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Thread: Should Cal hire another assistant coach to be our head coach?

  1. #16

  2. #17
    Post is spot on. In my mind, if you go with an assistant, this guy has to check a ton of boxes that make you so confident about the odds of success. Bennett has to be the top option. If he says "no," then move on to whatever Plan B is.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by UrsaMajor View Post
    UW didn't.
    Right, and I found that very surprising (especially since he was 5 and 6 as interim HC this year), but all the better for us.

  4. #19
    To me those example say you need to be careful with the person you pick and that you would need to insist on an assistant who does have the experience to mentor a bit. As for HC experience, there would be too many examples to even start to name of mid-major HCs who flop at power conference levels. What I'd be looking for is a person who knows what Cal is, who comes into an interview with a specific plan for right now and longer-term, someone who is a dynamic person that players would relate to, someone who wants to play a style that players would want to play, and understands who he can recruit. If the person who has all that happens to be an assistant, so be it.

    Kevin Ollie was an assistant coach with no HC experience. Frank Martin had no HC experience when he took over Kansas State. Buzz Williams had no HC experience when he took over Marquette. Tony Bennett went from assistant to HC at WSU and had no college HC experience. The past you need to learn from is not limited to Cal, imo.

    As an aside, I have no good feelings about Pasternak at all and of the guys you named he has HC experience. I love Theo but don't know that he has the experience level as a bench coach of any kind to justify that kind of move. Jones is more of a mystery to me but he at least has experience as an assistant in a highly successful program and time at Cal. Gates would probably be my choice of the four you named. If they can land a guy with HC experience who has all the qualities I mentioned above, great. If not, I'd rather roll the dice on a Cal guy with good assistant coach experience who is young and can recruit than a mediocre retread with HC experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post
    I am going to say this just one time.

    I ask anyone who thinks Cal should hire an assistant coach to be our next head coach to consider this:

    Cal has hired only 4 assistant coaches in its history, and ALL have been nice fellows, but as coaches have been horrible, unmitigated disasters.

    1. Rene Herrerias. Outstanding assistant coach, and the greatest scout of opponents on the planet. He took what was the NCAA runner-up program from glory into the tank. His record over 8 years and 4 losing seasons was 40-67 in conference, 37.4%.

    2. Jim Padgett. The greatest recruiter in Cal history. One season’s team sent all five starters to the NBA. One started for the Warriors NBA champions, and another started for the runner-up Bullets, winning a ring later with Seattle. Padgett's record over 4 years and 3 losing seasons was 23-33 in conference, 41.1%

    3. Dick Kuchen. Great assistant at Notre Dame, and according to Digger Phelps was the best teacher of motion offense in the business. Great teacher of big men. His record over 7 years and 5 losing seasons was 37-89 in conference, 29.4%

    4. Todd Bozeman. The second greatest recruiter in Cal history (only second greatest because got caught paying people under the table, putting Cal on NCAA probation). Bozeman couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. His record over 4 years and one losing season was 23-41 in conference, 35.9%.

    The combined conference record for these assistant coaches who became Cal’s head coach is 23 seasons, 123-230, or 34.8% winning percentage. The combined overall record was 259-328, or 44.1%

    I realize many of us have good feelings about Pasternak, Theo, Gates, and Jones, but is it too much to ask them to first get some head coaching experience elsewhere, before hiring them? If Cal makes another hiring mistake, we fans lose another 3-5 years at least, in our quest for our team’s success. So please, please, think twice before you recommend another assistant coach be hired to assume the most important position in the Cal basketball program.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana 1905
    Last edited by bluesaxe; 03-20-2017 at 09:56 AM.

  5. #20
    What is so fascinating here is that everyone seems to be clear on who should be hired...and there is less than no agreement.

    It has to be Randy Bennett--proven winner, local guy, interesting offense.
    It has to be Dennis Gates--Cal grad, will be loyal, dynamite recruiter.
    It has to be Theo Robertson--beloved Cal guy, lots of NBA coaching experience
    It has to be Tom Crean--successful at Marquette, lots of head coaching experience
    It has to be Jo Pasternack--good recruiter, friend of Shocky, friend of Goldman (allegedly)
    It has to be Travis Decuire--Monty coaching tree, experience at Cal, successful at Montana
    It has to be Eric Musselman--NBA coaching experience, building a successful program at Nevada

    Can we all agree that we don't agree?

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by UrsaMajor View Post
    What is so fascinating here is that everyone seems to be clear on who should be hired...and there is less than no agreement.

    It has to be Randy Bennett--proven winner, local guy, interesting offense.
    It has to be Dennis Gates--Cal grad, will be loyal, dynamite recruiter.
    It has to be Theo Robertson--beloved Cal guy, lots of NBA coaching experience
    It has to be Tom Crean--successful at Marquette, lots of head coaching experience
    It has to be Jo Pasternack--good recruiter, friend of Shocky, friend of Goldman (allegedly)
    It has to be Travis Decuire--Monty coaching tree, experience at Cal, successful at Montana
    It has to be Eric Musselman--NBA coaching experience, building a successful program at Nevada

    Can we all agree that we don't agree?
    Why don't we just hire a staff consisting of the dads of the #2-4 recruits in the country, and let the kids coach themselves? Could be a winning strategy for Missouri.

  7. #22
    Yes, we don't agree, because on the key dimensions of this decision, there's vast disagreement. Those dimensions are: hire a coach-em-up guy versus hire a recruit-the-studs guy. Hire a Cal guy versus hire a guy that was successful elsewhere. Hire a guy to stay long term, vs. hire the best guy, and don't worry if he leaves after three years. All seven of the names you mentioned basically fall fairly far to one side or the other on all three of these dimensions. The problems are that Cal is not considered a premier job, we probably can't spend any more now than what we were paying Martin, and with 300+ teams in Division I, the coaching talent pool is actually spread fairly thin, which is how Missouri and Illinois are paying money that doesn't appear to us to be justified.

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post
    I am going to say this just one time.
    Oh fyck,you nearly made me fall out of my chair reading that! Thank you for the side splitter!

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesaxe View Post
    To me those example say you need to be careful with the person you pick and that you would need to insist on an assistant who does have the experience to mentor a bit. As for HC experience, there would be too many examples to even start to name of mid-major HCs who flop at power conference levels. What I'd be looking for is a person who knows what Cal is, who comes into an interview with a specific plan for right now and longer-term, someone who is a dynamic person that players would relate to, someone who wants to play a style that players would want to play, and understands who he can recruit. If the person who has all that happens to be an assistant, so be it.

    Kevin Ollie was an assistant coach with no HC experience. Frank Martin had no HC experience when he took over Kansas State. Buzz Williams had no HC experience when he took over Marquette. Tony Bennett went from assistant to HC at WSU and had no college HC experience. The past you need to learn from is not limited to Cal, imo.

    As an aside, I have no good feelings about Pasternak at all and of the guys you named he has HC experience. I love Theo but don't know that he has the experience level as a bench coach of any kind to justify that kind of move. Jones is more of a mystery to me but he at least has experience as an assistant in a highly successful program and time at Cal. Gates would probably be my choice of the four you named. If they can land a guy with HC experience who has all the qualities I mentioned above, great. If not, I'd rather roll the dice on a Cal guy with good assistant coach experience who is young and can recruit than a mediocre retread with HC experience.
    +1,as per usual.

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff82 View Post
    Yes, we don't agree, because on the key dimensions of this decision, there's vast disagreement. Those dimensions are: hire a coach-em-up guy versus hire a recruit-the-studs guy. Hire a Cal guy versus hire a guy that was successful elsewhere. Hire a guy to stay long term, vs. hire the best guy, and don't worry if he leaves after three years. All seven of the names you mentioned basically fall fairly far to one side or the other on all three of these dimensions. The problems are that Cal is not considered a premier job, we probably can't spend any more now than what we were paying Martin, and with 300+ teams in Division I, the coaching talent pool is actually spread fairly thin, which is how Missouri and Illinois are paying money that doesn't appear to us to be justified.
    Good take. Indeed EXCELLENT take as to why the discussion is going in circles. It is also interesting that while in football there were clear "aspiration" hires (guys we would never get but one could dream) here there are not even really THAT. One might argue that it reflects just how unique Cal is. In other words, we could HAVE endless (or at least I could) arguments about James Franklin or Chris Peterson and why 98 things could fall right and wouldn't it be wonderful for them to end up here. But really there are so few BB coaches that are young enough to make the move and which have a track record of excellence at academically challenging schools.

  11. #26
    Just trying to inject an occasional note of reality into the discussion. One thing that's clear from the last two revenue-sport hires is that there's a pretty large gap between the candidates the fan base thinks should be available to us, and the candidates that actually are available to us. I think our experience with Dykes, Franklin and Martin also should pretty well disabuse anyone of the idea that a coach is going to somehow give us a pay discount for the glory of the Bay Area lifestyle. Anyone who thinks that at this point has been spending too much time with Alice Waters. In terms of your "aspirational" notion, I think part of the problem is that there are limited models for us to follow. In football, everybody looks across the Bay at the prison farm, and figures if they can do it, we should be able to as well. Well, they're not doing in basketball, and haven't since Monty left. And as we've discussed, for Monty to do it, they basically gritted their teeth through a long curve to get to where they eventually got. I guess for hoops, our best model is probably Wisconsin, which again argues for getting a man with a plan, and giving him extensive years to execute it. That's not Crean or Musselman. It's probably someone young, and relatively under the radar, maybe as far under as Monty, who had exactly one NIT first round loss at Montana as his tournament resume when he was hired at Stanford.

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff82 View Post
    Just trying to inject an occasional note of reality into the discussion. One thing that's clear from the last two revenue-sport hires is that there's a pretty large gap between the candidates the fan base thinks should be available to us, and the candidates that actually are available to us. I think our experience with Dykes, Franklin and Martin also should pretty well disabuse anyone of the idea that a coach is going to somehow give us a pay discount for the glory of the Bay Area lifestyle. Anyone who thinks that at this point has been spending too much time with Alice Waters. In terms of your "aspirational" notion, I think part of the problem is that there are limited models for us to follow. In football, everybody looks across the Bay at the prison farm, and figures if they can do it, we should be able to as well. Well, they're not doing in basketball, and haven't since Monty left. And as we've discussed, for Monty to do it, they basically gritted their teeth through a long curve to get to where they eventually got. I guess for hoops, our best model is probably Wisconsin, which again argues for getting a man with a plan, and giving him extensive years to execute it. That's not Crean or Musselman. It's probably someone young, and relatively under the radar, maybe as far under as Monty, who had exactly one NIT first round loss at Montana as his tournament resume when he was hired at Stanford.
    Regarding Wisky.

    Not a model to emulate. I don't think you can underestimate just how much the State of Wisconsin Basketball is Bo Ryan and visa-versa. As I posted elsewhere, I have little doubt that Ryan knows the precise location of any office of any HS basketball coach in the state. He has been essentially working in the same 500 square mile area for his entire career. It is as if there was a Bay Area BB legend we could hire.

    But if your argument is that we may have to take a leap of faith that is probably true. Sucks because much as we hate them Miller or Alford really were NOT leaps of faith. They might not have gotten the job done but their records were extremely solid when hired and far better than our current pool.

  13. #28
    Yes, "leap of faith" is basically my argument, and is the reality. The amount of verbiage spent on this topic is exactly because all the names mentioned have strengths, but also fairly obvious weaknesses. It's basically the same as if Dorothy walked up to the scarecrow, and he said, "That way is not very attractive. Gee, the other way really sucks, too." Miller and Alford both had better pedigrees than any of the candidates that we're seriously considering. And the situation you mentioned about Gregg Marshall and the Kochs also illustrates the problem. The best mid-majors are now paying as much or more as the mid-level Power 5 schools, probably partly because they don't have to worry about spending money on football. That means there's little incentive for those coaches to move.

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by UrsaMajor View Post
    Interesting post, SFCity; however, it is too small a sample size to draw firm conclusions. For one thing, Cal has hired a number of former head coaches that have not worked out well: Dick Edwards, Ben Braun, Lou Campanelli. Furthermore, every--or nearly every--head coach was once an assistant, and they all had a 1st head coaching job. Some of them succeeded spectacularly (not here, obviously, but then since Pete Newell, no one has succeeded here that much), some not so much.
    Yes, no one since Newell has succeeded that much, but Braun and Campanelli were above .500 overall and Braun was .509 and Lou was .474 in conference play. In the whole scheme of things, since Newell, these two have done better than all others at Cal except for Monty. Maybe that is our fate.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff82 View Post
    Just trying to inject an occasional note of reality into the discussion. One thing that's clear from the last two revenue-sport hires is that there's a pretty large gap between the candidates the fan base thinks should be available to us, and the candidates that actually are available to us. I think our experience with Dykes, Franklin and Martin also should pretty well disabuse anyone of the idea that a coach is going to somehow give us a pay discount for the glory of the Bay Area lifestyle. Anyone who thinks that at this point has been spending too much time with Alice Waters. In terms of your "aspirational" notion, I think part of the problem is that there are limited models for us to follow. In football, everybody looks across the Bay at the prison farm, and figures if they can do it, we should be able to as well. Well, they're not doing in basketball, and haven't since Monty left. And as we've discussed, for Monty to do it, they basically gritted their teeth through a long curve to get to where they eventually got. I guess for hoops, our best model is probably Wisconsin, which again argues for getting a man with a plan, and giving him extensive years to execute it. That's not Crean or Musselman. It's probably someone young, and relatively under the radar, maybe as far under as Monty, who had exactly one NIT first round loss at Montana as his tournament resume when he was hired at Stanford.
    In 2001, a year off of a Final Four berth under Dick Bennett, Wisconsin hired Bo Ryan, who was age 53 at the time. He was a big winner at the D-III level, with 4 national titles in his 15 year tenure at Wisconsin-Platteville. He moved on to D-I Wisconsin-Milwaukee and in two seasons was 30-27 (13-15 conference record). After being rejected by Rick Majerus and looking into Ben Braun, Wisconsin hired Ryan, who won almost immediately. He got to the Sweet 16 in his second season and finished 1st in the Big Ten in each of his first two seasons.

    In comparison, Musselman is 52 with experience as an NBA head coach, as a national team head coach (Dominican Republic and Venezuela), and in his two seasons at Nevada is 52-21 (24-12 conference record) with a conference title and an NCAA berth in his second season.
    Last edited by tsubamoto2001; 03-20-2017 at 11:50 AM.



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