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Mike Girardi begins his 12th year as the Modesto Junior College Head Women's Basketball Coach, and his 16th season as a head coach in the California Community College system. He was raised in a household where the benefits of a community college were appreciated as his mother, Mary Lou, was a division secretary and his father, Chuck, was a tenured instructor and basketball coach, both at Merced College. After his first recruiting year at MJC, Coach Mike Girardi led the Pirates to the state playoffs and to 22 wins that season. This was after the team had won two games the previous season. This accomplishment was the most improved winning turnaround in one season in all of California for men's or women's community college basketball. He previously was the head men's basketball coach at Napa Valley College and led the team to the state playoffs. One of his student-athletes at NVC earned the California Academic Student-Athlete of the Year Award for Men's Basketball. In 2015, one of his other former men's basketball student-athletes was inducted into the Napa Valley College Athletics Hall of Fame. In Coach Girardi's one season as the head women's basketball coach at Gavilan College, he led the team to an 11-11 record (a large improvement from that program's recent history) with only one returning student-athlete from the previous season. He also has experience as an assistant coach for two years in football and track and field, and one year in men's basketball, at Merced College. It was during that season in men's basketball in which the Blue Devils reached the third round of the state playoffs including a road win over the #2 ranked team in Northern California. He also was an assistant men's basketball coach at Lassen Community College for two seasons where they averaged 22 wins, earned two conference championships and were in the state playoffs. Prior to returning to California to enter the teaching and coaching ranks at the community college level, Mike was an assistant men's basketball coach for two years at his alma mater, Rice University, in Houston, Texas. One of those teams finished 2nd in the Southwest Conference and won their opening round game of the postseason NIT on the road by defeating the host University Of Wisconsin.
Mike is a graduate of Merced High School in Merced, California where he started on the varsity basketball team for three years. He was the first of three high school All-Americans in boys basketball history at Merced High School. Mike was named MVP of the Central California Conference and earned All-State and All-American honors. During his senior season he played for first year varsity Head Coach Vince Clemons, a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame member, who led the Bears to new heights becoming one of the winningest high school programs in California in his 20 seasons at the helm. After high school, Mike signed a full NCAA Division One scholarship with BYU, which was ranked #16 in the nation at the time. He chose to return to Merced to play for his father, Chuck, at Merced College. Chuck was a successful, veteran coach who was going to be the head coach for one year for the Blue Devils before retiring from coaching. The team went on to win 23 games and a Central Valley Conference championship and Mike was named 1st Team All-Conference and an Academic All-American. He then transferred to Rice University where he contributed to his team’s road wins over Southwest Conference opponents who made the NCAA Tournament such as University of Houston (who had five returners from two Final Four teams), University of Texas, Texas A & M, and Baylor. At the end of his career, he ranked 1st at Rice and 5th in the Southwest Conference in 3 point field goal percentage. He won the team’s Coaches Award and made two game winning buzzer beater jump shots at Rice. One was an 18 footer to defeat Southeast Louisiana University and the other was a 35 footer to defeat the host University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Coach Girardi is very thankful for all of the basketball coaches he has learned from on the national level and the local level, including every coach he played for on every team. That begins with his father, Chuck, who was a standout men's basketball student-athlete at Fresno State where he led the team in free throw percentage and made the game winning 20 foot shot to beat rival San Jose State in 1950. Chuck's head coach there was Dutch Warmerdam, who is known for setting the world record in the pole vault among many other accomplishments. They met when they served on the same ship in the United States Navy during World War II. Chuck started his coaching career in his home state of South Dakota where his team went on to win the state championship. He returned to Fresno to coach Roosevelt High School where he organized the first Holiday Invitational Tournament (a 16 team tournament that is still running strong today) in which his team won the inaugural title in 1959. Currently, he is one of a few coaches who have won two or more HIT titles. At Roosevelt, he coached a high school All-American who signed a full scholarship to Cal Berkeley, the recent NCAA Champions during that time. Due to his father's efforts and connections, Mike learned from many nationally respected coaches as well, one of them being Coach John Wooden who they visited with in his Los Angeles home and Westwood office throughout the 1970's which included the era of his final UCLA NCAA Championship in 1975. Coach Wooden was generous to countless people in this regard but nonetheless the Girardi's were very appreciative to learn so much about basketball and life in these individual meetings. Other internationally known coaches who have been family friends and mentors to Mike are Coach Ron Adams, current assistant coach for the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors and retired NBA assistant coach Bob Kloppenburg.
Mike earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Rice University. He also earned his Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Physical Education from The University of Kansas. In addition to coaching the MJC Women’s Basketball team, Mike also enjoys teaching full-time in the PRHE Division and serving on committees at MJC. He is married to Cristi, who is in the Merced College Athletics Hall of Fame. She is the only women's basketball player in school history to be named the Co-Player of the Year for the state of California and the only one to be named the MVP of two 16 team tournaments (De Anza and Sequoias).