Howard Fisher enters his 13th season at the helm of COC’s men’s basketball program, having quickly transformed the Cougars into one of the sturdiest programs in the conference. In each of the past eight years, his teams have exceeded preseason expectations, including back-to-back Western State Conference Championships in 2004 and 2005 and another in 2007 as well as Coach of the Year honors during those three campaigns. In 12 seasons with College of the Canyons, Fisher has amassed a 179-173 record.
A passionate coach entering his 24th year overall, Fisher has quickly shaped his basketball program into a conference contender, while also shaping his student-athletes into community role models and well-rounded young men. Fisher’s commitment to recruiting talented individuals with solid character and citizenship has drawn the support of the campus and community, which have come out in great numbers to watch the Cougars. Fisher is only the second coach in COC’s history having followed mentor Lee Smelser’s 31 seasons.
“It’s so important that our student-athletes are good people, work hard and recognize how special this opportunity is at College of the Canyons,” Fisher said. “We have a chance to bring pride and joy to our community.”
Fisher has transformed College of the Canyons into a highly regarded program in the community college ranks. College of the Canyons teams have been known for their attention to detail, hustling play and defensive prowess. COC and Fisher have the strong reputation of transferring quality student-athletes. Several players have received scholarships to four-year colleges. Under Fisher’s tutelage COC has quickly developed the respect of universities and colleges as a place to recruit quality student-athletes.
Fisher has gained valuable international coaching experience representing the United States as head coach in the Maccabi Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2007. He guided his Team USA squad (including former COC Cougar Jeremy Lake) to a silver medal. Fisher also led Team USA to a bronze medal in the 2006 Maccabi Australia International Games in Sydney, Australia, with an 86-51 win over Australia. This was Fisher’s first appearance at the games as a head coach. The team consisted of the nation’s top Jewish collegiate players. His other coaching experiences include assisting Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) during the summer of 2008 at tryout camp for the U. S. squad for the Maccabiah Games in Israel, Herb Brown in (Charlotte Bobcats) 1997 and 2001, and Al Walker (Binghamton University) in 1993. He also coordinated a free-agent camp in 1998 for the Des Moines Dragons of the International Basketball Association, a developmental league in the U.S. and Canada. As an accomplished camp clinician, Fisher has participated in basketball camps across the country.
Fisher has also coached at Los Angeles City College and Whittier College. In 10 seasons as an assistant at the community college level, Fisher contributed to five league titles, participated in the final eight and has helped numerous players matriculate to four-year universities. Fisher got his coaching start at the high school level at his alma mater, University High School in Los Angeles and had additional coaching and administrative experience with American Roundball Corporation in AAU basketball.
As a player, Fisher was a member of the Rhode Island College team that advanced to post-season play. Prior to transferring back east, Fisher played at Los Angeles Pierce College. He also played overseas as a member of an all-star team that traveled to the Far East including China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Fisher holds a master’s of arts degree in exercise science from California State University, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s of arts degree in physical education from Whittier College. Fisher received his associate’s of arts degree from Pierce College.