Steve Fisher talks retirement, legacy, Kawhi Leonard, and more

In somewhat of a surprise, Steve Fisher announced his decision to retire from college basketball earlier this week. Having won a national championship at the University of Michigan, coaching the Fab Five and then spending 18 seasons at San Diego State, where he turned the program into a west coast power, the long-time head coach said it was time to walk away.

On Thursday, Fisher joined The Jim Rome Show and talked about the timing of his retirement, “I don’t know for sure that you ever know that its time. It’s never black and white.

“My wife Angie and I, the last three years, we’ve talked about do we want to turn it over to Brian Dutcher, and have a little more time for ourselves and be really good fans?” Fisher said. “When the season ended we took a deep breath, we took a week or so before we started talking and we talked with both our sons, Mark who is on staff with us, who I think you know has ALS, and Jay who lives in L.A. and collectively said yes, it is time.

“I’m one of those guys, I’m methodical, but once I make a decision, I never look back and say boy I wish I would have done differently. So I’m very much at ease with the decision we made and excited about what’s next for me and for San Diego State basketball.”

Although Fisher received more national recognition during his time in Ann Arbor, the 72-year-old explained why his legacy will have more to do with his time at San Diego State University.

“I live here now. I’ve spent more time working at San Diego State than I have any place else. I’m going to continue to be a part of San Diego State University. They’re going to keep me on in some capacity to help. I’m always going to have a home here,” Fisher said. “Very proud and we are very much appreciated for what’s happened here, but I said this in our press conference, everywhere I’ve been, I’ve felt so much joy and happiness, from my first high school to Western Michigan to the great times we had at Michigan with great success, but right now, this is home. This is where I want to be. This is where I’m going to be for a lot longer than the 18 years that I’ve put in already.”

Fisher’s most notable player during his time at San Diego State was San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard. The coach talked about the first time he and his staff laid eyes on the soft-spoken Leonard.

“We saw him when he was a sophomore in high school and really started following him then,” Fisher said. “As a junior, he led his team to the state championship, and we’ve sensed that he was something special. People that watched him early on, a lot of folks said well he’s a tweener. He’s not quite big enough to be an inside player, and he’s not quite skilled enough to be a perimeter player, and we saw a player who won. And he’s done that at every level. I don’t think anyone could have imagined what he is now, one of the top 5 players in the world, but he was something special and we had good fortune where he, and maybe more importantly his mother, believed in us and liked us, and in her heart, she said I know this is the best place for my son.”

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