Bob Cantu enters his 20th year as a college coach and his fourth at UTEP in 2016-17. During the past three seasons the Miners have compiled 64 victories with two postseason tournament appearances and a second-place finish in Conference USA. Cantu has participated in 10 postseason tournaments as a collegiate coach.
On Nov. 24, 2015, Cantu was named the no. 24 assistant coach in the country by CoachStat.net. "There is a reason great basketball minds like Bibby, Floyd and O'Neill hired and kept Cantu on staff, eventually leading him to an interim head coach tag at USC; plain and simple, this guy is good!!!," the site said.
Cantu was also recently rated the #4 assistant coach in the country for mid-major programs by HoopScoop and Basketball Times. He was repeatedly named one of the nation's top-20 assistant coaches by Fox Sports and Hoop Scoop from 2007-12, including the #2 Assistant Coach in the PAC-10 in 2010.
Cantu's third season at UTEP (2015-16) saw the Miners score 80+ points 15 times, one shy of the school record. UTEP was prolific offensively, setting a school-record with 223 three-point field goals while averaging 77.4 points per game. The Miners also compiled the fourth-most field goals in school history (896), the fifth-most assists (512) and the fifth-most points (2,554). Lee Moore was a third team All-Conference USA selection and Terry Winn was tabbed to the league's All-Freshman Team.
During Cantu's second season in El Paso (2014-15), the Miners won 22 games and posted the third-most conference victories in school history (13) en route to making the NIT field. UTEP defeated NCAA Tournament participants NM State, UAB and Xavier as well as Old Dominion, which reached the Final Four of the NIT.
The Miners had a first team All-Conference USA player (Vince Hunter) as well as the league's Defensive Player of the Year in Julian Washburn. Hunter led C-USA in rebounding (9.3 rpg) with 13 double-doubles, and Cedrick Lang was first in field goal percentage (.620). UTEP became the first team to lead C-USA in field goal percentage in back-to-back years (.465 in 2013-14, .466 in 2014-15).
Cantu spent the previous 12 seasons at USC as an assistant coach, associate head coach and interim head coach. During that time the Trojans had four other head coaches, including Floyd from 2005-09. Cantu served as interim head coach for the final 15 games of the 2012-13 season. USC finished 9-9 in Pac-12 play including wins at UCLA (Pac-12 champion) and over no. 11 Arizona (Sweet 16 team) at home. Under Cantu's leadership, the Trojans beat five teams that advanced to either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. He was selected the Pac-12 Coach of the Week twice during his brief tenure as head coach.
Cantu was also USC's interim head coach for a Pac-10 Tournament semifinal game versus no. 15 Arizona in 2011.
USC led the nation in defensive efficiency during the 2009-10 season. The Trojans were also the Pac-10 leaders in field goal percentage defense during the 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns.
The native of Paso Robles, Calif. was involved with all facets of the USC basketball program and earned particularly high marks for his efforts on the recruiting trail. While organizing all aspects of recruiting, Cantu helped the Trojans assemble signing classes that were rated no. 1 nationally in 2007 (ESPN/Hoop Scoop), no. 7 in 2008 (Hoop Scoop), no. 5 in 2009 (Hoop Scoop) and no. 6 in 2010 (MaxPreps). USC also had a top-10 class in 2006 and a top-20 group in 2005, according to Hoop Scoop rankings.
While at USC Cantu recruited and/or coached 10 NBA players, including five who were selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. He was a part of five NCAA Tournament teams (including a berth in the Sweet 16 in 2007), the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament champions and a school-record three consecutive 20-win squads from 2007-09. USC set a school record with 25 wins during the 2006-07 season.
Prominent players that Cantu either coached or recruited include current pros Dewayne Dedmon (Orlando Magic), Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls), O.J. Mayo (Milwaukee Bucks), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic) and Nick Young (L.A. Lakers).
Prior to his stint in Los Angeles, Cantu was an assistant coach at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif. (1997-2000) and Sacramento State University for one season (2000-01).
Cuesta College led the Western State Conference in team defense for three seasons with Cantu on staff. He also served as the Cougars' head coach for three games. Cuesta College's overall record was 65-37 during Cantu's tenure with two Western State Conference titles (1998 & 1999) and three state playoff appearances. The college successfully placed 17 players in four-year universities with full scholarships, including 10 at the Division I level.
He started his professional career as a basketball administrative assistant at Cal Poly from 1996-97.
Cantu was a three-year varsity player at Paso Robles High School before graduating in 1992. He attended Cuesta College and Cal Poly before receiving his bachelor's degree in Sociology from Chapman University in 1997.
He founded the Bob Cantu Fundamental Basketball Camps in June, 1997. Over 7,500 campers have attended since its inception.
He married Nicole Hercules in May, 2015. His stepdaughter Malaina is 11 years old.
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
- Inside Athletics
- 1966 National Champions
- Athletic Training
- Core Purpose and Vision Statement
- Director of Athletics
- Donation Request Form
- General News
- Hall of Fame
- Fan Zone
- Donate Now
- Online Store