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Aaron Katsuma

Aaron Katsuma is the new assistant coach for the University of New Mexico men's basketball team. Photo Courtesy of Aaron Katsuma.

Men’s Basketball: Aaron Katsuma is excited to be a mile high at The Pit


Aaron Katsuma will be joining the men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. He previously worked for head coach, Richard Pitino, in Minnesota and spent the last five seasons at Colorado State University. Katsuma comes to the University of New Mexico with over a decade of experience.

Katsuma began his career in 2010 at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, as a student manager, according to a UNM press release. It was during this time that Katsuma met Pintino. Four of his seasons at Minnesota were spent working for the Lobos' current head coach.

“It’s been as smooth of a transition as I could have ever imagined,” Katsuma said. “Having worked for him before, I know how coach Pitino operates, I know what he asks of his staff and of players, and so it's been just as smooth of a transition as I could have asked for.”

Since arriving in Albuquerque, Katsuma has been spending time with the players and getting to know them. Katsuma said this helps build the trust that is necessary between a player and coach.

“It’s just spending time with them. It’s getting to know them on a more personal level, ‘cause if they trust you off the court, they’re going to trust you on the court’… getting to know them more as a human … (rather) than just as a basketball player,” Katsuma said.

During a press conference on June 7, returning player, Quinton Webb, discussed Katsuma’s predecessor and Webb’s primary recruiter, former assistant coach, Eric Brown, leaving the team.

“But at the same time, Coach Pitino reached out to me shortly after and let me know, ‘Hey we’re gonna be getting a new coach and there’s nothing to be worried about. He’s gonna be in the gym with you just as much,’” Webb said.

Webb and Katsuma have already begun working together to build their bond as player and coach.

“I call him AK, you know what I’m saying? It's a nickname. He’s already reached out to me and been, ‘Hey whenever you wanna be in the gym, I’m there,’” Webb said.

Working with UNM's basketball team carries a lot of weight with the community and Katsuma said he recognizes the history that comes along with the program. He also knows that Lobos and fans alike have been waiting for a win.

“Meeting everybody in the community – it’s such a special place. So much tradition and history here that you know these fans have been just hungry for a winner,” Katsuma said.

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With The Pit being a legendary college basketball venue, Katsuma is excited to coach at a mile high.

“Fifteen-thousand people in The Pit. Sell-outs, winning, bringing a Mountain West Championship back to Albuquerque – that’s what I’m excited for,” Katsuma said.

Francesca Cicconetti is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @fran_cicconetti

Francesca Cicconetti

 Francesca Cicconetti is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached on Twitter @fran_cicconetti


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