After nine years as a Westmont women’s basketball assistant coach, Tony Newnan has announced that he will be moving on to serve as an assistant coach at UCLA under Cori Close. Close, who played and coached at UC Santa Barbara, was recently named the new head coach of the Bruins.
“The biggest thing that I am going to miss (about Westmont) is the sincere, quality relationships that I have with staff, players, fans and parents,” said Newnan. “It is hard to leave those kinds of quality people that Westmont attracts day in and day out. I have built great relationships over the years. Westmont got deep into my heart.”
“For the last nine years, Tony has been an integral part of the program’s success,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. He has been a constant through three coaching changes. He has brought value to the program through his knowledge of the game, his ability to develop players and in his relationships with the players. He has inspired our athletes to be the best people they can be and to mature as young women. He is going to be missed both by me and by the players. We are all better for the time that he gave to us.”
Newnan was the Warriors longest tenured women’s basketball coach, having served as an assistant under Gregg Afman, Chris Schultz and current head coach Kirsten Moore. During Newnan’s nine years as an assistant, the Warriors posted a record of 164-111 and made five trips to the NAIA National Tournament.
“I learned a lot from each of three coaches I worked with,” said Newnan. “I learned about their coaching styles and their teaching about God. Westmont really opened up my heart to God. It has made an impact on me and hopefully I’ve done the same on a lot of the people who have come through the program.”
Before coming to Westmont, Newnan served as an assistant coach at Oregon State from 2000-01, helping to lead the Beavers to their first postseason appearance (NIT) in six years. Newnan also served as an assistant at UC Santa Barbara, his alma mater from 1993-2000, including serving as associate head coach his final year with the Gauchos.
“The UCLA position gives me a chance to reunite with a good friend,” said Newnan. “Cori Close and I coached together for five years at UCSB and I was on the coaching staff for three years when she was a player at UCSB. UCLA provides an opportunity to compete at one of the highest levels available. I grew up as a kid wanting to go to UCLA. My high school coach gave us daily quotes from John Wooden. He has been my idol of the coaching world since day one.”
“I am excited for the opportunity Tony has,” said Moore. “Cori is an incredible woman who cares most about integrity and character and about developing that in her players. She is going to be a great fit philosophically with Tony.
“This is Cori’s first opportunity as a head coach,” continued Moore. “She has become a great friend of mine as well and I am excited for her. She is going to have a lot of success as a head coach and having Tony alongside her will assist her in being nothing but successful.”
Newnan’s departure creates an opening in the coaching staff as the Warriors move forward.
“The fact that Tony can go from Westmont to a major college program like UCLA speaks to the level of expectation and success that we have held our program to here at Westmont and the level of our competition,” said Moore. “It speaks to the fact that we have done our best at Westmont to provide our student-athletes with the best coaches possible. It will be my intention in finding someone else to join our coaching staff to bring a high level of expectation, ability, skill development and care for the players as Tony did when he was here.”