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Cal Basketball

The Decision to Hire Mark Fox

March 29, 2019
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In the course of fewer than six days, Cal terminated the least successful head coach in its basketball program’s history and hired a coach with more than 250 career wins to replace him.   

The obvious initial take when discussing Mark Fox is that he is in every respect an upgrade over his predecessor.   An experienced hand who’s well-respected by his peers, Fox will bring a depth of experience and presence that Cal has not had since Mike Montgomery retired in 2012.

That said, it is not a hire that wins the hearts and minds of Cal fans when they first hear the news.  His tenure at Georgia may be impressive in some respects. yet it ended after nine years in his being terminated.  And while his successes at Georgia were relatively unprecedented for the Bulldog program, in absolute terms he failed to make the school a consistent top-tier SEC power, much less relevant on the national stage.

Juxtapose this with the unsoiled promise of a mid-major coach who has yet to prove himself one way or the other at a Power 6 school.  That type of hire brings with it a sense of unlimited upside with the vacuum of those candidates experience creating an almost irrational sense of hope and little consideration of downside.   Thus, it is not surprising that upon first take most Cal fans are left mildly disappointed with the appointment of Fox.

The staff here at Bear Insider understands and sympathizes with that sentiment, as it’s not far off our initial reactions.   One of the criteria we laid out for the hire was generating excitement and energy around the program and that’s not something that Fox provides simply by signing his name on a contract.    As we’ve had the chance to dig deeper and talk to some of the most prominent and well-respected voices in college basketball, we find ourselves reconsidering the gut reaction with an ever-increasing feeling of optimism.

The obvious wins with the hire of Fox are firstly the instant improvement in the leadership from where we were less than a week ago.  Secondly, we’ve hired someone with tremendous character and integrity which are essential at Cal and even more so in the current climate in college basketball, where the FBI has uncovered what can best be reflected as the tip of the iceberg when it comes to under the table payments to recruits and their families.   Lastly, Fox represents a very high floor.  The chances of his not having a measure of success in Berkeley is exceptionally low given his fourteen-year resume as a head man.    

Context is important here in two regards.  First, the decision to terminate Wyking Jones after only two seasons came with a cost to Cal.   Jim Knowlton and Carol Christ have an ambitious vision for Cal athletics including a transformation of the development approach and team to fully unlock the value of Cal’s alumni base as donors.  They are less than 12 months into that process with the new Chief of Development, Brian Mann, having only been in Berkeley for less than 6 weeks.   The ability to break the bank and reach for the stars in a basketball head coach is clearly an aspiration for the department, but one that will take time and hard work to fully realize.  Secondly, Cal has work to do with regard to overall student athletic facilities and specifically a dedicated basketball practice facility to even be on marginally even footing with the rest of the Pac-12.   The net is that Cal was not in a position to hire the “perfect” coach.   What it could do was make the decision to terminate a struggling head coach after only two seasons (which is exceptionally rare) and clearly upgrade the position.

The alternatives to Cal’s choice of Fox all had their set of risks and warts.   Principally among them was betting on a successful low or mid-major coach.   A step up in competition, the premium on recruiting (even to the level that Fox achieved) and the data that shows that most of these coaches clearly fail at Power 6 schools were an obvious factor in the choice of Fox.  While there were some compelling candidates, especially when filtered through a criterion of selling hope, objectively they represented a far lower floor and more risk.   This at a time when Cal is coming off a head coach that represented huge risk given his lack of a resume.

While looking at Fox’s tenure at Georgia, context also plays a role.  Georgia has been a deserted wasteland for college basketball for decades.   Since 1950, no Georgia head coach who lasted longer than one season posted a winning career record in Athens other than Hugh Durham and Mark Fox.  In the five seasons preceding Fox taking over Georgia, the team had won a total of 22 SEC games.  Georgia is a program without tradition or any sustained period of success.   Against that backdrop, Fox’s record at Georgia may not be viewed as exceptional but certainly is impressive. 

Mark Fox’s resume as it relates to scheme, teaching and player development are strong.  His teams consistently played top-tier defense, and defense wins in college basketball.  He’s a coach with a chip on his shoulder, hungry to wipe the exit at Georgia from his resume.   His X’s and O’s and teaching pedigree are endorsed in fulsome fashion with his recent tenure with Team USA and the praise he received from coaching luminaries in today's press release.   Bear Insider has had a chance to source further references from a half dozen industry experts and the praise has been universal and unstinting.  Folks who know Pac-12 basketball exceptionally well and have no affiliation with Cal or with Coach Fox have been effusive in their praise of Fox and the fit at Cal.   

His inability to keep Georgia at the top of the SEC and part of the national discussion can be traced squarely to his inability to recruit enough talent, especially talent that can score.   That capped his upside in Athens and will be his biggest challenge in Berkeley, especially after spending the last decade on the East Coast.   His choice of former Stanford head coach Trent Johnson as his top assistant is a self-aware action from Fox as Johnson cannot only provide sage advice as a long time head coach but unlike Fox, Johnson's reputation as a recruiter is well established.   If Fox can fill in the remaining two assistant positions with at least one strong recruiter with a West Coast network, there’s a real possibility that Cal could hit a home run with their choice of Mark Fox.  

The news of Wyking Jones departure and Mark Fox’s hire are not the beginning and end of this story.  Expect to hear some very good news with regard to donations and facilities upgrades in the near future.   Cal’s basketball brand has been diminished in the past two seasons and needs to be rebuilt.  That starts with experienced. competent leadership and continues with substantial donations that benefit not only basketball but the athletic department as a whole. 

In short, we are cautiously optimistic.

Discussion from...

The Decision to Hire Mark Fox

socaltownie
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Thank you!!
socaliganbear
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"Keep Georgia at the top of the sec" lol wut
BearGreg
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Staff
socaliganbear said:

"Keep Georgia at the top of the sec" lol wut
Mark Fox finished 2nd once and 3rd twice in the 14 team SEC. He was extended as a result and then fired when failed to sustain that level of success.
oskirules
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14 schools in the SEC, top half in 5 seasons, bottom half in 4 seasons. This year, Tom Crean took Georgia to 11-21 overall, 2-16 in conference.
85Bear
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Thank you for talking me off the ledge. I'm going to take a wait-and-see attitude.
socaliganbear
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BearGreg said:

socaliganbear said:

"Keep Georgia at the top of the sec" lol wut
Mark Fox finished 2nd once and 3rd twice in the 16 team SEC. He was extended as a result and then fired when failed to sustain that level of success.


He was fired because he didn't win a single ncaa tournament game those years. It's solid mediocrity. But sure, he'll do better with Cal's superior resources and easier admit process.

I just hope JK didn't mess up the buyout too. That's the silver lining.
BearGreg
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Staff
Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?
socaliganbear
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BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?


As a comparison, it's be less relevant than the money they have, or facilities, or general attitude towards athletics.

His very long Georgia tenure is very clearly mediocre. We went out and hired mediocrity. This is not a wild claim.
socaltownie
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socaliganbear said:

BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?


As a comparison, it's be less relevant than the money they have, or facilities, or general attitude towards athletics.

His very long Georgia tenure is very clearly mediocre. We went out and hired mediocrity. This is not a wild claim.
I have moved past my grief. I would advise as well.

Because I think the right question is posed by the nice long post from BI - this is probably the BEST resume we could get for a P5 coach. Even a guy like Howland is probably, at present, out of our price range.

It was either unknown hope with low floor on a mid-major or this sort of hire. Support the program. Get it to a place to be better in 4 years.

#teamhope
tsubamoto2001
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Blind optimism to think this is a good hire. Not saying or hoping Fox will fail. Heck, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he'll succeed. But it's unlikely.

To sell us that he was the best option is disingenuous, IMO. Yeah, I'd take DeCuire or Turner over Fox. There's at least upside there. It's not like Fox was successful at Georgia, regardless of how you want to paint that picture. Didn't win a single NCAA game and the highest seed he earned was a 10. He could not recruit well enough there, especially the Atlanta area (Jaylen Brown barely considered UGa).

All that said, I'll give him a chance. The leash should be short, though. There's enough talent in the program to be decent.
joe amos yaks
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Most excellent hire. I'm very optimistic.
Big Dog
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how hungry is Trent Johnson? (He's getting up there in age.) Does he still have the fire in the belly to live on the recruiting trail? (I doubt it.)

oskidunker
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Agree. Will support Fox. My guess is we will be vastly improved. Defense will be better. Offensive scheme will be better. Give him a chance. Recruiting is the key. Let's see what he can do and what players he can get. He is a teacher of fundamentals , which we badly need.

Will Renew and an excited about next season let's get back to winning most home games. Let's be competitive let's recruit. Give this guy a chance. The alternative was keeping Jones. Now we have hope.
“The interesting thing about coaching is that you have to trouble the comfortable, and comfort the troubled.”
Ric Charlesworth,
socaltownie
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tsubamoto2001 said:

Blind optimism to think this is a good hire. Not saying or hoping Fox will fail. But to sell us that he was the best option is ridiculous, IMO. Yeah, I'd take DeCuire or Turner over Fox. It's not like Fox was successful at Georgia, regardless of how you want to paint that picture. He could not recruit well enough there, especially the Atlanta area (Jaylen Brown barely considered UGa).
Cause Maybe Georgia is everything that is bad with a traditional SEC Southern school for african americans - with 8% of its student body black (70% white) in a state with a AA population of 30%.

Now Cal also has a problem with reflecting the diversity of our state (but it is mostly an extreme underrepresentation of the fastest growing segment - latino and latina students).

There is a REASON the SEC has to pay players. Welcome to 1840.
socaltownie
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Big Dog said:

how hungry is Trent Johnson? (He's getting up there in age.) Does he still have the fire in the belly to live on the recruiting trail? (I doubt it.)


I just don't see guys like Trent taking the job because they HAVE to. It isn't like he doesn't KNOW this is the gig. Round out the staff with 2 young bloods willing to hit the road and I think we are in good shape.
tsubamoto2001
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Their football program doesn't have a problem recruiting.

And Crean's first class is really good, with a commitment from Top 5 guard Anthony Edwards. And they'll likely land Shareef's son, since Crean hired the uncle.

socaltownie said:

tsubamoto2001 said:

Blind optimism to think this is a good hire. Not saying or hoping Fox will fail. But to sell us that he was the best option is ridiculous, IMO. Yeah, I'd take DeCuire or Turner over Fox. It's not like Fox was successful at Georgia, regardless of how you want to paint that picture. He could not recruit well enough there, especially the Atlanta area (Jaylen Brown barely considered UGa).
Cause Maybe Georgia is everything that is bad with a traditional SEC Southern school for african americans - with 8% of its student body black (70% white) in a state with a AA population of 30%.

Now Cal also has a problem with reflecting the diversity of our state (but it is mostly an extreme underrepresentation of the fastest growing segment - latino and latina students).

There is a REASON the SEC has to pay players. Welcome to 1840.
wifeisafurd
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socaliganbear said:

BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?


As a comparison, it's be less relevant than the money they have, or facilities, or general attitude towards athletics.

His very long Georgia tenure is very clearly mediocre. We went out and hired mediocrity. This is not a wild claim.
This is painful to admit, but mediocre is a major improvement. Still not my first or second choice.
socaliganbear
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The irony in this article is pointing to low success rate of guys making the jump to p6 jobs as evidence that Fox was the better choice. After a decade without a single tournament win, Fox is actually that guy. He's the guy that didn't work out.
tsubamoto2001
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This is basically like UCLA hiring Steve Alford (failure at Iowa) except Fox didn't have to redeem himself at a midmajor like Alford did because he had Jeff Van gundy and some other friends say nice things about him.
socaliganbear
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tsubamoto2001 said:

This is basically like UCLA hiring Steve Alford (failure at Iowa) except Fox didn't have to redeem himself at a midmajor like Alford did because he had Jeff Van gundy and some other friends say nice things about him.
Fortunately for him, UCLA basketball recruits itself so his limitations were masked by 5* players for a few years.
OaktownBear
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socaltownie said:

socaliganbear said:

BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?


As a comparison, it's be less relevant than the money they have, or facilities, or general attitude towards athletics.

His very long Georgia tenure is very clearly mediocre. We went out and hired mediocrity. This is not a wild claim.
I have moved past my grief. I would advise as well.

Because I think the right question is posed by the nice long post from BI - this is probably the BEST resume we could get for a P5 coach. Even a guy like Howland is probably, at present, out of our price range.

It was either unknown hope with low floor on a mid-major or this sort of hire. Support the program. Get it to a place to be better in 4 years.

#teamhope
When Sonny Dykes was hired it was said over and over that he was the best coach we could get with Head Coaching experience. And my response was, then you don't hire a coach with head coaching experience.

I acknowledge since we have the lowest salary in a power conference that this was the best resume we could buy fro a power conference. So you don't hire a head coach from a power conference.

I refuse to play the cautiously optimistic game. This hire was at best massively uninspired and has very little upside. It is possible that he succeeds. If he does, fine. Call me when that happens. I'm not going to spend the meantime prancing around like a pink fluffy unicorn pretending that it will probably work. I already played that game with Dykes.

I don't care what the context is. I don't care what Georgia's history is. (and whatever the history is, I doubt they spend less on basketball than we do). 9 years losing record in conference. You do not hire a losing coach under any circumstances. Let him change that record somewhere else. Ask Udub about playing the "Keith Gilbertson is really a great coach who had a losing record at Cal because Cal is a weak program" game.

1. Ask yourself what is the hit rate on coaches with his record succeeding at the next stop without dropping down a level.

2. Ask yourself why the internet is laughing at us.
OaktownBear
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BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?
Hey, look. I get it. It is hard to deal with Cal having sold out the basketball program for at least five years. Grasping at any positives is a normal reaction, because the alternative is too terrible to deal with. It's not a healthy reaction, but it is a normal one.

I think UCLA should hire Wyking Jones. Their history is far better than ours. I'm sure they can make a winner out of him.
calumnus
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socaliganbear said:

The irony in this article is pointing to low success rate of guys making the jump to p6 jobs as evidence that Fox was the better choice. After a decade without a single tournament win, Fox is actually that guy. He's the guy that didn't work out.


Exactly. You take a chance on promoting a mid-major or a top assistant, then they show if they can hack it at the next level, if not, you fire them and try again. The rich programs poach the guys that prove themselves at the next level. Only a stupid program hires a guy that has proven he cannot hack it at the next level.
calumnus
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OaktownBear said:

socaltownie said:

socaliganbear said:

BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?


As a comparison, it's be less relevant than the money they have, or facilities, or general attitude towards athletics.

His very long Georgia tenure is very clearly mediocre. We went out and hired mediocrity. This is not a wild claim.
I have moved past my grief. I would advise as well.

Because I think the right question is posed by the nice long post from BI - this is probably the BEST resume we could get for a P5 coach. Even a guy like Howland is probably, at present, out of our price range.

It was either unknown hope with low floor on a mid-major or this sort of hire. Support the program. Get it to a place to be better in 4 years.

#teamhope
When Sonny Dykes was hired it was said over and over that he was the best coach we could get with Head Coaching experience. And my response was, then you don't hire a coach with head coaching experience.

I acknowledge since we have the lowest salary in a power conference that this was the best resume we could buy fro a power conference. So you don't hire a head coach from a power conference.

I refuse to play the cautiously optimistic game. This hire was at best massively uninspired and has very little upside. It is possible that he succeeds. If he does, fine. Call me when that happens. I'm not going to spend the meantime prancing around like a pink fluffy unicorn pretending that it will probably work. I already played that game with Dykes.

I don't care what the context is. I don't care what Georgia's history is. (and whatever the history is, I doubt they spend less on basketball than we do). 9 years losing record in conference. You do not hire a losing coach under any circumstances. Let him change that record somewhere else. Ask Udub about playing the "Keith Gilbertson is really a great coach who had a losing record at Cal because Cal is a weak program" game.

1. Ask yourself what is the hit rate on coaches with his record succeeding at the next stop without dropping down a level.

2. Ask yourself why the internet is laughing at us.


This is worse than hiring Dykes. (Setting aside the poor cultural fit) Dykes was the equivalent of a mid-major hire where he had some success. He was mediocre or worse at Cal so he got fired and moved back down to a mid-major (SMU).

When Georgia hired Fox out of Nevada (a mid-major) they took a reasonable chance on a guy who had some success at a lower level. He proved he couldn't hack it at that level. His next job should have been at a mid-major.

Cal hiring Fox is like if Texas had hired Dykes after he was fired from Cal.
OaktownBear
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joe amos yaks said:

Most excellent hire. I'm very optimistic.
You supported Wyking Jones
You supported the decision to retain him
You then supported the decision to fire him
You supported the AD's process where he retained then fired him
You now support this.

If you are just a very supportive guy, great. The world needs guys like you.
KoreAmBear
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calumnus said:

OaktownBear said:

socaltownie said:

socaliganbear said:

BearGreg said:

Curious how you would compare Georgia's tradition in basketball and historical recruiting success (including NBA alums) versus Cal's?


As a comparison, it's be less relevant than the money they have, or facilities, or general attitude towards athletics.

His very long Georgia tenure is very clearly mediocre. We went out and hired mediocrity. This is not a wild claim.
I have moved past my grief. I would advise as well.

Because I think the right question is posed by the nice long post from BI - this is probably the BEST resume we could get for a P5 coach. Even a guy like Howland is probably, at present, out of our price range.

It was either unknown hope with low floor on a mid-major or this sort of hire. Support the program. Get it to a place to be better in 4 years.

#teamhope
When Sonny Dykes was hired it was said over and over that he was the best coach we could get with Head Coaching experience. And my response was, then you don't hire a coach with head coaching experience.

I acknowledge since we have the lowest salary in a power conference that this was the best resume we could buy fro a power conference. So you don't hire a head coach from a power conference.

I refuse to play the cautiously optimistic game. This hire was at best massively uninspired and has very little upside. It is possible that he succeeds. If he does, fine. Call me when that happens. I'm not going to spend the meantime prancing around like a pink fluffy unicorn pretending that it will probably work. I already played that game with Dykes.

I don't care what the context is. I don't care what Georgia's history is. (and whatever the history is, I doubt they spend less on basketball than we do). 9 years losing record in conference. You do not hire a losing coach under any circumstances. Let him change that record somewhere else. Ask Udub about playing the "Keith Gilbertson is really a great coach who had a losing record at Cal because Cal is a weak program" game.

1. Ask yourself what is the hit rate on coaches with his record succeeding at the next stop without dropping down a level.

2. Ask yourself why the internet is laughing at us.


This is worse than hiring Dykes. (Setting aside the poor cultural fit) Dykes was the equivalent of a mid-major hire where he had some success. He was mediocre or worse at Cal so he got fired and moved back down to a mid-major (SMU).

When Georgia hired Fox out of Nevada (a mid-major) they took a reasonable chance on a guy who had some success at a lower level. He proved he couldn't hack it at that level. His next job should have been at a mid-major.

Cal hiring Fox is like if Texas had hired Dykes after he was fired from Cal.
Ouch.
BEAR2dBONE
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Keeping / retaining / incenting David Grace, Cal assistant a possibility ???
bluesaxe
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OaktownBear said:




2. Ask yourself why the internet is laughing at us.
Second time at least you've brought that up, and I find it odd. I couldn't care less what "the internet" says because it's mostly full of crap. Not a fan of the hire, not a fan of the process, but I actually do put some weight on the coaches quoted and no weight on the internet.
OaktownBear
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bluesaxe said:

OaktownBear said:




2. Ask yourself why the internet is laughing at us.
Second time at least you've brought that up, and I find it odd. I couldn't care less what "the internet" says because it's mostly full of crap. Not a fan of the hire, not a fan of the process, but I actually do put some weight on the coaches quoted and no weight on the internet.
You can always find people, especially in the coaching fraternity to say nice things. You will pretty much never have a coach who will go on record saying a hire sucked. It happens with every hire. Let me change "the internet is laughing at us" to neutral sports media who have chimed in have been extremely critical and largely mocking of the hire.
BearGreg
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Staff
OTB - Appreciate your thoughtful comments.

A data point for you and a question:

Not trying to change your mind in the least but we talked to six coaches/senior media analysts today and off the record, they all said glowing things about Fox.

What's your view of Steve Lavin (oops)as a coach and his resume? Were you surprised no one hired him for eight years after he won 65% of his games at UCLA and had an elite eight and four sweet sixteens?
tsubamoto2001
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Alford never went to an Elite 8 and he made 3 Sweet 16's, the first 2 were due to favorable draws (playing double digit seeds in the 2nd round.

The Alford hire when it happened was widely hated by UCLA fans.

BearGreg said:

OTB - Appreciate your thoughtful comments.

A data point for you and a question:

Not trying to change your mind in the least but we talked to six coaches/senior media analysts today and off the record, they all said glowing things about Fox.

What's your view of Steve Alford as a coach and his resume? Were you surprised no one hired him for eight years after he won 65% of his games at UCLA and had an elite eight and four sweet sixteens?
calumnus
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OaktownBear said:

bluesaxe said:

OaktownBear said:




2. Ask yourself why the internet is laughing at us.
Second time at least you've brought that up, and I find it odd. I couldn't care less what "the internet" says because it's mostly full of crap. Not a fan of the hire, not a fan of the process, but I actually do put some weight on the coaches quoted and no weight on the internet.
You can always find people, especially in the coaching fraternity to say nice things. You will pretty much never have a coach who will go on record saying a hire sucked. It happens with every hire. Let me change "the internet is laughing at us" to neutral sports media who have chimed in have been extremely critical and largely mocking of the hire.


Exactly. Everyone who was ever fired for justifiable reasons still has friends/former colleagues who will write them glowing recommendations. That's what friends are for.
stu
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After getting over the shock, some reflection, a long bike ride, and time for the endorphins to dissipate I find myself OK with hiring Mark Fox. I expect, like many others, that the floor is pretty high but the ceiling might not be that much higher. My concerns, in order of my personal priorities:

Will he run a squeaky clean program?

Will he be able to deal with Cal academics?

Will he be able to deal with Cal administration?

Will he get the most out of his players?

Will he be able to recruit 4-year players good enough to keep us competitive? This might be the most questionable aspect of the hire, but if he takes care of the others I'll be satisfied.
ducky23
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BearGreg said:

OTB - Appreciate your thoughtful comments.

A data point for you and a question:

Not trying to change your mind in the least but we talked to six coaches/senior media analysts today and off the record, they all said glowing things about Fox.




Honest question.

How atypical is it to get such glowing remarks about a hire?

Since none of us really talk to coaches/media analysts for a living, it's hard to know how excited to get about glowing remarks since we don't know if the same sources often provide negative remarks
OaktownBear
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BearGreg said:

OTB - Appreciate your thoughtful comments.

A data point for you and a question:

Not trying to change your mind in the least but we talked to six coaches/senior media analysts today and off the record, they all said glowing things about Fox.

What's your view of Steve Lavin (oops)as a coach and his resume? Were you surprised no one hired him for eight years after he won 65% of his games at UCLA and had an elite eight and four sweet sixteens?
Greg:

How often have you had a coach tell you a coach your school just hired sucks? Monty was saying on television broadcasts what a great job that Braun was doing in Braun's last year and he is about as brutally honest as they come. I'm not surprised at all that you would get good reviews. He did a good job at Nevada. He was entirely deserving of the opportunity he got at Georgia. He failed in that opportunity. The Georgia fans are emphatic that he sucked. How do you explain that? They know sucking. They have had decades of sucking. And they got rid of him.

Question: Do you think MustangGreg from SMU found 6 coaches and media analysts that said that Sonny Dykes was awesome. I'm sure he did. I've heard them. Think about Sonny Dykes, Greg. He has a ton of support from coaches and media analysts. You want him back? You are putting way too much stock in "experts" when you have lots of data on the table.

Experts opinions are only good for what you don't know. If a weatherman says it will rain tomorrow, I listen. If he says it is raining right now and it isn't, I don't listen. Bottom line data point. He has a losing record in conference. He had 9 years. And he had a losing record in conference over his last 3 years. That is all on him. How does that change under Cal. You really think we are in that much better of a position than Georgia? Udub certainly thought their awesomeness compared to Cal was going to make Gilby okay. Then they thought their awesomeness was going to make Willingham okay. Then Stanford thought their awesomeness was going to make Walt Harris okay. I don't believe in our awesomeness, Greg. You don't hire a losing coach. Period end of story. Let him rehabilitate somewhere else.

I'm not sure where you are going with your Alford question, but I assume that it has something to do with judging him based on his record on paper. 1. No one hired him true. 2. No one was going to hire Mark Fox until Cal came along. 3. I'm not an expert on Alford. I do, however, know UCLA. It is a storied program with huge recruiting advantages. Any coach should do well there. Everyone expects it and they just don't look at 12-6 at UCLA the same way they look at 12-6 most places. Nor should they. The advantage to coaching at UCLA is you have everything you need to win. The disadvantage is everyone knows that so you better not only win but excel. On top of that, Alford sucked at Iowa. So, no it doesn't surprise me that people are laying off a coach that succeeded some at UCLA after sucking at his other Power conference job. If I were looking at a coach from UCLA, I'd throw out his tenure there from my calculation. In the case of Alford, that would leave me with a guy who looks like Mark Fox. Pass.

So this is what I would challenge you to. How many coaches who had a conference record in a power conference job as bad as or worse than Fox, went on to success at another power conference? Then compare how many didn't go on to success. Then especially think of how many did it by going straight to another Power conference job without a tenure at a mid major first. If you do that honestly and still feel great about this, okay.

You have the statistics and everything you need to know. You don't need to ask 6 coaches and media analysts. You knew the answer when the hire went down. You just want a lifeline. It reminds me of the Dykes era when we'd get the posts that went something like "I was really upset after that 112-17 loss but I watched it again on DVR. It really wasn't that bad. Here's why."

You don't hire a losing coach from anywhere for any reason. You know you don't. It's a bad hire, Greg. You knew it this morning and deep inside you know it now. If this were another school that you are not emotionally attached to making this hire and you had all the info you have, you'd say this hire is a stinker (which is what everyone is saying). I get it. You have to cover Cal going forward. I don't. I don't have to find a coping mechanism. I can just ignore.
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