Coaching Staff

Head Coach - Mitch Charlens

In 13 years as head coach of the men's basketball team at San Diego City College, Mitch Charlens has led the Knights their first ever state championship in 2016-17, six Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championships (2005, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017) and a CCCAA Elite Eight appearance (2009). He has reached the 20-win mark six times, including five of the last six seasons when they also advanced to at least the second round of the post season.

Charlens' 2016-17 team was the best in school history. The Knights went undefeated (10-0) in the PCAC South for the second consecutive season, and third time in the last four seasons, compiling a 32-2 conference record in that 4-year span. They won their conference games by an average of 21.2 points and finished the season by winning their last 17 games, including five in the playoffs, en route to the CCCAA state championship, the first for any San Diego school. 

That team was led by Darien McClain who was named PCAC South Player of the Year, CCCAA tournament MVP, and became the seventh Knight to be named to the All-State team. He joins Malcolm Thomas (2008-09), Terrence Boyd (2010-11), Stephon Lamar (2011-12), Martin Thomas (2013-14), Leonard Allen (2015-16), and Taylor Nelson (2015-16).

Charlens has been named PCAC Coach of the Year six times (2005, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017) and was awarded CCCAA Coach of the Year in 2009. 
Now in his 14th season, Coach Charlens has created a winning basketball program at San Diego City College. In June of 2004, Charlens took over a program without a gym of its own, no returning players, and coming off a seven-win season the previous year. No problem; Coach Mitch Charlens achieved the state’s best record (28-3) and a final four appearance with Head Coach Rusty Smith at College of the Sequoias in 2003-04, so the SDCC job wasn't too great a challenge for Charlens.  

With a month and a half to field a team, Charlens built a foundation instilling pride, respect, accountability, solid work ethic, and honor into each member of his program. In Charlens' first year, the Knights finished with an 18-10 overall record (10-0 at home) and a 12-2 conference record which earned them the 2004-05 Pacific Coast Conference Championship. The team also advanced to postseason play where they went on to reach the second round of the state playoffs. In addition, the team's success brought upon three All-Conference Player selections and a Coach of the Year for All Sports award in the Pacific Coast Conference for Coach Charlens.

In 2008-09, Charlens led the Knights to their most prosperous season in school history. The Knights finished 28-5 overall and won the Pacific Coast Conference championship with a 15-1 record. Charlens' Knights won two Southern California Regional playoff games to reach the Final Eight of the CCCAA playoffs for the first time ever. Individual success was also found during the '08-'09 season as Charlens was named the men's basketball Coach of the Year by the PCC and was also honored by the CCCAA as its State of California Co-Coach of the Year. The Knights had three First Team All-PCC selections, two Honorable Mention selections and a PCC Player of the Year award for Malcolm Thomas who also earned the CCCAA Co-MVP and made First Team All-State.
In addition, a total of eight players from the '08-'09 Knights received full-ride scholarships from 4-year schools.

Coach Charlens, a San Diego native, is extremely pleased that coaching has brought him home. He played basketball at University City High School in San Diego and then moved on to play at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. While at Saddleback, Coach Charlens helped lead the Gauchos to back-to-back Orange Empire Conference championships and a Final Eight Appearance.

Building on his accomplishments in the community college system, Charlens went on to play at San Francisco State University. Coach Charlens had highlights throughout his career and ended his playing career by scoring 20 points with five three-pointers against UC Davis, that years’ National Champion. Once his playing days were over, Charlens entered the business world. Realizing that was not his passion, Coach Charlens returned to basketball by coaching the Varsity Boys at Lowell High School in San Francisco. The following season he became an assistant coach at SFSU. He was then brought on as an assistant at Chico State University before coaching at College of the Sequoias for two years.

Coach Charlens earned his Bachelor's degree in Psychology at San Francisco State University and his Master's degree in Physical Education at Chico State University. He resides in San Diego with his wife Dr. Erin Charlens (Counselor at SDCC), sons Brandon and Jay, and daughter Chloe.

 Contact Information
Head Coach: Mitch Charlens
Phone: (619) 388-3703
Office: P3-204

Associate head coach - phillip scott

Phillip Scott is an international professional basketball trainer from Southern California. Scott started his basketball career at St. James Preparatory School in Hagerstown, Maryland. In addition to being an athlete competing on the Varsity level each year, Scott received all-country and all-state honors each year and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee his senior year.

Following high school, Scott moved to Southern California to play basketball for Chaffey Community College and earned several All-Foothill Conference honors. When his time at Chaffey was done, he transferred to Prairie View A&M University in Texas where Scott continued to receive all-conference honors and attracted the interest of multiple NBA and international teams.

Phillip then accepted an offer to play basketball in Germany and, after playing internationally for a few years, he suffered a severe ankle injury that ended his career as a professional athlete. The injury led him to take various coaching and training positions as well as start a non-profit youth basketball organization.

Scott is now a highly sought after trainer with clients ranging from NBA and international athletes to nationally ranked high school athletes. Most recently, Scott served as the Interim Head Coach and Associate Head Men’s Basketball Coach at West Los Angeles College for the past two seasons, leading the team to finish the season with an overall record of 18-9 and finishing third in the Western State Conference.

In addition to coaching and training, Scott has been the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ackright Premier Sports, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization since its launch in 2008. As COO, Scott has organized several Nike Sparq combines, Run exposure and Showcase events for Elite Travel basketball organizations, managed park recreational youth basketball leagues year round and created partnerships with various after school programs in Southern California.

Coach Scott earned his Bachelor’s degree in Human Performance at Prairie View A&M and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration at Concordia University. He resides in San Diego with his wife Amala Xaykosy-Scott and daughter Adara.

Assistant Coach / director of recruiting and basketball operations - Joe D'Ambro

Coach Joe D'Ambro is in his ninth season as an assistant with the Knights. The 2007-08 season was his first as an assistant at the collegiate level. In addition to being part of Head Coach Mitch Charlen's staff, D'Ambro works as a Senior Student Service Assistant at the San Diego City College Career Center.

D'Ambro earned Virginia All-District, All-State, and All-Met Honors (Washington D.C.) during his senior year (1997) at Fauquier High School in Warrenton, Va. He then went on to play at George Mason University.

In 1998, D'Ambro was named Honorable Mention All-American by Youth Basketball of America (U-21) in Jacksonville, Fla. D'Ambro then transferred to SDCC to play for the Knights from 1999-2001.

He earned his bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University in 2014.

Assistant Coach - christian jones