Cal appears to have found their next MBB coach in Mark Madsen. But what can we say about the process that led to the hire?
Dec 20th at Oregon. Utah Valley won. 77-72. They beat Colorado in the NIT at CU 81-69. They beat Cincy 74-68. Pretty good wins in my book. Might be a sleeper.
When AAR takes Georgia to the final four in three years, I’m gonna be so pissed.
Well said, Nick. Great article and dead-on balls accurate.
I don’t hate the hire, but from what we know of Jim Knowlton and his limitations as an AD, the fact that this offer leaked before a major announcement could be made is concerning…if Madsen receives massive blowback or bad PR, is he a threat to bail out at the last minute, leaving Knowlton dead in the water? This scenario would be directly on brand for the overmatched Colonel…I can only hope that Madsen’s commitment is strong and real after Steve Kroner let the cat out of the bag.
However, let’s proceed under the supposition that UVU loses its NIT semi-final game Tues to UAB in Vegas (??) and it is announced Wednesday that Madsen has agreed to become the Cal Men’s basketball Head Coach. He definitely brings things to the table, hopefully including some talent from Orem, as he’s got 4 guys that would be more than solid P12 contributors day 1 in Berkeley.
Here’s my thing: how quickly can he get Cal relevant again? As like everything with Jim Knowlton, his open and forthright statements to Mark Fox that he basically “faced a tremendous challenge and a long rebuild” helped set the tone for the excuse-riddled mess we had the last 4 seasons. There was no urgency. Knowlton continued to enable the dreadful Mark Fox for the entirety of his tenure in Berkeley. So, despite an unheard of 3-29, I would argue Madsen should not have a long leash…whether it’s Knowlton holding that leash or not remains to be seen.
In this era of college basketball, where the NIL and transfer portal are front and center, with the right mix of players, a team can get good rather quickly. Unfortunately, from the looks of it, Knowlton still fails to see just how important these tools are, which is not surprising because one of if his key advisors is Mike Montgomery, who hates the new normal in college hoops. But somehow, Madsen is going to have to make early progress to get people fired up again about Cal hoops. A slow and steady crawl is not going to build excitement…Knowlton’s incompetence has made sure of that. Hope Mad Dog can light a fire, quickly, keeps key players and the recruits in the fold and more importantly, brings in difference makers early. We shall see…
Again, great article Nick.
As one of my buddies said: As long as we can't pay football or basketball in a swimming pool,we are going to suck, as much as our institutional support sucks.
I like the hire of Mark Madsen very much. Hopefully he gets the support of Cal's Administration!
It’s hard to take a process as objective when it involves 3 old white men cutting themselves off from the rest of the base to make this decision The result is entirely predictable. Given this is 2023 and this is Berkeley of all places, I expected better.
UCLA fan here: I think this is a great hire for you guys and Stanford will be kicking themselves for years for keeping Haase when Madsen was available.
As for the hiring process...all I can say is that UCLA's process was quick, quiet, and painless when we hired Steve Alford and an absolute embarrassing circus playing out across the national media when we hired Mick Cronin. It's all about the result.
Well, other than the fact that Madsen is associated with THE two sports teams that I loathe more than any other in this world, it seems that this hire could turn out okay...or it could be a disaster. I remain ambivalent about Cal MBB as that leave me less vulnerable to false hopes.
Hard to know if the process was good, but if it's Madsen then he isn't an obviously bad hire. He's a guy with west-coast connections who has had success coaching at a smaller school. A reasonable choice.
Would I have preferred Pasternack? Yes, but I also have to acknowledge that when picking between these mid-major coaches with similar resumes it's hard to know who will hit and who will not. We'll see!
Has there been any more insight on why AAR (apparently) isn't being offered the job? Was he never a legit option, despite appearances, or something in the interview gave pause? Not sure if anything credible leaked.
Hear! Hear! Article and Chitwood very solid. I now know what I'll be doing Tuesday night.
I know this might not be the comparison that we'd like to hear, but Madsen could be to Cal basketball to what Harbaugh was to Stanford football. Sometimes you need an energetic, intelligent, focused, winner to come in and set up an identity. Utah Valley, if you watch them, are a damn well coached team.
Great article Nick and you really covered the salient issues. The fact is, we probably will never know exactly what took place inside the athletic departments' inner sanctum on this hire, but presumably this was a more competent process than the recent searches.
guys need to look past mad dogs furd history and just look what he can offer based on what hehas done since playing days. he coached fardaw aimaq to 2 time defensive player of yr in the conference and is projected to be drafted in nba. although FA is playing 4 texas tech now via portal if it wasnt 4 mad dog he wouldnt be taken by them
mad dog would be a decent hire at least. if you read all the stories about him on the internet if they r true he seems 2 check all the boxes that cal desires. he would appreciate the hi academic standards at cal and will look 4 certain recruits that seek the same student athlete expectations. he def can coach coming from nba and g league and attending youth camps while as a professional. if hes smart he would surround himself with asst coaches that will teach our young men x's n o's and out hustle opponents thats how he played. he was a laker fav becuz of it and uses his limited talent vs other nba elites to the fullest. hopefully he can inspire the team n new recruits to play for him
For those who want to know more I think reading through his blog (albeit pretty sporadic postings) will tell you all you need to know about him.
I must admit I have / had reservations about him being a Mormon Furdie from San Ramon coaching a team in Utah full of oafy white dudes but after reading a bit about his opinions I feel he is a good intellectual fit.
My worry now goes from “he’ll just bounce to furd when he sees any hinkling of success because furdie” to “he’ll just bounce to a fUCLA type job at the first jingle due to the fact that he is a gym rat type with clearly larger goals than cal and Knowlton is too much of a slap dick to draft a contract that makes that option expensive for him”