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ESPN: Joe Pasternack, Tim Miles linked as Cal basketball coaching candidates
Both UC Santa Barbara and San Jose State coaches are getting some run as the potential next basketball coach for the California Golden Bears.
It’s unlikely Mark Fox will end up returning as the head coach of Cal men’s basketball.
Cal is currently 3-26 and (barring the miracle of all Pac-12 tournament runs) three or four games away from their season coming to a close. The program has hit unfathomable program lows in win-loss record, offense, athletic admin excuses, and fan attendance. It’s likely that a coaching change could occur soon after the end of the season.
ESPN has already begun circulating several candidates doing better jobs ($) at other California spots. Let’s take a look at the two candidates they mentioned recently.
Joe Pasternack, UC Santa Barbara (22-7, tied for 1st in Big West)
Pros: Pasternack seems like the obvious choice. UC Santa Barbara has been thriving, has made the NCAA Tournament once and will have a chance again this year. He’s logged five 20-wins seasons in his six years there. At 117-47 with the Gauchos, he is the best head coach in program history. He has the Cal connection from being on Ben Braun’s bench, and is an in-law with Cal alum/sports announcer Roxy Bernstein. He has Pac-12 recruiting chops from his time with Sean Miller at Arizona. He has genuine donor support. And he can easily be gotten at a reasonable price (just under $400K a year when he started at UCSB, although that figure likely went up after his extension; Mark Fox is at around $2 million).
Cons: Pasternack has the Jorge Gutierrez incident which did make a few people upset, and he’ll have to answer questions about what type of recruiter he was given Miller was dismissed from Arizona after a prolonged federal investigation. If he can clear those hurdles, he should be considered the favorite to be the next Cal coach. But it’s Cal, so those are significant hurdles.
Tim Miles, San Jose State (18-12, 5th in the Mountain West)
Pros: Miles has led San Jose State to its best season in nearly 40 years, placing them in a position to potentially get 20 wins and an NIT bid. Miles has achieved more with less at programs not renowned for their basketball investment like Colorado State and Nebraska and wrangled trips to the Dance there. Miles has a solid offensive system that should kick the Bears out of their current malaise. And at $700K a year he’s fairly gettable.
Cons: The knock against Miles is he’s only enjoyed a handful of successful seasons. In a dozen years at Colorado State and Nebraska, he only made the NCAA Tournament twice. In seven years at Nebraska he managed two winning Big Ten seasons and finished in the cellar the other five, culminating in a .500 record with the Huskers and a .400 Big Ten mark. Now neither Colorado State nor Nebraska enjoyed much basketball history before Miles, so he technically performed solidly relative to expectations.
Cal fans, thoughts on these two potential choices?