After a perfect 18-0 win-loss season, Santa Barbara Breakers head coach Curt Pickering notched his 300th career coaching victory on May 31 when the Breakers beat the Ventura Jets 113-108 at Santa Barbara City Sports Pavilion.

The win raised the Breakers’ record to 13-0 with the closely matched game, which saw the Jets lead in the game 101-99 with 4:31 time remaining in the fourth quarter. Thanks to seven Breakers players hitting double figures in the scoring column, the red, white, blue and gold outscored the Jets 14-7 during crunch time for the final tally.

Pickering began his coaching career at the collegiate level, recording an 89-108 record during 10 years of service. He then moved on to the professional ranks, helping BK Kbosterneuburg win the Austrian Basketball Association Championship in 1986 with 41-9 record. His team competed in the European Cup, equivalent to the NBA Finals, against such notables as Vlade Divac, former Los Angeles Lakers Star, and Drazen Petrovic of the Portland Trailblazers.

Petrovic and Pickering reunited two years later when Pickering accepted a scouting position with the New Jersey Nets and Petrovic was traded from the Blazers to the Nets. Pickering continued his Vagabond tour with several coaching stints in the minor leagues, honing his skills in Biloxi, Miss. (CBA), Winnipeg, Canada (IBA), and Clearwater, Fla. (USBL) until settling in Santa Barbara, thanks to long time L.A. Lakers icon and Santa Barbara resident Bill Bertka.

Pickering architectured the Santa Barbara Islanders, a CBA franchise, serving as general manager and director of player personnel. The Islanders still hold the CBA all-time record for the most wins by an expansion team (37-19) and highest scoring average per game, 123.6. The club also sent 10 Islanders back to the NBA for playing opportunities during the 1989-91 seasons. 

After championships as head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers (1991) in the NBA summer pro league and Kazma Club of Kuwait (1993), Pickering made final international stops in Dubai, VAE, Bahrain, Philippines and Venezuela before resettling in Santa Barbara in 1997 to create the Montecito Basketball Academy, a weekly program for youths ages 4 to 15. The academy has served more than 8,000 individuals focusing on self-esteem and the fundamental skills of the games.

For the past two years, Pickering has redirected his attention at the professional level, owning and coaching the Santa Barbara Breakers, an upstart minor league franchise. The team has amassed 17-6 and 18-0 records (35-6) and won the West Coast Pro Basketball league championship in June. The Breakers will continue their trek in September when the travel to China for a 10-game tour.

All in all, 30 years of coaching has resulted in a 306-190 overall win-loss record; four championships; coaching five NBA head coaches when they were players: Rick Carbisle, Nate McMillan, Byron Scott, Isiah Thomas, Reggie Theus; as well as more 100 other NBA players, including Reggie Miller and Dominique Wilkins.

Darice Yee is arena operations for the Santa Barbara Breakers.