Philip Mathews returns for his fourth season on the Husker bench alongside Coach Doc Sadler in 2009-10. Mathews holds a wealth of knowledge after serving as a former college head coach at both the Division I and junior college levels. During his career, Mathews recorded nearly 500 wins as a head coach, and now gives the Huskers another experienced voice to utilize both on the court and during practice sessions.
Mathews returned to the Division I level in 2006-07 as an assistant coach on Sadler's first staff at Nebraska. It was Mathews' first time at the NCAA's highest level since serving as head coach at San Francisco for nine years from 1995 to 2004.
The experience Mathews has provided over the past three years has been vital to the Huskers' success. During that stretch with Mathews assisting Sadler, the Huskers have posted 55 wins and earned a pair of postseason appearances. Each year, NU has improved its win total in Big 12 Conference play, including the first .500 league record in a decade at Nebraska.
Working primarily with the guards, Mathews helped Sadler turn Nebraska into one of the top ballhandling teams in 2008-09. NU ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin with a +5.8 margin. NU was 18th nationally in turnovers per game, averaging a Big 12-low 11.5 turnovers per game. The Husker guards also helped Nebraska post at least 200 3-pointers twice in the past three years, each time ranking among the top five totals in the Husker record book.
Mathews has also helped the Husker point guards become some of the most efficient assistmen in the league. During the past three years, NU's point guard has ranked among the top seven in the Big 12 Conference in assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio. In his first year at NU, Mathews helped senior Charles Richardson Jr. rank second in the Big 12 and 14th nationally in assists per game (5.77) while his 179 assists were third on the Nebraska single-season chart.
In his last stint at the Division I level, Mathews guided the San Francisco Dons program from 1995-96 to 2003-04. His team won at least 16 games in each of his first three seasons and among the early highlights was a 19-11 mark in 1997-98 that led to San Francisco's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 16 years.
Two years later, Mathews again led USF to another 19-win season. Two of his last three squads posted winning overall records and all three finished in the top four in the West Coast Conference standings. He finished his career with a 139-123 record in nine seasons at San Francisco.
Like Sadler, Mathews honed his coaching skills in the junior college ranks. Mathews compiled a combined 349-73 record in 12 years as head coach at the junior college level and his squads won a conference title 11 times during his tenure.
Mathews' first stint as head coach at the junior college level came at Ventura College, where he spent 10 seasons (1986-95) compiling a 298-56 record. His teams won 10 straight Western States Conference titles. Before his arrival, Ventura had not won a league championship in 17 seasons.
All but one of his teams earned at least 20 victories and six times - including each of his last five years in charge - his teams won at least 30 contests. During the 1994-95 campaign, Ventura went 37-1 and ranked second nationally while winning the second California state junior college title under Mathews. Eleven players recruited to Ventura for that season earned Division I scholarships.
Following his stint at San Francisco, Mathews spent the next two seasons as the head coach at San Bernardino Valley College, where he helped the Wolverines to an impressive 51-17 record. In his first season in 2004-05, San Bernardino went 27-5 and won the conference title with a 13-1 record. Mathews' first San Bernardino Valley team saw every player on the roster move on to a four-year school with a scholarship.
Mathews entered the coaching ranks as an assistant at UC Irvine for the 1973 season. He spent the next year at the high school level before returning to Irvine for four years (1975-78). Mathews then served as head coach at Santa Ana Valley High School, where he won two league titles in three years.
Following the 1980-81 campaign, Mathews returned to the college level where he was an assistant for four years at Cal State Fullerton (1982-85) before taking over at Ventura College.
A two-year basketball letterwinner at UC Irvine, Mathews earned his bachelors degree in comparative cultures in 1972 and added a masters degree in education in 1975. Mathews is married to the former Margie Holland. He has four children, Sabrina (40), Akilah (31), Jordan (15) and Jonah (11).