Fil-Am coach falters in US NCAA debut with UC Riverside
History-making Filipino-American coach Mike Magpayo (L) could not get a win in his first game as head coach of the UC Riverside Highlanders

Fil-Am coach falters in US NCAA debut with UC Riverside

Luisa Morales ( - November 27, 2020 - 2:27pm

MANILA, Philippines – Mike Magpayo, the first-ever US NCAA head coach of Filipino or Asian descent, was unable to notch a win in his first official game as the head coach of UC Riverside.

Going up against an inter-conference opponent in the Pacific Tigers, Magpayo's Highlanders came up short, 60-66, in their first game of the season.

Magpayo recently spoke about his role, not just as a coach but as an inspiration for fellow coaches of Filipino and Asian descent who want to make their mark.

"[Erik] Spoelstra has opened the door for me and I hope I can open the door for other Asian coaches... that's the mission," Magpayo told Sports Illustrated.

However, Magpayo may be looking at some early struggles with UC Riverside considering eliminating the school's athletic program to address financial uncertainties the school is facing amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But the Filipino-American coach believes that the advantages of sports in the life of its students will help the program live on.

"I know it's about dollars and cents and we're in a once-in-a-century pandemic, but I just truly believe in the value of athletics and sports in general," he said.

The first-time coach will have another chance at giving his team their first win with him leading the helm when they face Fresno State on November 30 (December 1, Manila time).

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