BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -Mike Montgomery made his way across the Bay on Saturday, taking over the California men's basketball program with promises to take the Golden Bears to the same heights he reached at Stanford.
Wearing a blue shirt and gold tie after 18 years in Cardinal red, the veteran coach agreed to a six-year contract at Cal nearly four years after he left Stanford for a dismal stint with the Golden State Warriors. Montgomery won 393 games and four Pac-10 titles at Stanford, and he sees no reason Cal can't enjoy the same success.
``I'm sure when I show up next year at Maples (Pavilion), they won't have the welcome wagon out,'' Montgomery said. ``But that's part of the experience. ... You will never get me to say anything bad about Stanford. I love the place. They were great to me, and now I'm here.''
Montgomery replaces Ben Braun, who was fired last week after 12 mostly unsuccessful years at Cal, including a ninth-place finish in the Pac-10 this season. After Montgomery left Stanford for his NBA dalliance, the school hired former Montgomery assistant Trent Johnson, who led the Cardinal to a high national ranking and the third round of the NCAA tournament this season.
The Warriors abruptly replaced Montgomery with Don Nelson in August 2006 after two losing seasons. Montgomery has been a broadcaster and an assistant to Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby since then.
``I think I belong in college basketball,'' said Montgomery, who also coached eight successful years at Montana before going to Stanford in 1986. ``I think I proved that. Maybe I would have liked a little longer to prove it.''
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