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2023 Cal Men's Basketball Head Coach: Big Board 2.0
We take a deeper dive into reach, attainable and backup options
The Write for California Basketball staff has worked on finding names and fits of coaches that we would like to see roaming the sidelines of Haas for Men’s Basketball starting next season. We’re moving on from the 1.0 board to the 2.0 board. We’re narrowing down our choices into reach within reason, attainable and the break in case of emergency group of hires.
Reach For the Stars
Current Position: Las Vegas Aces Head Coach
History: Experience at a high level as a player, NBA assistant coach, and WNBA head coach
Why: Her salary with the Aces is relatively low which means a buyout would be possible. She would bring immediate basketball acumen and resume to a program that has severely lacked that the last 6 years.
Stock: Hold. High profile and big name.
Current Position: St. Mary’s basketball Head Coach
History: Has been at St. Mary’s for 22 years
Why: Local hire that would not require a move at all. A financially feasible option for a coach with perennial top 25 program building pedigree. Would immediately raise the floor of the program and bring some level of expectation to the on court performance.
Stock: Hold. The same as it has been the last 3 years.
Current Position: Creighton Head Coach
History: Has been at Creighton for 12 years. Was at Iowa State before that. Took over Creighton when Dana Altman left to Oregon, because of a chance to coach his son.
Why: The best hire you can make outside of a sitting P5 Head Coach beyond the West Coast. Would immediately make Cal an attractive option across the country for recruits and raise the ceiling of the program to Elite8/Final4. If you want to make a splash in the College Basketball world, this would be it.
Stock: Rising. 3 straight Tournament appearances with 2 Sweet 16 berths in the last 3 years.
Very Much Attainable
Current Position: Utah State Head Coach
History: UMBC HC for the upset over #1 Seed Virginia in the 2018 March Madness Tournament. Took Utah State to the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round to Dennis Gates’ Mizzou
Why: A fun perimeter oriented offense from a rising Head coach. Has shown an ability to coach offense now at two different stops with success in the NCAA tournament. Continues his trajectory to higher conferences while moving west. Also very much financially doable for a competitive contract and paying the buy out of his current deal.
Stock: Rising. Should be in the mix for P5 jobs looking to take a swing on an upward trajectory head coach with an offensive lean.
Amir Abdur-Rahim (rumored to be in contention)
Current Position: Kennesaw State Head Coach
History: Brother of Cal Legend and Current NBA G-League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Spent time at TAMU (14-18) as an assistant and then also at Georgia under Tom Crean as a lead recruiter. Was pivotal in recruiting #1 Pick Anthony Edwards to Georgia
Why: A Cal connection via his brother would lay the groundwork to his connection to the Cal fanbase and community. He would bring P5 recruiting experience to a program in dire need of some recruiting wins. Coming off a NCAA tourney appearance he is a hot name in college basketball right now.
Stock: Rising but cautious. His stock is rising but the collapse of a double digit lead in the first round of the tournament might draw some reservation.
Current Position: Gonzaga Assistant Coach
History: Former Gonzaga Walk-On who gained a scholarship as a Senior and was a co-captain ofr the 2004-2005 season. 10 Years at Gonzaga, Started off as a Administrative Assistant in 2008 to Assistant Director of Basketball Operations before becoming an assistant coach in 2013 after the departure of Ray Giacoletti. He organized team and individual summer basketball camps as well as travel, schedules, and equipment orders when he first began at Gonzaga. Was integral in the development and recruitment of Kyle Wiltjer, Nigel Williams-Goss, Brandon Clarke, Byron Wesley and Johnathon Williams. Also recruited 4-star Julian Strawther. Has experience knowing the in’s and out’s of a top tier program by working. Got 3 games as interim HC in 2021-2022 to start the season
Why: He would carry immediate relevnce in the transfer portal and alaso in the recruiting circles. Coming from a winning program with National Championship relevance would help to bring some excitement back to Haas. This could be a Tommy Lloyd 2.0 situation with the right support staff and assistants to the first time Head Coach.
Stock: Hold. He’s a name that’s known but hasnt been linked to any openings at any level. Well see if he is linked when Gonzaga finishes its March Madness run.
Current Position: Xavier Associate Head Coach
History: Familiar with the West Coast, as he coached under Haase at Stanford, Lead Recruiter who landed Zaire Williams, KZ Okpala, Tyrell Terry for Stanford
Why: The west coast ties are huge with multiple NBA draftees that would help sell recruits to join the program. The fact that he moved to Xavier to be the Associate Head Coach after 7 years at Stanford means he is looking for the promotions and the opportunity to be a Head Coach. Coming back west to the Bay Area would be a no-brainer.
Stock: Rising. Xavier continues its play in the NCAA in the Sweet 16 against Texas. Will he be looked at for other G5 or West coast openings after this run?
Break In Case All Else Fails
Joe Pasternack (rumored to be in the running)
Current Position: UC-Santa Barbara Head Coach
History: Former Cal assistant from 01-07. Known for the infamous Jorge kick/trip. Lead assistant under Sean Miller at UA. 1 NCAA app in 5 years at UC-SB
Why: The Cal ties. The Pac-12 ties. The recruiting success. The mid-major success. It all makes sense on paper for him to raise the floor of the program to respectable.
Stock: Hold. He took UCSB with two former Pac-12 players to the NCAA Tournament. And it’s his second time in 3 years.
Current Position: University of Portland Head Coach
History: Former Cal player, but transferred. 1 NCAA appearance in 5 years as HC. EWU HC for 4 years before moving to Portland in 2022.
Why: The Cal ties are there and he is a rising coach. If you’re taking a gamble you would want to take it with a former player.
Stock: Falling. Started season off strong but lost 7 of final 9 games in WCC play
Current Position: UC-Irvine Head Coach
History: Coach Monty ties. Been at UCI since 2010. 7 Postseasons. 3 NCAA Berths.
Why: Same as the other 2 in this tier. Turner has a Cal connection via Montgomery. Pac-10 ties. Would also return the floor to respectable with solid play defensively on the court.
Stock: Falling. Hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 2019 and has not been linked to any jobs to move up in competition.
Tim Miles (mentioned as a candidate)
Current Position: San Jose State head coach
History: Has helped two general cellar dwellers in San Jose State and Nebraska to record seasons. Two NCAA berths and several NIT/CBI invites.
Why: He has the profile of elevating programs that have been historically bad and making them competitive. He’s local and easily gettable if interested.
Stock: Hold. Would not be an exciting hire but Miles can at least coach.
Some names that were removed from contention on this list:
Dennis Gates (signed a new extension until 2028 that pays him nearly $4 million a year)
Tara Van Der Veer (flamed the Stanford Men’s program, and only mentioned her so we could link her quote one more time.)
Chris Acker (has been linked to other jobs)