Azain Inducted into Court of Champions

Submitted by: Ron Smith - June 10th, 2016

 

Jeff Azain (left) as he is inducted into the Santa Barbara Court of Champions. John Moore (right) was the master of ceremonies.

Jeff Azain (left) as he is inducted into the Santa Barbara Court of Champions. John Moore (right) was the master of ceremonies.

Westmont Men’s Basketball assistant coach Jeff Azain has been inducted into the Santa Barbara Court of Champions. Azain’s connections to the Santa Barbara basketball community include playing high school basketball at San Marcos High School, playing at Westmont and coaching at Westmont for the past 25 years.

“I’ve been fortunate to stay in Santa Barbara and be part of athletics and basketball for so long,” said Azain. “I feel blessed to have been able to play high school basketball here and then move on to college. There is probably not a long list of people who have been able to do that. I consider myself lucky to have had that experience for so long.”

Azain was joined in the 2016 induction class by Westmont alumnus Dave Bregante who is the head coach at Santa Barbara High School. The Dons won the 2016 CIF-Southern Section Division 2A title by defeating Lynwood 75-65 in the championship game.

Azain and Bregante join a number of Santa Barbara Court of Champion inductees with Westmont connections including former head coach Chet Kammerer and assistant coach Randy Pfund; current head coaches John Moore and Kirsten Moore; former player Tugce Canitez and writer/director Ron Shelton.

“It was a very nice honor to be included with the greats of Santa Barbara,” said Azain, “from NBA players to coaches to community players.”

Azain played for the San Marcos Royals during the years of the “Runnin’ Royals” that reached the CIF-Southern Section Championship game. A late rally by Long Beach Poly kept the Royals from claiming the championship, but the team that was coached by Maury Halleck is long remembered as the most successful in San Marcos history. For his part in that success, Azain was inducted to the San Marcos Hall of Fame.

After graduating from San Marcos, Azain attended Cal State Northridge. After playing a year from the Matadors, Azain transferred to Westmont where he played for the next two and one-half years (1983-86).

“Part of the reason I transferred back was to be closer to family and friends and be able to look up in the stands and see mom, dad and other people who followed me in high school,” said Azain. “You really can’t measure the value of being able to play in front of people who have supported you for so long.”

As a Warrior, Azain was a part of the 1984 team that reached the NAIA National Championship semifinals.

His impact is still reflected in the Westmont record books. Azain is the Warrior record holder in season field goal percentage at .676 (92 of 136), which he set in his senior season, and ranks second in career field goal percentage at .611 (245 of 401).

“I played for Chet Kammerer who I thought was not just a great coach, but a great man,” said Azain “To give back to the basketball program from the life lessons I learned from Chet is something that means a lot to me and is something I wanted to do. I felt I grew so much not just as a player but as a person under his coaching. To be able to give a small portion of that back to players I get to coach in this program means a lot. It is something that is near to my heart.”

Since 1991, Azain has done just that. He was first named an assistant coach under Kammerer and has worked alongside John Moore since 1993.

“Jeff is a Warrior tried and true,” said Moore, who also served as master of ceremonies at the Court of Champions induction event. “The stability he brings to our program has been key to our success. I don’t think there are a lot of programs where if the head coach had to step away, there wouldn’t be a drop-off at all. And I think that in our case that would certainly be the circumstance. I have an incredible amount of faith in Jeff.”