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April 4, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. ? California reportedly has turned to its biggest rival to find its new basketball coach, agreeing in principle Friday with former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery on a contract to replace the fired Ben Braun.
ESPN.com was first to report the news, citing an unidentified source with knowledge of the negotiations. School spokesman John Sudsbury declined to comment and athletic director Sandy Barbour did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.
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.
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.