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The Cal Men's Basketball Head Coaching Search

March 26, 2023
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When the past six years mark the absolute nadir for not only your basketball program but arguably any Power 5 basketball program in history, the search for new leadership takes on extra weight.

When Mark Fox was let go on March  9th, it wasn’t a surprise for anyone and Cal’s Athletic Department was prepared to kick off a very different search process than what brought Fox to Berkeley back in 2019.   That was a quick process, in which Athletic Director Jim Knowlton operated in an autonomous fashion, aided by Collegiate Sports Associates (CSA), an executive search firm that specializes in AD, Football, and Basketball head coaching searches.

While CSA is again involved in this search (and that is surprising given the last result with their involvement), Knowlton took a very different approach to replace Fox.  This time, he was prepared with a list of targets, a list that grew with input from CSA as well as from prominent basketball experts close to Cal.   He fielded calls and sat down with a large number of donors who were galvanized to put the program on a stronger footing both to help attract a top-tier coach as well as to support that individual once they were in place.   

Knowlton further reached out to former players to let them know that he wanted a more inclusive program going forward and that their involvement was critical to get the Bears back to the level of solid though not spectacular success they had enjoyed for over thirty years.  

Before kicking off the search, Knowlton wanted to make sure that he had both internal and external support for more funding and resources to support a program that had struggled in part due to below-market salaries for its coaches, recruiting, team travel to go along with a lack of a dedicated practice facility (all of which are table stakes in today's Power 5 basketball world).   Reports suggest that significant University support is now in place to go along with potential donor pledges for both NIL and a dedicated discretionary fund (the equivalent of Cal’s Caliber fund for Football).    Cal’s notorious challenging admissions were reminded of the academic success currently being enjoyed throughout the Athletic Department and especially in football and basketball with an eye towards creating more flexibility.  While the practice facility remains a question mark, the other necessary ingredients had been brought together in advance of the search for a new leader.  

Much of that support hinged on hiring a head coach that would be able to cement donor interest and rejuvenate fan support for a team that had seen attendance fall to the very bottom of Power 5 programs.

Cal is in desperate need of a hoops leader who can invigorate the key constituencies from NIL donors to traditional boosters to former players and the fan base.   This is a turnaround and will require boundless energy, resilience and an ability to marshall support from every corner of Cal’s basketball ecosystem.   Winning is generally the fastest way to make that happen and in college hoops, the fastest way to win is to find talent.   Beyond the innate desire and talent to recruit top-tier players, NIL donations are an absolute prerequisite to creating the type of talent infusion so desperately needed at Haas Pavilion.

The criteria for the new Head Coach became obvious and clear:

  • A top-flight recruiter who had done it successfully at the P5 level AND who both embraced and could navigate today's NIL world
  • A proven head coach who had won consistently, competing and winning for conference titles and earning bids to the NCAA tournament
  • Someone who had the personality and make-up to both energize the fanbase and overcome some of Cal’s inherent challenges (admissions, facilities, a notoriously recalcitrant bureaucracy)
  • Ideally, someone with West Coast ties and an understanding of both Cal’s potential and challenges 

Armed with the momentum around increased resources and improved circumstances, Cal wanted to reach for the stars.   While Dennis Gates’ recently signed extension with Missouri took him out of the running (An $11M+ buyout), that didn’t mean the Chris Beards, Jamie Dixons, Randy Bennetts couldn’t be considered.   There are rumors from multiple sources that a potential grand slam home run was briefly intrigued though apparently, that flirtation did not result in any material conversations.  

Randy Bennett did emerge as a possibility and became a favorite, perhaps the favorite.   The allure was understandable.  He had built a top 20 program from a tiny school only 25 minutes from Cal’s campus.   Bennett’s a future HOF coach whose resume as a winner is unimpeachable.   However, one can’t help but wonder at how well he lined up against the remainder of Cal’s criteria.   At 61, did he have the energy or appetite for a turnaround?   Could his style of recruiting and roster building translate to the Pac-12?   Would his laconic and reserved personality be able to successfully engage donors and fans?   Did he have any interest in delving into the world of raising money for NIL, much less navigating recruiting with this as the central theme?

Still, it appears he was the front-runner and likely received an offer last week.   An offer that he ostensibly turned down.   While Bennett represented the obvious, there was also the possibility Cal would look beyond the world of college basketball to find its new leader.  NBA assistants such as Damon Stoudamire and Jason Terry were rumored to have been involved.   Stoudamire had a history in college basketball, yet only four days after Mark Fox was terminated he decided to take the Georgia Tech head job.   Terry may have had some appeal as a former Pac-12 and NBA star though his college resume was empty.   And the track record of former NBA players and assistants in the NBA coming to college as a head coach is not confidence inspiring.  

That left a group of up-and-coming college coaches.  Younger, with the energy and ambition likely required to clean up the current mess at Cal.  These were led by UCSBs head man, Joe Pasternack, who had a proven ability to land top-tier Power 5 talent as an assistant coach at both Cal and Arizona.   Pasternack reportedly coveted the job and had the support of several large Cal donors, including a large pledge for NIL if he were to get the role.   Amir Abdur-Rahim, fresh off an NCAA berth at Kenesaw State and a former ace recruiter at Texas A&M and Georgia was available and his family ties to the Bears were clearly compelling to fans and potential donors.   Stan Johnson at LMU had found more success in Westchester than any coach since Paul Westhead left in 1990 including big wins this season over St. Mary’s and Gonzaga.  He has the youth and charisma that had to figure prominently in Knowlton’s mind.  However, neither Abdur-Rahim nor Johnson have much of a track record as head coaches and had not come close to proving they could be consistent winners as head coaches (an important element given the impact a single player can have on a program for a season).   Mark Madsen was another obvious candidate.   A former college and NBA star that had sustained success (he inherited a strong program) at Utah Valley including two conference championships in the past three years.   He was unable to bring them to the NCAA tournament but is currently competing for an NIT title.   Madsen’s young, high energy, and charismatic.   Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much of a track record as a Power 5 recruiter with only one year at Stanford (a school that has historically recruited well without much impact from their coaching staff).   NIT experience?   

All four appeared to be finalists, given at least one and likely two interviews.   The interview process this time around was essential.   Without it, it’s very difficult to assess the candidate's ability to galvanize donors, navigate NIL, and what their approach would be to staff building, recruiting, and the overall turnaround process.   

According to our sources, in the end, Pasternack pulled out, and Abdur-Rahim and Johnson were not offered the job.   While the exclusion of Abdur-Rahim and Johnson is not surprising given their limited HC resumes and lack of consistent winning success, what happened to Pasternack’s candidacy?   

Jim Knowlton, despite the outreach and gathering of input from experts and donors in the process, is almost certainly making this decision an internal one.   He and his team within the AD are the ones choosing Cal’s next head coach and to our knowledge did not reach out to any donors or external advisors before making their decision.  That said, one has to wonder how much influence former Cal head coach Mike Montgomery and current Cal Assoc AD Jay John had on the final choice.   John, because he’s the only true Basketball person residing within Cal’s Athletic Department and Montgomery because the thesis on finalists laid out above leads to the conclusion that Mark Madsen will be Cal’s next head coach.   What’s notable is neither has any experience with the transfer portal and recruiting in the NIL era.

Montgomery coached Mark Madsen and is undoubtedly close to his former star.   Further, it’s been suggested that both he and Jay John were not fans of Pasternack’s, having had to compete with him at both Cal and Arizona as recruiters and on the court.   Pasternack is known for his fiery intensity and passion and clearly has the ability to get under the skin of his competitors.   And his association with Sean Miller at Arizona may further have fueled the animosity of the former Cal head coach who was known to be outspoken about anyone operating in the gray areas of recruiting.   

Interestingly, in today's college basketball, what was once considered “shady” is now business as usual with NIL.   It’s also not clear that a turnaround of the proportions that currently exist at Cal doesn’t automatically require a coach with a certain extra edginess and competitive fire.   While the above is speculation, it’s hard to find another rationale for why Cal may have passed on Joe Pasternack.   His recruiting resume, his on-the-court success, his knowledge of Cal, and the support he had within the Cal donor base all made him objectively a stronger candidate than Madsen.

In the end, it’s important that we all support Cal’s new head coach and it’s essential to be reminded that Knowlton’s job isn’t to win the process or the press conference announcing the new head coach, it’s about what the new coach does after he arrives in Berkeley that matters.  Whether it’s Madsen or someone else, we will have early feedback on donor (particularly NIL) support and recruiting.   That will be a non-trivial task as Madsen will not arrive with built-in support and the juxtaposition of his qualifications relative to Pasternack is almost certain to create disquiet and unhappiness among the donor base.  One of the further challenges in the desire to have a more considered and thoughtful search process is that the transfer portal is already open and Cal is not able to capitalize.   If the choice is Madsen and he cannot start until after the NIT, the Bears are further penalized.  

One thing to watch is if, in fact, the hire is Madsen is who he adds to his staff.  Will it include former Cal assistant John Montgomery?   Former coaches who advise on coaching searches are notoriously loyal to their former players and assistants.  Could Cal’s process have been derailed by a former great having his views pervade to the benefit of those he knows and loves best?   What’s painful here is of all the folks providing input to Knowlton on this process, the one whose least likely to write a donation or NIL check is in fact, Mike Montgomery.   Time will tell.   

Discussion from...

The Cal Men's Basketball Head Coaching Search

22,613 Views | 110 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by calumnus
JimSox
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BearlyCareAnymore said:

But if he broke rules, he never got caught.
Exactly. Perfect ethics. If you cheat (not saying he did), don't get caught.
bluesaxe
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calumnus said:

bluesaxe said:

calumnus said:

bluesaxe said:

calumnus said:

CaliforniaEternal said:

dan1997 said:

CaliforniaEternal said:

Madsen has a much more impressive basketball background than someone like Pasternack. That's not to say a non-player can't be a good coach, but I can see why a background as a player is a big plus in recruiting and coaching.
Incorrect...

Madsen .583 win % at Utah Valley with 0 NCAA Tournaments. 2 20+ win seasons. Has never recruited 4 or 5 star players. Inherited a good situation from Mark Pope. Team won 20+ games and into post-season each of his last 2 years before leaving for BYU and Madsen taking over. Madsen won 11 games his first year. Commuter school that he can get anyone into school.

Pasternack .714 win % at UCSB with 2 NCAA Tournaments. 5 20+ win seasons. Recruited numerous 4 and 5 star players. Gauchos won 6 games year before Pasternack took over. He led them to greatest turnaround in NCAA history, 17-wn improvement from season before with 23 wins in first season. One of top universities academically in the country that Joe figured out how to navigate through and is same system as Cal.

This one really isn't hard to connect the dots.


If Pasternack is such a turnaround artist why is he staying at UCSB instead of pursuing/being pursued by other higher profile jobs? Isn't this just a case of Cal being such a lowly program that the only coaches willing to throw their hat in the ring have some big question marks?

I'm not saying I think Madsen is a lock for success, but he may be a better personality for the Cal community and in terms of academics and walking into recruits living rooms, he will be every bit as good as Pasternack could be. If NIL is the separating factor, well, Cal isn't going to win many of those battles against bigger programs.


There were credibly BIG donors that were going to back Pasternack with major NIL. There were credibly Cal NBA players and former NBA players that were going to back Amir. I know some big Stanford money that would back Madsen if he was at Stanford. It will remain to be seen who backs Madsen at Cal. My guess is his support at Cal will be tepid, at least unless he surprises with a dramatic turnaround, which is not what he did at UVU. He took a program that went 25-10 the year before he arrived and went 11-19 his first year, but got back to 20+ wins by year 4.
He took over the program but the team was gone. It was a rebuild. That said, the money issue is the key. If you have the money, you can construct a quick turnaround.


Even under Pope, Utah Valley relied on transfers.

Madsen's high scorers his first year were returnees 6'7" junior SG Isaiah White from Tulsa and 6'0 senior PG TJ Washington from Rancho Cucamonga which he supplemented with transfers. Luxury to have an experienced backcourt with a senior PG.

3 seniors and 5 juniors. Woodbury, a 6'4" sophomore guard from Vegas was the only underclassman who played significant minutes.

Utah Valley in Ken Pom

2017-18 Pope 23-11 #92 rank #73 O #131 D
2018-19 Pope 25-10 #104 rank #96 O #131 D
2019-20 Madsen 11-19 #253 rank #277 O #215 D
2020-21 Madsen 11-11 #199 rank #207 O #215 D
2021-22 Madsen 20-12 #119 rank #184 O #87 D
2022-23 Madsen 28-8 #64 rank #117 O #30 D

This most recent team was by far his best, playing great defense (#1 in the country in blocks and #2 in the country in defensive rebounding), lead by 7'0 225lb junior Aziz Bandaogo from Senegal and the NBA Academy Africa by way of Akron where he transferred from after being little used for two years.

Otherwise his teams are not particularly efficient, but he does play fast, looking for shots in transition, which will be more entertaining than Fox's style.



Senior backcourt is nice, sure, but there were only three guys who stayed from Pope's team, one of whom had redshirted. Their starting guards and best players transferred to BYU. When's the last time you heard of someone with the cupboard that bare improving on a 23 win team? His first two seasons also were impacted by COVID, which had to hamper recruiting for his second season. It's a tough way to start.

Seems to me that he could be a very good choice to coach this team if only the personal and coaching aspects of the job are considered. But if he's not going to get the same level of support that someone else would have, that's a problem.


It was a 25 win team the year before (23 the year before that). And the amount of returning scoring that year was only slightly higher than Madsen's first year, I think 38%. UVU is a place that 20 wins is the norm. Restocking with transfers is the norm. No academic restrictions.

Sure COVID, sure it was his first HC job, there are excuses/explanations, but not a lot of evidence based on his record that he is actually a good coach until this year's NIT run which is largely based on one player's athletic ability as a defender. His offense has not been particularly efficient any year, even with a lot of scoring off turnovers this year, which is a red flag to me. The other candidates generally had better coaching resumes, is my point. Their examples of turning around programs that had not won before they arrived are better.

It does not mean he will NOT be a good coach at Cal. He is a good guy. People like him. He has the right coaching philosophy. Monty will help him. My hunch is he is good. There is just not a lot of evidence one way or the other and I don't think he is a great fit at Cal, starting with being a Stanford guy. I just think there is a strong chance he is another Wilcox for the next decade. We are taking a gamble with probably limited upside.

Of course, I hope he is great, enjoys beating Stanford by 40 points while shouting "Go Bears!" feels at home here, connects with Cal donors and gets us back to the Tournament and then foresakes offers from Stanford, Utah, Arizona and the NBA to stay at Cal. Or at least has a Cal alum top assistant who can take over when he leaves.

Fair enough. Though UVU only won 20 games 4 times in the ten years before Madsen took over. And Pope was below and at .500 his first two years too. I don't think AAR's record of turning things around is better at all. One season over .500, though it was a good one. But 19 total wins in 3 years before this. Pasternack, sure. Better track record.

Personally I'm not so bothered by the fact Madsen played at Stanford, having gotten over that when Montgomery was hired (I identified him with Stanford hoops way more than any particular player). I see more upside than you, but like I said he wouldn't have been my first choice. But we are where we are. I do hope he brings in some people with a history at Cal to help and engages with former players to get them into the fold. We all want the same things I think, for Madsen to turn out successful and for Knowlton to be gone before the season starts.
BearlyCareAnymore
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JimSox said:

BearlyCareAnymore said:

But if he broke rules, he never got caught.
Exactly. Perfect ethics. If you cheat (not saying he did), don't get caught.


That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying they have no proof he cheated. Get proof or you are just another sore loser.
Civil Bear
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bluesaxe said:

Civil Bear said:

HoopDreams said:

bluesaxe said:

BearlyCareAnymore said:

Civil Bear said:

bluesaxe said:




There are plenty of reasons to be disappointed in the process, and lots of arguments re the merits of the choice, but he didn't inherit much of anything and had to build up to where they were this year. Although UV went 23-11 and was overall 92 ranked in KenPom in 2018 under Pope, Madson definitely did NOT inherit that team His first team only returned one starter and one bench player who played significant minutes from 2018 and from what I can tell no one else. Their best players transferred to BYU with Pope. That's a full rebuild. Not surprisingly they lost more than they won in 2019. In 2020-21 he was at .500 with his own frosh and sophs but 9-4 in conference and in second place. Last year they were 20-12 overall but with a worse conference record. This year 28-8 and 1st in the WAC, with a KenPom rating (64) that was better than all but five teams in the Pac-12. They lost their conference final by a point but since then have beaten New Mexico, Cincinnati and Colorado in the NIT.

I also don't find the absence of four or five star recruits all that surprising at a school that has never made the NCAA tourney. How many four and five-stars play in the WAC do you think? Here there's a different product to sell. Will he be a good recruiter? Who knows but then we also don't know what kind of staff he'll put together.

He also has more than just Utah Valley on his coaching resume. He was an assistant at Stanford, a G-League head coach, and an NBA player development coach and assistant coach before getting to UV. He was a two-time All-American and a 9-year NBA player. That basketball background isn't bad at all.

He wasn't my first choice or my second choice, but if it's him I can see some positives for sure and no need to denigrate what he did at UV. Seems like a pretty solid job to me.

Yeah, I'm guessing if he played for Cal instead of the dirty 'furds he would have been closer to the second choice. A pre-Missoury Gates level hire.
Gates - His team improved from 9th to 7th his first year, then finished 1st twice.

Madsen - His team dropped six places in the standings his first year from 2nd to 8th, finished first, then dropped to seventh, then finished first.

Plot those on a graph and see how the lines compare.

And Missouri didn't bring Ben Braun in to offer him over more qualified candidates.

I'm guessing if he was hired to coach for the dirty 'furds instead of Cal, no one here would be comparing him to Dennis Gates. I don't care that he played for furd. I care that he played for the guy who had so much influence on the decision.
Put them on a graph and don't consider context at all? OK. He dropped six places in the standings with two players left over from Pope's team, none of whom were leading scorers and only one of whom started. And the progression was 8th, 2nd, 7th but with 12 more wins overall, then 1st. Criticizing his first year seems a bit like pointing out that Gates didn't improve Cleveland state more than one win his first year. Not really the right measure of whether he was doing anything right.
so why did he have only 2 players from the prior team?

because 8 transferred out when he was named coach

hmmm...
Those with eligibility remaining followed Pope to BYU.
Which isn't surprising for guys who signed with him. And coaching changes were often an excuse for players to look for greener grass before the changes in transfer rules ending waiting periods etc. Assuming it was a reaction to the hire as opposed to the coach leaving before the hire is a huge leap.
Agreed. And it makes you wonder why players that transferred out of Cal and those that bailed on their commitments didn't follow Martin to Missouri.
calumnus
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bluesaxe said:

calumnus said:

bluesaxe said:

calumnus said:

bluesaxe said:

calumnus said:

CaliforniaEternal said:

dan1997 said:

CaliforniaEternal said:

Madsen has a much more impressive basketball background than someone like Pasternack. That's not to say a non-player can't be a good coach, but I can see why a background as a player is a big plus in recruiting and coaching.
Incorrect...

Madsen .583 win % at Utah Valley with 0 NCAA Tournaments. 2 20+ win seasons. Has never recruited 4 or 5 star players. Inherited a good situation from Mark Pope. Team won 20+ games and into post-season each of his last 2 years before leaving for BYU and Madsen taking over. Madsen won 11 games his first year. Commuter school that he can get anyone into school.

Pasternack .714 win % at UCSB with 2 NCAA Tournaments. 5 20+ win seasons. Recruited numerous 4 and 5 star players. Gauchos won 6 games year before Pasternack took over. He led them to greatest turnaround in NCAA history, 17-wn improvement from season before with 23 wins in first season. One of top universities academically in the country that Joe figured out how to navigate through and is same system as Cal.

This one really isn't hard to connect the dots.


If Pasternack is such a turnaround artist why is he staying at UCSB instead of pursuing/being pursued by other higher profile jobs? Isn't this just a case of Cal being such a lowly program that the only coaches willing to throw their hat in the ring have some big question marks?

I'm not saying I think Madsen is a lock for success, but he may be a better personality for the Cal community and in terms of academics and walking into recruits living rooms, he will be every bit as good as Pasternack could be. If NIL is the separating factor, well, Cal isn't going to win many of those battles against bigger programs.


There were credibly BIG donors that were going to back Pasternack with major NIL. There were credibly Cal NBA players and former NBA players that were going to back Amir. I know some big Stanford money that would back Madsen if he was at Stanford. It will remain to be seen who backs Madsen at Cal. My guess is his support at Cal will be tepid, at least unless he surprises with a dramatic turnaround, which is not what he did at UVU. He took a program that went 25-10 the year before he arrived and went 11-19 his first year, but got back to 20+ wins by year 4.
He took over the program but the team was gone. It was a rebuild. That said, the money issue is the key. If you have the money, you can construct a quick turnaround.


Even under Pope, Utah Valley relied on transfers.

Madsen's high scorers his first year were returnees 6'7" junior SG Isaiah White from Tulsa and 6'0 senior PG TJ Washington from Rancho Cucamonga which he supplemented with transfers. Luxury to have an experienced backcourt with a senior PG.

3 seniors and 5 juniors. Woodbury, a 6'4" sophomore guard from Vegas was the only underclassman who played significant minutes.

Utah Valley in Ken Pom

2017-18 Pope 23-11 #92 rank #73 O #131 D
2018-19 Pope 25-10 #104 rank #96 O #131 D
2019-20 Madsen 11-19 #253 rank #277 O #215 D
2020-21 Madsen 11-11 #199 rank #207 O #215 D
2021-22 Madsen 20-12 #119 rank #184 O #87 D
2022-23 Madsen 28-8 #64 rank #117 O #30 D

This most recent team was by far his best, playing great defense (#1 in the country in blocks and #2 in the country in defensive rebounding), lead by 7'0 225lb junior Aziz Bandaogo from Senegal and the NBA Academy Africa by way of Akron where he transferred from after being little used for two years.

Otherwise his teams are not particularly efficient, but he does play fast, looking for shots in transition, which will be more entertaining than Fox's style.



Senior backcourt is nice, sure, but there were only three guys who stayed from Pope's team, one of whom had redshirted. Their starting guards and best players transferred to BYU. When's the last time you heard of someone with the cupboard that bare improving on a 23 win team? His first two seasons also were impacted by COVID, which had to hamper recruiting for his second season. It's a tough way to start.

Seems to me that he could be a very good choice to coach this team if only the personal and coaching aspects of the job are considered. But if he's not going to get the same level of support that someone else would have, that's a problem.


It was a 25 win team the year before (23 the year before that). And the amount of returning scoring that year was only slightly higher than Madsen's first year, I think 38%. UVU is a place that 20 wins is the norm. Restocking with transfers is the norm. No academic restrictions.

Sure COVID, sure it was his first HC job, there are excuses/explanations, but not a lot of evidence based on his record that he is actually a good coach until this year's NIT run which is largely based on one player's athletic ability as a defender. His offense has not been particularly efficient any year, even with a lot of scoring off turnovers this year, which is a red flag to me. The other candidates generally had better coaching resumes, is my point. Their examples of turning around programs that had not won before they arrived are better.

It does not mean he will NOT be a good coach at Cal. He is a good guy. People like him. He has the right coaching philosophy. Monty will help him. My hunch is he is good. There is just not a lot of evidence one way or the other and I don't think he is a great fit at Cal, starting with being a Stanford guy. I just think there is a strong chance he is another Wilcox for the next decade. We are taking a gamble with probably limited upside.

Of course, I hope he is great, enjoys beating Stanford by 40 points while shouting "Go Bears!" feels at home here, connects with Cal donors and gets us back to the Tournament and then foresakes offers from Stanford, Utah, Arizona and the NBA to stay at Cal. Or at least has a Cal alum top assistant who can take over when he leaves.

Fair enough. Though UVU only won 20 games 4 times in the ten years before Madsen took over. And Pope was below and at .500 his first two years too. I don't think AAR's record of turning things around is better at all. One season over .500, though it was a good one. But 19 total wins in 3 years before this. Pasternack, sure. Better track record.

Personally I'm not so bothered by the fact Madsen played at Stanford, having gotten over that when Montgomery was hired (I identified him with Stanford hoops way more than any particular player). I see more upside than you, but like I said he wouldn't have been my first choice. But we are where we are. I do hope he brings in some people with a history at Cal to help and engages with former players to get them into the fold. We all want the same things I think, for Madsen to turn out successful and for Knowlton to be gone before the season starts.



I agree with everything except your view of players and coaches. To me, the players and the fans are the program and ADs and coaches are hired help, mercenaries. For them it is a job. When one program offers a mercenary more, they leave and work there instead. Though the transfer portal and NIL is making the players more like mercenaries, the players are technically alums forever. I knew Monty at Stanford. I knew Monty at Cal. He was always Monty. He was not a raw raw guy either place. Not like former players are about their alma maters.

Think about if you, as a Cal alum were hired to coach Cal and you beat Stanford, how excited you would be. Cal Band playing Big C or Fight For California, you high fiving Oski. Imagine selling recruits on Cal, how your passion would come through.

Now think about if you as a Cal alum were hired to coach Stanford, and you beat Cal. Stanford Band playing All Right Now, you having to high five The Tree.

For me, I would be a passionate and tireless coach for Cal. For Stanford, it would be a job. I would take the money, sure. I would work hard, but I would honestly be conflicted when playing Cal. Even if subconsciously, it would be easier to coach anywhere else. Anywhere. Maybe that is just me, but I grew up around Stanford athletics, I have family members who played for them, but I take the rivalry seriously. Maybe others don't anymore.

I don't think Troy Taylor will do as well at Stanford as he would have done at Cal, but we will never know.
 
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