VENTURA COLLEGE  

 

 

     In 19 seasons as the head coach at Ventura College, Coach Mircetic has led his teams to unheralded heights.  VC has won 19 consecutive Western State Conference North Division titles and has been victorious nearly 87 percent (564-85) of its games with Mircetic at the helm, including winning over 97 percent (201-5) of its WSC games.  The Pirates won five state championships in seven straight finals appearances (1996 -2002) while making the state final four nine consecutive seasons (1995-2003).  Mircetic's Pirate teams have participated in the state elite eight a record 12 seasons, including the past two State Tournaments.  He has been named the national Coach of the Year once, the State Coach of the Year three times and the WSC Coach of the Year seven times.

 

     Last season Mircetic became the second-winningest coach in California community college womenís basketball history. Among the coaches listed on the top-10 list, Mircetic has the highest winning percentage (.869) and only one other coach has as few seasons on the bench.  Mirceticís five state championships are unmatched in the history of the sport in California, and only two other coaches have won at least two titles.  In 2009 Mircetic was awarded the Russell Athletic-WBCA National JC/CC Coach if the Year Award after being named a finalist for the prestigious national honor the previous season.

 

     In February 2007, the Pirates helped Mircetic make history as he became the fastest coach in college basketball history, at any level, to reach the 500-win plateau.  Later that year he was honored with his induction into the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame.

 

     More importantly, the Pirates have excelled in the classroom under Mircetic's guidance. Following the 2002 state championship, the Pirates were honored as the top academic team in the state by winning the COA State Scholar Team Award. In that year VC posted a team GPA of 3.37 and was the first team in California in any sport to win both the state championship and the scholar team award.

 

     Additionally, the team has been recognized in each of the past five years by the Womenís Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) on their National Academic Honor Roll. VC was ranked #10 following the 2003-04 season,  #8 on the national list for the 2004-05 year, achieved a #16 national ranking in 2005-06.  The Pirates earned a 3.272 GPA, including a phenomenal 3.39 GPA in the spring semester, to earn the #7 ranking on the national honor roll in 2007 before they made it to #6 in 2008 with a 3.344 GPA.  In 2008-09, the Pirates earned their best-ever national showing with GPA's of 3.37 and 3.36 in the fall and spring semesters, respectively, placing second on the national list with a collective GPA of 3.367. 

 

     Mirceticís former players have also excelled individually on and off the court. There have been countless All-WSC performers in addition to 25 All-State honorees. Seven Pirates have been named the state co-player of the year and six have earned All-American honors.

 

     Off the court, 89 Pirate alumnae have matriculated to four-year colleges and universities during Mirceticís tenure, and most of them have received their bachelorís degree. Many have transferred their Ventura College basketball experience into a career, moving to the sidelines themselves. Currently there are more than 10 former VC players coaching at the high school or college level.

 

     During his college days at UCLA, Coach Mircetic witnessed to magic. He spent many nights in Westwood as an usher at Pauley Pavilion watching the Bruins under coach John Wooden toward the end of their magical run of 10 national championships in 12 seasons.  Coach Wooden defined success not in winning and losing, but in "becoming the best you are capable of becoming." This influence on Coach Mircetic and his teams is indelible.

 

     Similar to Wooden, Coach Mirceticís focus has always been on the effort his teams put forth on the court. "Our philosophy, from basic fundamentals through team play, has its foundation in playing hard," said the coach. "It is our trademark and signature. Playing hard identifies who we are as individuals and as a team. Playing hard is more than winning and losing. It means giving your best effort all the time. Playing hard is the most important skill we teach here at Ventura College."

 

     Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1953, Coach Mircetic emigrated to the U.S. with his family via Paris, France in 1960.  He spent many of his formative years in Chicago before moving to southern California in 1967. He played basketball at La Canada High School, graduating in 1971. Mircetic earned his A.A. degree from Glendale College in 1974 and his B.S. degree in kinesiology from UCLA in 1977. He earned his M.Ed. degree with an emphasis in physical education from Azusa Pacific in 1986.

 

     Mircetic started his coaching career at St. Bonaventure High School, coaching the freshman/sophomore and JV boyís teams in 1982 and 1983. He assisted with the menís and womenís teams at Oxnard College from 1983 to 1985 when he joined Phil Mathews as the assistant menís coach at VC.

 

     During the next five seasons (1986-90), Mircetic helped lead the Pirates to a 125-39 (.762) record and five WSC titles. In 1987 the Pirates won the California State Championship, the Collegeís first state title in 35 years, while posting a 31-4 record. Mircetic was named head coach of the womenís team prior to the 1990-91 season.

 

     Believing in the simplicity of the game, as taught by John Wooden, Coach Mircetic has built the program on one phrase, "We Play Hard!" He continues building the program, brick-by-brick, in a never-ending process of excellence focused on fulfillment of individual and team potential, not on winning and losing.

 

     "We encourage our players to give their best effort in everything they do, on and off the court," said Coach Mircetic.

 

     "We Play Hard becomes a way of life and allows our students to achieve their full potential, and therefore achieve success, both on the basketball court and in life."

 

     Coach Mircetic and his wife Kim have been married for 26 years and live in Ventura. They have one daughter, Keeley, 22, who is a student at Cal State Northridge.