LAS VEGAS — Justin Hutson stepped down as coach of Fresno State on Thursday after the Bulldogs were eliminated from the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Hutson's contract was set to expire on April 30, and the school did not extend it before the season. The 52-year-old didn't win the MWC tournament championship in his six-year tenure and never led the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament.

Hutson, hired in 2018 after a successful run as an assistant coach at San Diego State and UNLV, had two 23-win seasons with Fresno State, including his first year with the team. He finished with a 92-94 record with the Bulldogs and went 12-21 and 11-20 in his last two seasons.

“I’ve talked to the administration,” Hutson after the Bulldogs lost 87-75 to No. 18 Utah State in the MWC tourney quarterfinals. “It’s a mutual decision. My contract is up in April. I want to express gratitude to the the previous administration. To the community. It’s the right time. It’s the right time. I’ll finish off through April.”

Senior guard Isaiah Pope, who transferred before this season from Utah Tech, said he appreciated Hutson.

“He put a lot of trust in me," Pope said. "I put a lot of trust in him transferring over here for my last year. It wasn’t the season we wanted, but I learned a lot of lessons from him, and he taught me a lot of things as well.”

Hutson grew up in nearby Bakersfield, California, and played at Cal State Bakersfield. He was part of a team that won two NCAA Division II championships. He is married to San Diego State University women’s head basketball coach Stacie Terry-Hutson.

Hutson said he plans to stay on at Fresno State in a consulting role with the basketball team.

“Coach will definitely go down as my favorite coach I’ve ever played for,” senior guard Isaiah Hill said. “He just brings so much to the table as far as becoming a man off the court. He’s just helped lead all these guys, from the players to the staff. It’s meant a lot to be able to get under his wing, learn the game, and become a better man.”

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