College of the Canyons men’s basketball coach Howard Fisher recently won his 300th career game, as the Cougars took the 14th Annual “Clash at Canyons” tip-off event with an 84-76 day-two victory over Oxnard College on Nov. 5.
Fisher ended the 2021-22 campaign with 298 wins on his resume and quickly reached the new milestone with back-to-back wins over Cuyamaca College in the Cougars’ season opener before following up with the victory over Oxnard.
The home tourney win was the second in as many years for the Cougars, having also won the 2021-22 edition of the annual tip-off event.
“I’m extremely proud to have reached this milestone,” said Fisher. “But more than anything I’m thankful for all the relationships I’ve had the opportunity to form with the many talented players, dedicated assistant coaches and athletics support staff who have contributed to our program’s success.”
Fisher is in his 23rd year and 22nd season leading the men’s basketball program (the Cougars did not compete in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 cancellations).
He is only the second men’s basketball coach in college history, having followed former head coach, and mentor, Lee Smelser, who headed the program for its first 31 seasons. The 2022-23 season represents Fisher’s 32nd year overall with the Cougars’ program, having also served as an assistant coach under Smelser.
Under Fisher’s guidance the Cougars have won the Western State Conference South Division Championship four times (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2013) with the longtime head coach earning conference Coach of the Year honors in each of those seasons.
Along the way, Fisher has seen 44 players earn All-WSC First-Team honors with four being named the WSC, South Division Player of the Year, and nine earning All-State Team honors. More than 80 former Canyons players have transferred on to four-year schools.
Fisher has also garnered success on the international level. In 2017, he coached the USA Youth Men’s Basketball team to a Gold Medal at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Prior to his gold-medal-winning experience, Fisher represented the United States as head coach in the Maccabi Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2007, guiding his Team USA squad to a silver medal. Fisher also led Team USA to a bronze medal in the 2006 Maccabi Australia International Games in Sydney, Australia.
“My family also deserves a great deal of credit for this milestone,” added Fisher. “The ability to tolerate the ups and downs of a basketball coach’s career, along with their continued support at games, both home and away, has made all the difference.”
On Nov. 5, COC trailed Oxnard by 11 points at the break but came storming back in the second half behind 17 points from sophomore Dillon Barrientos, who was later named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Canyons sophomore Andrew Henderson scored 16 points off the bench on a 7-of-13 shooting night. Quincy Arms added 14 points and Jonah El-Farra, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, pulled down 14 rebounds and scored 11 points to help propel the Cougars. Jimmy Galgano also finished in double digits with 12 points and five rebounds.
Canyons (2-0) began the season as the No. 20 ranked team in the Southern California Region according to the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association pre-season poll.