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Cal Men's Basketball: Is an Extension Coming for Coach Mark Fox?
Things seem to be moving in that direction.
Cal men’s basketball has been in the doldrums for a spell. The Bears haven’t left the bottom half of the Pac-12 in the last half-decade, and enthusiasm for a program that once regularly competed for March Madness bids has been steadily drained away.
It seems that Cal might be trending toward stability as their path forward to rising back up in the standings.
Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle indicates an extension could be on the way for Cal men's basketball coach Mark Fox. Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton gave a relatively positive affirmation of their coach.
"I think it’s important. I think recruits want to know, and I want coaches to know that I have confidence in them.”
Knowlton deflected concerns about Mark Fox's record, pinning much of the blame on the pandemic.
“We’re probably going to need one more year. With the right kind of additions, we can certainly be in the top half of the Pac-12."
Knowlton wasn’t the only one with kind words on Fox. Jason Kidd had this to say about his appearance at Cal’s win over Stanford.
“Their defense was incredible. I think Mark Fox is doing a great job.”
Jerome Randle was also in attendance.
“I feel like they’re doing well with what they have at this particular moment. There’s a lot of better recruits that I’m sure they want to get, but I don’t know if guys are so privy to coming to Cal because it’s been down for a little while."
Cal is 35-55 in the Fox era. Cal has finished tied for 8th, 12th, and currently sits at 10th in the Pac-12 during Fox’s time in Berkeley. I’d imagine an extension would be a hard sell for a Cal fanbase, but with only a few years left on his contract, the Bears do have to make a decision soon as to whether they should commit to the man in charge.
You have to wonder how much finances play into this decision. Fox has two years left on his contract, with a buyout of at most a million dollars after this season. Would a new coach bring in an additional half-million annually in ticket revenue and donations for the Bears? Maybe there was a calculus indicating otherwise.
Cal men’s basketball earns most of its money from March Madness-distributed TV revenue, but that pie doesn’t change too much regardless as to whether Cal is good or bad. Maybe the Bears are trying to shrink that burden before making a decision.
What are your thoughts on the optimism from the Cal athletic department on Mark Fox?