Golden named to 40 under 40 list

1/25/20: USF MBB vs BYU at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco, CA. Image by Christina Leung for USF Dons Athletics

James Salazar 

Staff Writer 

The Athletic, a subscription-based, sports journalism website, has named USF men’s basketball head coach Todd Golden to its latest 40 under 40 list. This edition of the list focuses on college basketball and features “people in all corners of the sport who are planting in the grass roots, toiling behind the scenes, speaking in front of a camera, or efforting at a desk.”

Golden, 35, began his college basketball career with the Saint Mary’s College Gaels, playing on the team for four years. During his senior season, Golden led the West Coast Conference (WCC) with a 57.4% 3-point field goal percentage and finished his career as the Gaels’ all-time leader in free-throw percentage (85.2%). 

Following his graduation in 2008, Golden played professional basketball overseas for two seasons with Maccabi Haifa in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, Israel’s highest tier of professional basketball. 

In 2012, Golden transitioned to a coaching role as he was named an assistant coach for Columbia University’s men’s basketball team. After two years there, Golden moved to Alabama to work as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Auburn University. 

Golden’s coaching journey eventually led him to USF in 2016, when he arrived at the Hilltop as an assistant coach under former head coach Kyle Smith. Following Smith’s departure in spring 2019 to accept the Washington State University head coaching job, Golden was appointed as the 20th head coach in Dons men’s basketball history. 

During the 2019-20 season, Golden led the Dons to a 22-12 record, tying the 2017-18 squad’s 22-17 record for most victories in a single season since the program was reinstated in the 1985-86 academic year. The 2019-20 campaign also saw the Dons’ notch their fourth consecutive 20-win season.

Finishing fifth overall in the WCC, Golden led the Dons to the semifinals of the WCC men’s basketball tournament. However, the team was eliminated in the semifinals by the Gonzaga University Bulldogs. 

With his 22 wins, Golden became just the fourth head coach in USF history to win at least 20 games in his first season, joining the likes of Kyle Smith (2016-17), Pete Barry (1981-82), and Dan Belluomini (1978-79). 

In an email from USF Athletics, Golden said, “It’s a great honor to be recognized within such an elite group in our game of college basketball.” He added, “The reality is without the success of our student-athletes on and off the floor, and the great work done by our coaching staff, I do not make this list. I am very appreciative for all of their effort and dedication to our program and University.”

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