Jeff Golden's photos of the Waves-Gaels contest at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Photos by Jeff Golden and Zac Prange of the Waves' 89-71 win over the Bulldogs.
Photos by Stephen Wandzura of the Waves' 76-69 victory.
Waves Drop Back and Forth Game at Utah :: Dec. 7, 2010
Martin A. Folb's photos of the Waves-Bruins matchup in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Pauley Pavilion.
No one was part of more successful seasons in the history of Pepperdine men's basketball than Tom Asbury, who spent 18 seasons in Malibu. He was the head coach on two different occasions for a total of nine years before announcing his retirement following the 2010-11 season.
In earlier days, Asbury was at Pepperdine for 15 seasons (with 11 postseason appearances) -- the first nine as an assistant coach (1980-88) and then the next six as the head coach (1989-94). He then served as head coach at Kansas State from 1995-2000 and was an assistant coach at Alabama from 2004-07 before returning to Pepperdine a second time as head coach, and he spent three more years (2009-11) with the Waves.
Asbury posted a 238-215 (.525) record in 15 seasons as a college head coach, and was 153-127 (.546) at Pepperdine.
Asbury went 125-59 (.679) in his first six seasons as head coach of the Waves, who went to the postseason five times in that span with three NCAA Tournament appearances (1991, '92, '94) and two berths in the NIT (1989, '93). Pepperdine won three regular-season West Coast Conference titles, finished no worse than second in any of the six seasons and compiled a league record of 66-18 (.786). Pepperdine's only three WCC Tournament championships have come under Asbury.
The 125 victories marked the best six-season win total in Pepperdine's history since 1951.
The Waves had four 20-win seasons with Asbury at the helm, including a high of 24 wins in 1991-92, a season in which Pepperdine also went a perfect 14-0 in the WCC. In fact, Pepperdine established a conference record by winning 32 consecutive league games from 1991-93 (38 straight including WCC Tournament games). Asbury was named WCC Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992.
Firestone Fieldhouse was a particularly tough place for Pepperdine opponents during Asbury's first tenure, as the Waves went 60-17 (.779) in home games.
Asbury served as Pepperdine's lead assistant coach for nine seasons (1980-88) under Jim Harrick before becoming head coach. During those nine years, the Waves went 167-97 (.633) and went to the NCAA Tournament four times and the NIT twice.
When Harrick left for UCLA in April 1988, Asbury was the obvious choice to replace him. Asbury proceeded to direct the 1988-89 Waves to a 20-13 record. Pepperdine finished in a second-place tie in the WCC standings and notched its first postseason victory since 1982 when the Waves posted an 84-69 win at New Mexico State in a first-round NIT contest.
Pepperdine started slowly during the 1989-90 season but rallied during the second half of the campaign. The Waves won eight of their last nine, including a record-setting 131-123 homecourt win over nationally ranked Loyola Marymount. Pepperdine was hoping for a rematch with the Lions in the championship game of the WCC Tournament, but that never materialized following the death of Hank Gathers and the cancellation of the tournament. The Waves posted a 17-11 record and a second-place finish in the WCC, but unfortunately were left out of the postseason for the only time during Asbury's tenure.
Despite a relatively inexperienced roster and a rugged non-conference schedule, the 1990-91 team jelled into a strong, cohesive unit. Pepperdine concluded league play in first place with a 13-1 record and finished a memorable 16-game winning streak by defeating Saint Mary's in the championship of the WCC Tournament -- a first-time accomplishment for the Waves. Pepperdine advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1986 to face Seton Hall. Asbury was tabbed the District 15 and WCC Coach of the Year as the Waves went 22-9 overall. Doug Christie earned All-American honors and was the WCC Player of the Year.
During the 1991-92 season, Pepperdine rolled through WCC play with a perfect 14-0 mark. The Waves captured their second straight WCC Tournament title by beating Gonzaga in the final, and advanced to play Memphis State in the NCAA Tournament. The Waves posted an overall record of 24-7 and won 17 of their final 19 outings. Christie repeated as an All-American and as the WCC Player of the Year, and Asbury was named WCC Coach of the Year for the second time.
In 1992-93, the Waves extended their winning streak against conference opponents to a league-record 38 games, and though the streak came to an end, Asbury still led Pepperdine to its third straight WCC regular-season title. A loss to Santa Clara in the championship of the WCC Tournament sent the Waves to the NIT, where they defeated UC Santa Barbara in the first round. Pepperdine finished with a 23-8 record. Dana Jones earned WCC Player of the Year honors.
Asbury returned the Waves to the NCAA Tournament in his final season of 1993-94. After tying for second place in the WCC's regular season, Pepperdine rallied to win the WCC Tournament and defeated San Diego in the final. The Waves lost an overtime heartbreaker to Michigan in the NCAAs and ended the season with a 19-11 record.
Asbury was noted as one of the nation's top recruiters by Basketball Times during his earlier years at Pepperdine. He was also the head coach of the West Team at the 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival.
After leaving Pepperdine for Kansas State, Asbury led the Wildcats to an 85-88 (.491) record over six seasons (1995-2000), which included a spot in the 1996 NCAA Tournament and the 1998 and 1999 NITs. His 1998-99 team won 20 games and led the nation in field goal percentage defense (.371).
After spending a few years in private business, Asbury returned to coaching in 2003 when he joined Mark Gottfried's staff at Alabama as an assistant coach. He spent four years there (2004-07) before stepping down. He helped the Crimson Tide to a record of 82-46 (.641), which included three 20-win seasons, three NCAA Tournaments and one NIT bid. The 2004 Alabama squad advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Pepperdine basketball hit rocky times during Asbury's absence, and he was brought back prior to the 2008-09 season to restore order and build a foundation so that the program could begin the process of reaching its previous levels of success. Asbury inherited a program that was facing sanctions from the NCAA due to its Academic Progress Rate, and nearly an entire new roster of players had to be recruited.
Though the Waves went 28-68 during his three seasons, Asbury brought a renewed sense of optimism for the program's future. Student-athletes were recruited that could succeed at Pepperdine, and team's overall GPA soared. In his last season, with its most veteran team in several years, Pepperdine won 12 games, its most since 2004-05.
To aid the program's stability, Marty Wilson was brought back to Pepperdine at the same time as Asbury to serve as associate head coach and to succeed Asbury when he retired.
A native of Denver, Asbury was a standout at George Washington High School in the early 1960s and earned varsity letters in basketball, football and track.
Asbury lettered at Wyoming for three seasons and earned All-Western Athletic Conference honors as a senior in 1966-67. As team captain, he helped the Cowboys win the league title and advance to the NCAA Tournament that year. He earned a bachelor's of science degree from Wyoming in 1968 and went on to receive a master's of science degree from Colorado in 1974.
He was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks of the NBA and the Denver Rockets of the ABA and played one season in Denver before beginning his coaching career. Asbury coached Wyoming's freshmen in 1967-68, then was a high school coach in the Denver area for eight seasons. He returned to Wyoming to serve as an assistant coach for three seasons before moving to Pepperdine.
He and his wife, Carlie, have two daughters, Stacey (deceased) and Megan, and their first grandchild, Caden, was born in January 2011.