Cal hires former Stanford coach Montgomery to take over program Print
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Friday, 04 April 2008 16:13
NCAAB Headline News


 BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -California has turned to its biggest rival to find its new basketball coach, hiring former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery on Friday to replace the fired Ben Braun.
Montgomery was to be officially introduced at a news conference on campus Saturday, the school said.
Montgomery, who spent 18 years with the Cardinal, has been out of coaching since August 2006 when he was let go after two seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. He has announced college games and been an assistant athletic director at Stanford while still collecting money from the final two years of his contract with Golden State.
Braun was fired last week after 12 seasons as coach when the Bears missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years. Montgomery made the tournament his final 10 years at Stanford, winning at least one game each time.
Whether Montgomery could continue that streak at Cal would depend heavily on the decision leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Anderson makes about the NBA draft. Anderson said Thursday he would test the waters by declaring, but would not sign with an agent to leave the option open of returning to school for his junior year.
If he does come back, Montgomery would have a solid nucleus with Anderson, shooting guard Patrick Christopher and forwards Jamal Boykin and Theo Robertson. One of the first orders of business will be shoring up a defense that was a weakness last year and a strength of Montgomery's teams at Stanford.
Despite having likely future NBA players in Anderson, Christopher and senior DeVon Hardin, Braun could only lead Cal to a ninth-place finish in the Pac-10 this season, going 17-16 overall and just 6-12 in the conference.
Montgomery was a successful college coach before leaving for the NBA following the 2004 season. He took over a Stanford program that hadn't been to the NCAA tournament since 1942 and led the Cardinal to 12 tournament trips in 18 seasons. He had a 25-12 record against Cal.
Under his guidance, Stanford became one of the dominant teams in the Pac-10 and made it to the Final Four in 1998 before losing in overtime to eventual champion Kentucky in the semifinals.
Montgomery has a career college coaching record of 547-244, including eight seasons at Montana.
Braun took Cal to the third round of the NCAA tournament in his first year taking over for Todd Bozeman. But he won only two more tournament games in his final 11 seasons. Cal did win the NIT in 1999 and make three straight trips to the NCAA tournament from 2001-03, before struggling in recent years as other conference programs have improved. The Bears have placed eighth or ninth in the Pac-10 in three of the last four years.
 

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