Brian Tessler Retiring After Winning on the Court and Beyond

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For most basketball coaches, winning on the court is what it is all about. The strive to collect an abundances of trophies, accolades and glory can be the deciding factor to go into coaching. But when a long, successful career is over, what is really left to look back to?  As Brian Tessler, head coach for women’s basketball at Fresno City College, bids farewell to his illustrious career, the rewards are beyond winning championships.

Tessler closes the book on a coaching career that spans nearly 30 years, from his humble start at Madera High School 1988 to 10 seasons at Reedley College and finally leaving his mark at for the past 11 seasons at FCC. Tessler has racked up a 526-165 record with 10 conference championships and seven state championship appearances, where his teams reached the Final Four five times.

Tessler never had his mind set on when and where he would retire from coaching, although he had pondered that thought for years. After hosting a preseason tournament this past season, he knew that moment was now. The more he thought about it, and talked with his wife Christine, he felt like it was the right thing to do to make this season his last.

“I have thought about retiring for a while, but I liked the lifestyle that both me and my wife share together, her coming to the games and us both working,”  Tessler said. “After meeting with my wife for lunch and playing a quick nine holes of golf, she told me that she wanted me to retire because she had never seen me so relaxed and at ease.”

Tessler’s success on the court is a testament to how prepared he was and how he gets his athletes to play to the best of their ability. Expecting nothing but their best while also having them give more than they felt was possible to go give to the program, Tessler insisted that if they are able to do that on the court, they can do it off the court as well.

Some coaches look at the number of wins or championships as their biggest success, but Tessler does not take that into account when it comes to the way he sees success. The greatest success he felt he has had as a coach is seeing his athletes grow to the people they are now or about to become — getting their college degrees, starting families, having successful careers and coming back to show where it all started for them.

“Wins are short lived; they come and go, but the biggest success is to see our young athletes grow academically,” Tessler said, “to get their two-year degrees and go on to four-year degrees and have families and successful careers.”

Despite retiring from coaching, Tessler does not see himself settling down at home any time soon. He has plans to continue teaching at Crescent View Charter School in a part-time role, leaving enough time to play golf and spend time with his family.

When he looks back, Tessler said what he will miss most is the relationships that he had built over the years with athletes he has coached and coaching staff from FCC and other colleges.  He will also miss being part of the game itself.

“My sum of my career, and this can follow in life in general,” Tessler said, “is never settling for mediocrity.”