The Saint Martin's Athletic Department announced the hiring of Aaron Landon as the 16th head coach in Saints' men's basketball history. The hiring comes after previous head coach Alex Pribble departed for Division-I Seattle U earlier this month.
"We are thrilled with the hiring of Aaron to be our head men's basketball coach at SMU," said athletic director Bob Grisham. "I have watched as he took an SPSCC program with minimal success over the years and developed it into a perennial Northwest Athletic Conference contender with four straight 20-plus win seasons and championships."
"I want to start off by thanking president Roy Heynderickx, vice president Cecelia Loveless, athletic director Bob Grisham, and the board of trustees for the opportunity and responsibility to lead Saint Martin's into the future," expressed Landon.
Landon comes to Saint Martin's after coaching six seasons at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington. At SPSCC, Landon compiled a record of 102-68 and over the last four seasons, the Clippers went 93-26. He became the winningest coach in program history and was named the NWAC West Region Coach of the Year three consecutive seasons.
"We look at Aaron as a coach who will come in and take the foundation of success that has been established these last four years, build on that, and take us to the next level in in the future," said Grisham. "We are confident in our program and in Aaron that we can compete regularly for GNAC championships."
"As somebody who has lived in Thurston county for six years, I've spent a lot of time here at Saint Martin's, watching games, and watching a program grow," said Landon. "It's been incredible to see the transformation, and I'm excited to build on that momentum and carry us into the future. I have great admiration for coach Pribble and what his teams were able to accomplish here. They set a high standard, and as somebody who has sustained excellence, I know how much work goes into that."
The Clippers were ranked in the top five NWAC Coaches Poll from 2016 to 2019 and won three consecutive NWAC West Region Championships. South Puget Sound reached the postseason each of the last four seasons, earning three number one seeds, and making runs to the quarterfinals twice. Landon helped coach the Clippers to a regular season home court winning streak of 23 games, which dates from December 1, 2017 and is still active to this day.
Before Landon took over the SPSCC program in 2013, he was an assistant coach at GNAC school Concordia (Ore.) for two seasons. Landon was in charge of recruiting, and helped coach the Cavaliers to their first winning season since 2007. Before his stop in Portland, Landon coached high school basketball in California at Marina High School from 2008-2011. His first coaching experience came at Santa Monica College in California in 2007.
"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity that I had at South Puget Sound and what we were able to accomplish there," stated Landon. "I feel really fortunate to be a part of this community. It means a lot to me and I know it will mean a lot to my peers in the junior college ranks that there's a great university with high academic standards, and great tradition that believes in junior college players, and building a coaching staff."
Landon's playing career started at Monterey Peninsula College from 2003-2005, before transferring to Division-III University of La Verne for his final two seasons. He graduated from University of La Verne in 2007 with a degree in Political Science.
Landon inherits a Saint Martin's team that is coming off the most successful run in program history. Over the last two seasons, the Saints went 51-14, their first ever GNAC regular season championship, and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. SMU knocked off both Concordia (Calif.) and Seattle Pacific to reach their first ever Sweet 16 last season. Saint Martin's was led by All-Conference players like Chandler Redix, EJ Boyce, Jordan Kitchen, and All-Region guard Luke Chavez, who Landon was very familiar with. Chavez played for Landon at SPSCC for one season before Chavez transferred to Saint Martin's.
"His teams are known for playing hard and working together and being aggressive offensively which will make for an exciting brand of basketball at SMU," added Grisham. "He is respected among his peers and more importantly, by the student athletes he has coached and mentored. We can't wait to see him lead the future of Saints' basketball!"
"It's been an incredible week and a really exciting process for me and my family," said Landon, who lives in Olympia with his wife Samantha and his daughter Kennedy. "Now that I'm here, I'm ready to get to work."