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John Sykes is in his fourth year as the head coach of the UC Merced Men's Basketball program. Coach Sykes returns to the program, which finished with an overall record of 2-27 in their third year of eligibility, 0-12 in California Pacific Conference play. Prior to this season, Coach Sykes’ all-time record at UC Merced was 18-63.
Sykes is a Merced native who brings with him 15 years of assistant and head coaching experience at the high school, junior college and university levels. He played under Vince Clemons at Merced High School and then played at the University of Texas (1985-86) and Cal State Fullerton (1987-90).
After college, he played professionally in Peru, the Netherlands, Mexico and Canada. Sykes began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant at Golden Valley High School in Merced and was an assistant coach at Merced College from 1999 to 2004. He spent one year each as an assistant at Modesto Junior College and CSU Stanislaus. Most recently, he served as head coach of the Golden Valley freshman team and the UC Merced club team.
Michael Sanchez is a Yreka, California native entering his second season as an assistant coach for the UC Merced Men’s Basketball team, bringing 13 years of college level basketball coaching to the program.
Sanchez attended and graduated from Yreka High School in 1994, where he played basketball for 2 years and was part of a section title team as a senior. He then moved to Merced, California where he played two years at Merced College in the 1994-95 and 1996-97 seasons. Sanchez eventually went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Recreation Management from Ashford University. Sanchez has been coaching since 1999 and working at the Merced College as a Fitness Lab Technician for the last five years.