Updated: April 24, 2018 at 8:08 p.m.
After three Big West regular season titles, multiple Pac-12 assistant coach job offers, and 11 years of coaching at Long Beach State, associate head coach Rod Palmer will be taking his talents to San Diego State.
The announcement came through the SDSU Athletics page Monday afternoon. It was a difficult decision for Palmer to make because of his gratitude toward head coach Dan Monson.
“It was one of the toughest things I ever had to do,” Palmer told the Daily 49er. “Coach Monson gave me my start in college coaching.”
Monson took a chance by recruiting Palmer in 2007 from Centennial High School in Compton. His risk paid dividends as Palmer proved to be an excellent coach.
Palmer served as an assistant coach under Monson for seven years and was promoted to associate for his final four seasons. In his tenure he helped lead Long Beach to three Big West titles, and recruit NBA-caliber players, James Ennis and Casper Ware.
“I was a little bit sad, but I owe it to my assistants to get better opportunities,” Monson said. “[Palmer has] done so much for me and the program, so I owed it to him.”
This isn’t the first time Palmer has received an offer to coach elsewhere, but it was the first time it felt like the right moment for him. In 2013, UCLA head coach Steve Alford offered him a position on his staff, but Palmer felt loyal to Monson after winning the Big West tournament the previous year.
“We had some players on the team that coach Monson had to let go even though we had just won a championship and I didn’t feel right leaving at that time,” Palmer said. “Instead of me looking into that opportunity, I decided to stay and try to get our program back where it needed to be. [Monson] was the one that came to me with that opportunity because he is very good friends with Steve Alford.”
This time around, Palmer had Monson’s blessing which made it a lot easier to move onto a better opportunity.
“My goal as a coach is to be a head coach and I just think it’s a little easier to be a head coach in a higher conference [Mountain West],” Palmer said.
Long Beach will be losing an associate coach well-known for West Coast recruiting and being an excellent on-floor coach, which can be be problematic in the upcoming season.
While San Diego State and Long Beach State do not share the same conference, Long Beach will suffer if Palmer is able to move local recruits right down the 5 freeway.
It is unsure if current assistant Myke Scholl will be promoted to the associate position, but Long Beach will have to move fast before recruiting season comes to an end.
“I have some guys in mind to add to our staff, but I think we’re in good shape,” Monson said. “I want to find someone that matches our personnel so we have a well-rounded staff.”