Former Husky Paul Fortier Joins Men's Hoop Staff
May 10, 2005
SEATTLE - Paul Fortier, an All-Pac-10 forward with the Huskies in 1986, was hired as an assistant coach on the University of Washington men's basketball staff, Head Coach Lorenzo Romar announced Tuesday.
Fortier, 40, leaves his assistant coaching position at Cornell where he served the past two years under Coach Steve Donahue. The Big Red improved their record in each of the last two seasons.
'We're very excited to have Paul back with us. He definitely showed that he wants to be here and that is important,' exclaimed Romar, who also played collegiately at UW. 'Paul showed how hard he works and how well he knows the game when he was with us a few years ago. Then he spent the last two years under a real good coach, helping Cornell improve.'
Cornell posted an 11-16 record and a 6-8 Ivy League mark in Fortier's first season. He tutored the post players, helping Cornell lead the league in rebounding and improve from a -3.0 to +2.3 margin from the previous year.
In 2004-05, the Big Red registered a 13-14 overall record. Cornell was 8-6 in conference play, earning its highest Ivy finish in 17 years with a second-place effort. The Big Red swept Princeton for the first time in 20 years.
'I was really helped in the time at Cornell with all the responsibilities I had from recruiting to coaching and scouting,' Fortier said. 'I'm very happy and excited to be getting back there on Coach Romar's staff. I'm looking forward to continuing what he started there a couple years ago. At age 18 to 22, when I was playing at Washington, I never thought I would be coming back to my alma mater to be coaching.'
Fortier brings extensive playing and teaching experience to UW where he served as a team manager during the 2002-03 season while completing his psychology degree.
After a tremendous collegiate career at Washington, Fortier was selected by the Washington Bullets in the fifth round of the 1986 NBA Draft, the 104th pick overall. He was a standout in the European professional ranks, including stints in the top leagues of Italy, France, Spain and Greece. Fortier participated in the French All-Star Game in both 1997 and 1998 and was a member of the French Cup-winning Cholet squad in 1998 and 1999.
In 17 years playing in Europe, Fortier averaged better than 15 points per game 13 times. His top statistical season was 1995-96 with Le Mans (France) when he recorded averages of 21.5 points and 10.2 rebounds.
Just as important as his work on the court was his leadership off the court. Fortier served as a mentor to young American players overseas. He also worked at various camps, sharing his professional experiences. He was served as team captain for several seasons and spent three years as the team spokesman for France's Cholet club.
Fortier lettered four years at Washington, from 1983-86. He started his final three seasons, helping the Huskies earn NCAA Tournament berths each time. Fortier served as team captain his final year during which he averaged 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. He still ranks 13th among all-time Huskies with 1,326 career points.
A product of St. Ignatius (Calif.) College Prep in San Francisco, Fortier averaged 20 points and 11.5 rebounds in 1982 during his senior season of high school. He garnered All-Northern California honors as well as honorable mention prep All-America acclaim.
Fortier and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters, Kassia and Marissa. He replaces Ken Bone who was introduced as the head coach at Portland State on April 25 after serving three seasons with the UW staff.
The Huskies return three of their top-five scorers from the 2005 team that had a 29-6 record and advanced to the Sweet 16. Washington tied the 67-year-old school record for wins in a season, won its first Pac-10 Tournament championship and received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.