Cal Poly Athletics | Courtesy

Joe Callero coached his last game as men’s basketball head coach on Saturday, March 9 against Blue-Green rivals UC Santa Barbara.

Callero’s decade with Cal Poly sees both highs and lows throughout. From back-to-back winning seasons to their worst winning percentage in Big West Conference play, Mustang News takes a look back at Callero’s time in San Luis Obispo.

Cal Poly Athletics | Courtesy

April 3, 2009

Callero is named the new head coach of the Cal Poly men’s basketball program. Before coming to Cal Poly, Callero coached the Seattle Redhawks from 2001–09, and was the Redhawks’ first coach after transitioning back to Division I.


In his first season, Callero coached the Mustangs to a 5-2 start in Big West Conference action and guides them to the Big West Conference Tournament after being predicted to finish last. The Mustangs also won their first Big West Conference Tournament game in three years against UC Irvine.


Under Callero, the Mustangs record their first winning season in six years, going 18-15 in the regular season. Despite the winning season, Cal Poly finishes with a record of 8-8 in conference play.

Cal Poly Athletics | Courtesy

Nov. 25, 2012

After being down by 18 points in the second half, the Mustangs upset then-No. 11 UCLA to win 70-68. This is the first win over a ranked D-I opponent in program history.


Cal Poly has its best season since transition to Division I, with an 18-14 record and a .563 winning percentage. This is the best winning percentage in the Mustangs history since transitioning to Division I. This will turn out to be the Mustangs’ most recent season with a winning record.

March 20, 2013

The Mustangs make their first appearance in a postseason tournament as a Division I team by competing in the College Insider Tournament. However, the Mustangs are eliminated by Weber State in the round of 32.

Cal Poly Athletics | Courtesy

March 2014

The Mustangs defeat CSUN as the No. 7 seed in the final of the Big West Conference Tournament to secure their first appearance as a D-I team in the NCAA Tournament. Seeded No. 16 in March Madness, the Mustangs win their First Four matchup against fellow 16 seed Texas Southern. Their season comes to an end against No. 1 seed Wichita State.

Feb. 18, 2015

Callero gets his 100th win with the Mustangs after they defeated UC Davis 58-53. This would be the last win of the 2014–15 season for Cal Poly, as they lost their next five games en route to a first-round exit in the Big West Conference Tournament.

File | Mustang News

Feb. 28, 2017

David Nwaba made his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers, and is the first Mustang in the NBA. Nwaba played three seasons with the Mustangs under Callero, and is No. 15 in program history with rebounds with 465. In his three seasons, Nwaba averaged 11.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Jan. – Feb. 2019

Cal Poly begins Big West Conference play with a 1-10 record, with their lone win coming against UC Riverside on the road. The Mustangs go over three weeks without a win in between their January 31 victory against UC Riverside and their February 23 win versus Hawaii.

March 6, 2019

Cal Poly athletics announces that Callero will not be returning as head coach. This decision comes after a 6-23 season, with a 2-14 record in Big West conference play.

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