California Bears Head Coach Search: Latest Updates and Rumors on Open Position

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 13:  Head coach Mike Montgomery of the California Golden Bears questions an official's call during a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 13, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 59-56.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Updates from Tuesday, April 15

Jeff Goodman of ESPN has the latest on the California job:

Updates from Monday, April 14

Andrew Owens of Blue & Gold Illustrated reports on how Notre Dame coach Mike Brey feels about the Cal job opening:

Updates from Saturday, April 12

Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports that Xavier's Chris Mack can be ruled out as a candidate: 

Chris Mack will stay at Xavier.

Mack has decided to remain as the Musketeers' head coach after discussions regarding the California opening, sources told ESPN.

Mack, 44, has led the Musketeers to the NCAA tournament in four of his five seasons since taking over for Sean Miller in 2009. He took Xavier to the Sweet 16 in 2010 and 2012.

Updates from Friday, April 11

CBS Sports' Eye on Basketball reports Eric Musselman has been interviewed by Cal multiple times:

Updates from Thursday, April 10

Jeff Goodman of ESPN has the latest on California's coaching search:

Updates from Sunday, April 6:

Jeff Faraudo of the Bay Area News Group provides the latest update on Cal's ongoing search for a new head coach:

Updates from Saturday, April 5:

According to Bay Area News Group's Jeff Faraudo, Travis DeCuire has been interviewed:

Updates from Friday, April 4

Bay Area News Group's Jeff Faraudo has an update on a potential candidate:

Updates from Wednesday, April 2

Joe Rothstein of CBS Sports provides an update on Cal's head coach search:

Mike Montgomery made no secret about who he wants his successor to be at Cal.

And that's Bears' Associate Head Coach Travis DeCuire. Several times during Montgomery's retirement press conference on Monday, Montgomery lobbied for DeCuire to replace him as Cal's head coach but Bears' athletic director Sandy Barbour reiterated repeatedly that the school will do a national search.

Multiple sources told that the Bears will go after big names like Harvard's Tommy Amaker and VCU's Shaka Smart, but they're more than likely to be rebuffed --- and that's where things will get interesting. According to several sources, two other potential candidates for this opening could be Utah's Larry Krystkowiak and UC Irvine's Russell Turner.

Updates from Tuesday, April 1

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports reports on what the plan is for the Bears to replace Mike Montgomery:

California athletic director Sandy Barbour is scheduled to interview candidates for the Bears' vacant men's basketball job this weekend in Dallas, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Among them is current Cal assistant Travis DeCuire, who received a strong endorsement from retiring head coach Mike Montgomery.

"We've got the guy in this room that should have this job," Montgomery said at his press conference announcing his retirement Monday. "I'm really hoping Sandy comes to that conclusion, ultimately. We're positioned very, very well."

DeCuire is expected to be interviewed Friday, sources said. 

Forde outlined a few other candidates that Cal may be looking at:

Among others mentioned in speculation for the Cal job are former UCLA coach Ben Howland; current UC-Irvine coach Russell Turner, who was a former Montgomery assistant at both Stanford and the Golden State Warriors; and Arizona associate head coach Joe Pasternack, who was a Cal assistant under Ben Braun from 2001-07.

Original Text

California Bears basketball coach Mike Montgomery is retiring, the school announced on Monday. This means there will be a prominent Pac-12 coaching position available this offseason.    

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports points out that a former player would certainly be interested if the phone rang:

Shareef Abdur-Rahim only played one season at California before entering the NBA, but he averaged 21.1 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 1.3 blocks a game in his short time there. He was also a very productive NBA player and averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds a night while playing for four different teams.

SACRAMENTO, CA -SEPTEMBER 29: Coach Shareef Abdur-Rahim of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo during media day on September 29, 2008 at the practice facility in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by down
Steve Yeater/Getty Images

While Abdur-Rahim was a successful player, taking over the reins of a major college program is a different story, especially after Montgomery's success.   

Montgomery coached six seasons for the Golden Bears and led them to the NCAA tournament four separate times. This season, Cal missed the Big Dance but did qualify for the NIT, where it lost in the quarterfinals against SMU.

For his part, Montgomery appeared comfortable with his decision to retire during his press conference, via Jeff Faraudo of Inside Bay Area Sports:

"I don't know what to say. I did my crying earlier. It's all positive. It's all for the right reasons. I feel really good about my decision. I just think it's time."

However, it was Montgomery’s time at Stanford that was most notable.

He made 12 NCAA tournaments and one Final Four in 18 seasons, which was one of the most notable runs in school history.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 13:  California Golden Bears mascot Oski the Bear sits on the baseline during a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 Basketball Tournament against the Colorado Buffaloes at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 13, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Looking forward, the Golden Bears will need a home run hire to compete in the Pac-12. Arizona is almost always one of the best teams in the country, Oregon has found momentum the past two years and Stanford looked impressive in its Sweet 16 run in the NCAA tournament.

Throw in perennial powerhouse UCLA, and the Golden Bears have some ground to make up to compete for a conference crown. It remains to be seen if Abdur-Rahim is the coach to answer the bell, but he's likely the first of many names that will be tied to this attractive new opening for the Bears.