Cal Bears Fire HC Wyking Jones After 2 Seasons; Jason Kidd Linked to Opening

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2019

California head coach Wyking Jones against Portland State during an NCAA college basketball game in Berkeley, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The California Golden Bears announced Sunday that they fired head basketball coach Wyking Jones after just two seasons with the team.

Jones produced just a 16-47 record during his two years at the helm, including an 8-23 mark in 2018-19. The squad lost its first 15 games in the Pac-12 this season and won only five conference games in his two years.

The Golden Bears had a 21-13 record the year before he took over, winning at least 20 games in seven of the last nine seasons. 

This was the 46-year-old's first head coaching job after serving as an assistant at a variety of locations, including two years with Cal under Cuonzo Martin.

Athletic director Jim Knowlton discussed the decision in a statement:

"This was a difficult decision to make and comes after a deliberate and holistic review of our men's basketball program. As always, we were guided by the best interests of our student-athletes, as well as the values and objectives of Cal Athletics and our University. As we quickly turn toward our search for a new head coach for our men's basketball program, I am certain that we will attract a strong, talented and highly qualified pool of candidates. I am confident that we will find someone who will help lead us on a path to being exceptional." 

Among those possible candidates is Basketball Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN

While ex-Cal star and Hall of Famer Jason Kidd is expected to be a target for his old school for their newly opened head coach job, a source said he is still strongly interested in returning to the NBA as a head coach and could wait to see what opens up.

Kidd starred at Cal as a player but could want to continue his career as an NBA coach after serving the role for parts of five seasons.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted the Los Angeles Lakers could be an option for Kidd:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Kidd will be among the serious candidates for the Lakers coaching job if Luke Walton is dismissed, league sources tell ESPN. That’s expected to give Kidd some pause on pursuing the Cal opening now. https://t.co/mm1SHCcVNJ

The Golden Bears would likely want to hire a new coach before the Lakers job even becomes available, which could complicate this search.