Jim Saia
Jim Saia

Player Profile
Last College:
Chapman University, '87

Assistant Coach

Year at UCLA:

Jim Saia enters his fourth season as an assistant coach at UCLA.

In 1999, Saia assisted the Bruins to their 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and 20+game winning season (22-9).

Two years ago, Saia helped lead UCLA to its second consecutive 24-win season and to the NCAA 'Sweet 16'.

In his first year on the Bruin staff (1997), Saia helped coach UCLA to the NCAA Midwest Regional final and to the Bruins' third consecutive Pacific-10 crown.

His recruiting prowess has assisted UCLA in landing the nation's No. 1 (1998) and No. 2 (1997) ranked recruiting classes during his first two seasons on the Bruin staff.

Before coming to UCLA, Saia from 1994-96 was the head coach at Columbia College, in Sonora, CA. During his two-year head coaching career at Columbia, a junior college, he led the Claim Jumpers to a 61-10 (87.0) overall record, two Central Valley Conference (CVC) championships and earned two CVC Coach of the Year honors. In 1996, Columbia advanced to the Final 8 in State junior college play and ended the season ranked No. 3 with a 30-5 overall record. Saia's '95 club was rated No. 7 in the State and finished with an overall record of 31-5. His two-year conference mark was 25-3. Every sophomore on his Columbia teams have graduated or have pursued their education at a four-year college. When Saia took over the Columbia program in 1994, the Claim Jumpers had no returning starters and he only had six weeks to recruit a team. His 1994-95 squad, selected for last place in the coaches' preseason poll, finished with a 31-5 overall record.

Prior to his head coaching stint at Columbia, Saia, 35, was an assistant coach at the Div. I level, for Gary Colson at Fresno State (1990-94) in the Big West and Western Athletic Conferences, Tates Locke at Indiana State (1989-90) in the Missouri Valley Conference and Lou Campanelli at California (1988-89) in the Pacific-10 Conference. During his years at Fresno State, the Bulldogs in 1994 were 21-11 overall and advanced to the NIT and in 1991, FSU was runnerup in the Big West Tournament. While at Cal in 1989, the Golden Bears were 20-13 overall and also played in the NIT.

Saia has additional coaching experience with Athletes In Action. In 1994, he was head coach of AIA's USA team and in 1993 he coached AIA's Div. I summer tour squad.

A respected clinician, Saia was director of the Fresno State Camp from 1990-94 and for the last 14 years has toured the country lecturing at clinics about individual offensive and defensive skills.

As a player, Saia's basketball career began at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, CA. In 1981 and '82, Saia's junior and senior prep years and as a teammate of Bruin head coach Steve Lavin, Sir Francis Drake was 65-1 overall and won two California State championships. From 1982-84, he played at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and helped lead the Mustangs to a 20-win season. Saia spent the 1984-85 college season at College of Marin in Kentfield, CA, leading the Mariners to the State Tournament and earning All-Conference honors. He concluded his college career at Chapman University, again on the same squad with Lavin, from 1985-87, earning Best Defensive Player and Coaches Awards.

Born June 15, 1964 in San Francisco, Saia is single.

Career Highlights

  • In 1999, helped lead the Bruins to their 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament and 20+game winning season.
  • In 1998, assisted UCLA to its second consecutive 24-victory season and a berth in the NCAA 'Sweet 16'.
  • In his first year at UCLA (1997), helped coach the Bruins to their third consecutive Pacific-10 title and the NCAA Midwest Regional final.
  • Assisted in bringing to UCLA the nation's No. 1 (1998) and No. 2 (1997) recruiting classes during his first two seasons on the Bruin staff.
  • As head coach at Columbia College (1994-96), guided the Claim Jumpers to a 61-10 overall record, two conference titles and two league Coach of the Year honors.
  • Nine years Div. I coaching experience at UCLA, Fresno State, Indiana State and California.
  • Has served as a head coach for Athletes in Action.