighted with the selection,î Hyatt said of Teplitzky. ìWeíre thrilled that we found someone who meets all of the criteria and who has a good coaching pedigree.î

Among the factors in selecting Teplitzky for the position were his background as an assistant collegiate coach, as well as his passion and ìdynamic personality,î Hyatt said. She added that former coach McMullen, who coached the Corsairs for 24 seasons and won more than 500 games, was also a key factor in helping to select Teplitzky.

McMullen, a Community College Basketball Hall of Fame honoree, said he was impressed with the new coachís background and knowledge of the game.

Teplitzky began his coaching career in 1998 at Metro State University in Denver, where he served as an assistant coach under Mike Dunlap, who is currently with the Denver Nuggets. Metro State captured two NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division II Championships while Teplitzky was on staff, in 2000 and 2002.

He then became assistant coach at Ohlone Community College in Fremont in 2002, serving for three seasons. The menís program won the Coast Conference North Championship two out of the three seasons Teplitzky was on staff.

At Chabot Community College, Teplitzky served as assistant coach under Denny Aye for two seasons and held the interim head coaching job for a few months in 2005.

The opportunity to become a head coach was a big reason Teplitzky decided to come to Santa Monica, as well as the beautiful location, he said.

As head coach at SMC, Teplitzky said he is also looking forward to recruiting talented players from the Los Angeles area.

Teplitzky will take over an SMC menís squad that finished with an overall record of 11-16 this past season and a 4-8 record in Western State Conference play.

He noted that the team has a ìnice core of players returningî next season, but added that he hasnít set his sights on a certain number of wins for the Corsairs to earn next year.

ìIíd like to really focus on the day-to-day process of becoming a winning program,î Teplitzky said.

Hyatt said she expects that Teplitzky will be able to take the Corsair menís basketball program in a new direction.

ìI think he will restore a little vitality and enthusiasm to the program,î Hyatt said. ìIíd like to see us get back in the mix and to being competitive, and I think heíll be able to do that right away.î