Boise State Basketball

Former Boise State assistant John Rillie sees ‘a great opportunity’ in new job at UCSB.

Boise State assistant men’s basketball coach John Rillie accepted an assistant coaching position at UCSB Saturday, Boise State confirmed with the Idaho Statesman.’s Evan Daniels was the first to break the news.

Rillie joins the staff of Joe Pasternack, who was hired at UCSB on April 4, 2017, after spending four seasons as an assistant at Arizona. UCSB went 6-22 last season. Though he will not hold the title of associate head coach, Rillie will have additional responsibilities and feels the job is the next step towards his ultimate goal of being a head coach.

“For me, I see a great opportunity. A program that can be reinvigorated. I believe we can be successful,” Rillie said. “I want to become a head coach ... You need to take sorts of steps and processes to make that happen.”

Rillie’s departure was the second major one of the week for the Broncos. Point guard Paris Austin was granted his release from the program Thursday and on Friday confirmed he would not return to Boise State.

An Australia native, Rillie played his college basketball at Gonzaga and joined Boise State head coach Leon Rice’s staff in 2010. He played a key role in the recruiting of fellow Australians Anthony Drmic and Nick Duncan. Drmic ended his career as Boise State’s second-leading scorer while Duncan finished fourth all-time in made 3-pointers.

“(Rillie) has been instrumental in all of our successes,” Rice said. “This will be a great step in building his resume.”

Despite rumors of previous coaching opportunities elsewhere, Rillie said his conversations with Pasternack were the first he has had about taking another job. Rillie said the two met in the recruitment of an Australian player and that UCSB’s geography plays into his recruiting.

“You are who you are. I’m an Australian guy. I’m known for my recruiting in Australia,” Rillie said. “Eighty percent of the country lives on the water. When you’re in the recruiting trenches, that’s certainly very appealing to an 18, 19-year-old.”

The job process unfolded within the last week and it took several days to make the decision to leave Boise State, Rillie said. He was adamant there were no frustrations with his current role and that he and Rice were in constant contact as Rillie mulled his options.

“Coach Rice took a wonderful leap of faith and gave me my first break in the industry,” Rillie said. “Whoever thinks that is the reason, they are way off the mark.”

Michael Katz: 208-377-6444, @MichaelLKatz