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.
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
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
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
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
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
"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.