|Years at VC:||31st Year|
|Associate's Degree:||A.A., Glendale College, 1974|
|Bachelor's Degree:||B.S., UCLA, 1977|
|Master's Degree:||M.Ed., Azusa Pacific University, 1986|
After a generation at the helm of the Ventura College women's basketball team, Ned Mircetic has led the program to achievements unparalleled in the history of the school, state, and nation. VC won a state-record 28 consecutive Western State Conference North Division titles from 1991-2018 and has been victorious in nearly 86 percent (861-144, .857) of its games with under Mircetic, including winning over 96 percent (314-12, .963) of its WSC games. The Pirates have won seven state championships during the Mircetic years, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2010 and 2014. VC played in seven straight state championship games during one stretch, 1996-2002, while making the state Final Four nine consecutive seasons, 1995-2003. Mircetic's Pirate teams have advanced to the state Elite Eight a record 18 seasons, including eight of the past 13 years (2008-2020). He has been named the WBCA National Coach of the Year once, the CCCWBCA State Co-Coach of the Year four times and the WSC Coach of the Year 12 times.
Mircetic has made Ventura College into one of the top destinations in the state for players continuing to four-year schools. During his tenure, Mircetic has sent 88 players on to play basketball at the next level at 53 different colleges and universities across the country. There have been 28 NCAA Division I transfers from VC through the years and an additional five athletes transferred to NCAA Division I schools on scholarship for sports other than basketball. Mircetic had had 38 players transfer to NCAA Division II schools, 15 players to NAIA schools and eight have played at the NCAA Division III level.
In total, 164 VC players have matriculated to four-year schools, and most of them have received their bachelor's degree with many moving on to graduate work. Pirate alumnae have reached a level of success that is comparable with any school in the country in many different career fields. Mircetic has built a vast alumnae network that has spread across the country and internationally.
Under Mircetic's guidance, Ventura College is the most-recognized academic achieving community college women's basketball program in the country. VC has been awarded three CCCAA State Scholar Team Awards, 2002, 2009 and 2015, and earned recognition by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association on its National Academic Honor Roll for 16 of the past 17 seasons (2004-2020), including the No. 2 rank for the 2019-20 season with a program record 3.544 grade point average for the academic year. The Pirates have earned above a 3.0 team Grade Point Average in 25 of the last 28 semesters heading into 2020-21.
Following the 2002 state championship, the Pirates were honored as the top academic team in the state by winning the CCCAA State Scholar Team Award. In that year, VC posted a team fall semester GPA of 3.37 and was the first team in California in any sport to win both the state championship and the scholar team award. Ventura followed up their State Final Four appearance by winning the State Scholar Team Award for the 2008-09 year with a team fall semester GPA of 3.37, and in 2014-15, the team posted a program-record 3.39 GPA to earn the honor for a third time.
Ventura is the only community college program in the country to have been honored by the WBCA 16 times over the past 17 years, and just one other four-year school has earned more recognition over that time span. VC has 11 Top-10 national academic rankings, including the No. 2-rank in 2009 and 2020.
The on-the-court success of the Pirates under Mircetic is legendary. Mircetic is the winningest community college women’s basketball coach in California, and is also among the nation’s elite. On December 17, 2017, Mircetic earned his 800th career victory, becoming the 18th collegiate women's basketball coach to achieve the milestone. Additionally, he achieved 800 wins in just 923 games, making him the fastest to reach the mark. By comparison, Geno Auriema of Connecticut recorded his 800th career win in 2012 in 928 games and Lin Laursen of Central Arizona CC achieved her 800th victory in 2003 in 934 games.
A year ago, the Pirates surpassed the 20-win plateau for the 31st season in a row, including all 30 years of Mircetic's tenure, with a 21-7 record. VC advanced to their 18th State Elite Eight and were preparing to playi in the state quarterfinals before the coronavirus pandemic prematurely ended the state tournament.
In 2018-19, the Pirates won 25 games for the 24th time in the Mircetic era, advancing to the state Elite Eight. In arguably the best game of the state tournament, the Pirates lost a narrow 2-point decision to Diablo Valley, the eventual state champions, in front of a large and boisterous crowd at the Athletic Event Center.
Mircetic was the first, and to date the only California Community College coach to receive the Russell Athletic-WBCA National JC/CC Coach of the Year, winning the award in 2009. In that season, he pulled double duty, leading both the men's and women's teams to WSC titles while pacing the women to the State Final Four. Combined that season, Mircetic was 58-10 overall (34-1 with the women and 24-9 with the men) and 21-3 in conference play (12-0 women, 9-3 men). He was a finalist for the honor in 2008 when he coached VC to the State Elite Eight and again in 2014 leading the Pirates to a record seventh state championship.
In 2010, Mircetic became the winningest coach in California community college women's basketball history and he surpassed the 700-win plateau on January 25, 2014 with a win at College of the Canyons. His 840 career victories are 121 wins ahead of the next highest win total on the CCCAA's all-time wins list. Among those in the top 20 of the winningest basketball coaches in CCCAA history, Mircetic has the highest winning percentage (.860) and is one of three on the list who have won over 80 percent of their games. Mircetic's seven state championships are unmatched in the history of the sport in California, and only three other coaches have more than two titles.
In February 2007, the Pirates helped Mircetic make history as he became the fastest coach in college basketball history, at any level, to reach the 500-win plateau. Later that year he was honored with his induction into the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame.
Mircetic's players have excelled individually on the court. There have been countless All-WSC performers in addition to 41 All-State honorees. Nine Pirates have been named the state co-player of the year and 12 have earned All-American honors (one, twice).
Mircetic is entering his 36th season overall at Ventura College, having served as an assistant coach for the Pirate men from 1986-1990 before taking over the women's program. In serving as both a head or assistant coach, Mircetic has won 34 conference championships in 35 years of coaching men's and women's basketball at Ventura College.
Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1953, Coach Mircetic emigrated to the U.S. with his family via Paris, France in 1960. He spent many of his formative years in Chicago before moving to Southern California in 1967. He played basketball at La Cañada High School, graduating in 1971. Mircetic earned his A.A. degree from Glendale College in 1974 and his B.S. degree in kinesiology from UCLA in 1977. He earned his M.Ed. degree with an emphasis in physical education from Azusa Pacific in 1986.
Mircetic started his coaching career at St. Bonaventure High School, coaching the freshman/sophomore and JV boy's teams in 1982 and 1983. He assisted with the men's and women's teams at Oxnard College from 1983 to 1985 when he joined Phil Mathews as the assistant men's coach at VC.
During the next five seasons (1986-90), Mircetic helped lead the Pirates to a 125-39 (.762) record and five WSC titles. In 1987, the Pirates won the California State Championship, the College's first state title in 35 years, while posting a 31-4 record. Mircetic was named head coach of the women's team prior to the 1990-91 season.
During his college days at UCLA, Coach Mircetic spent many nights in Westwood as an usher at Pauley Pavilion watching the Bruins under coach John Wooden toward the end of their magical run of 10 national championships in 12 seasons. Coach Wooden defined success not in winning and losing, but in "becoming the best you are capable of becoming."
Influenced by Wooden and Mathews, Coach Mircetic's focus has always been on the effort his teams put forth on the court. "Our philosophy, from basic fundamentals through team play, has its foundation in playing hard," said the coach. "It is our trademark and signature. Playing hard identifies who we are as individuals and as a team. Playing hard is more than winning and losing. It means giving your best effort all the time. Playing hard is the most important skill we teach here at Ventura College."
Believing in the simplicity of the game, as taught by John Wooden, Coach Mircetic has built the program on one phrase, "We Play Hard!" as taught by Coach Mathews. He continues building the program, brick-by-brick, in a never-ending process of excellence focused on fulfillment of individual and team potential, not on winning and losing.
"We encourage our players to give their best effort in everything they do, on and off the court," said Coach Mircetic.
"We Play Hard becomes a way of life and allows our students to achieve their full potential, and therefore achieve success, both on the basketball court and in life."