Chris DeMarco '09, '11
Chris DeMarco has combined his love of basketball and his business sense as a new player development coach for the 2015 NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors.
The 2014-15 season was a storybook season for the Golden State Warriors, who capped off the historic campaign by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals in six games. The Warriors brought the NBA Championship home to the Bay Area for the first time in forty years. And there was Chris DeMarco ’09 MBA ’11, front and center in the second row to Head Coach Steve Kerr’s right, as the Warriors celebrated the team’s victory in Downtown Oakland. To his right were Finals MVP Andrew Iguadola, the Splash Brothers — Klay Thompson and NBA MVP Steph Curry, and, of course, Riley Curry.
So how did a kid from Wisconsin who played basketball at Dominican end up in line to get an NBA ring? He’s certainly not the first player with NAIA roots to wear the hardware — he joins the likes of Willis Reed and a pair of Kerr’s former teammates, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. DeMarco’s path didn’t come between the lines but rather in the trenches. In his first season with the team (2012-13), the Warriors earned their first playoff appearance since 2007. That success translated into a full-time job with the organization as a video coordinator in 2013-14, and in 2015, DeMarco worked as an advance scout for Kerr’s staff.
DeMarco will probably even go down in Warriors lore as being there during a crucial moment of decision-making for the Warriors. After the Warriors fell behind 2-1 to the Cavs, DeMarco went to dinner with Assistant Coach Luke Walton, Special Assistant to the Head Coach and Manager of Advance Scouting Nick U’Ren. U’Ren suggested that the Warriors go small so Walton texted the suggestion at 3 a.m. to Kerr. The first-year head coach went with the suggestion and the rest is history.
For DeMarco, a successful high school basketball and football career landed him at Edgewood College, an NCAA Div. III program in Madison, Wisconsin. After his junior year though, DeMarco decided he needed a change. Iona Head Coach Tim Cluess, then coaching at C.W. Post, realized DeMarco wouldn’t be able to transfer to another NCAA program, so he suggested considering schools competing at the NAIA level, which Dominican was at the time. Familiar with the Dominican Catholic liberal arts education that Edgewood also offered, DeMarco discovered Dominican, which was coming off an 18-12 season and first-place finish in the California Pacific Conference.
“San Rafael and the Bay Area, Dominicans’ International Business 4+1 program, and the successful basketball program all attracted me. My collegiate basketball experience taught me how to work with others and work within a team. Some of my Dominican teammates are my best friends to this day.”
As a power forward for the Penguins, DeMarco led Dominican to another winning season in 2008-09 with a 16-13 campaign. His parents, Patti and Sal, flew out for nearly every home game to watch as their son averaged a team-high 14.93 points per game on .544 shooting. He started all 29 games and led the CalPac with 9.62 rebounds per game, which was nearly a pair higher than any other player in the conference and 16th best in the nation. For his efforts, DeMarco garnered NAIA Div. II All-America Honorable Mention.
Dominican transitioned to NCAA Division II the next season while DeMarco graduated and wrapped up his MBA. He moved to San Francisco and reconnected with former Edgewood teammate John Fahey, who had moved to the Bay Area to become the Warriors’ assistant video coordinator. Fahey got in touch with DeMarco when another opportunity within the Warriors organization became available. Being involved with the highest level of the game has provided invaluable experience to DeMarco and given him the opportunity of a lifetime that most kids dream about.
“I want to be a coach one day and being able to break down these NBA games nightly and working with great basketball minds has been a tremendous help in my professional development. It’s truly been a blessing, I’ve been fortunate to come here and experience the success that we’ve had. It’s been extremely demanding but I enjoy coming to work every single day.”