Basketball: Montgomery had “high-grade” bladder cancer, but has the all clear

Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery said today he was diagnosed a month ago with “high-grade bladder cancer,” but has been told he is cancer free after Oct. 19 surgery.

“Everything since that time has been all clear, all clear, all clear,” he told reporters at Pac-12 Conference media day in Los Angeles. “That’s good news.”

But he was told by his doctors, “Three months ago, we wouldn’t have found this. Six months from now, you’d be done. It’s scary.

“You feel relatively on top of your game, to no longer being in charge. It could have gone the other way. But I’m good to go. Probably adds a little perspective to your life.”

The athletic department announced earlier this week that Montgomery, 64, was given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

Cal senior guard Jorge Gutierrez said the players missed him while he was sidelined from practice, but said when Montgomery opened up to them about his situation they felt a closer, personal connection.

Montgomery said he has no limitations, but needs to get his strength back. He has lost a little weight, he said, but watched the Bears’ entire practice Thursday and expects to be back on the court full-time by Monday.

Montgomery compiled a record of 64-37 in his first three seasons at Cal, including the 2010 Pac-10 title, the school’s first in 50 years. Previously, he enjoyed a long, successful run as coach at rival Stanford, then had a brief stint as head coach of the Golden State Warriors.


Basketball: Ex-Cal assistant Billy Kennedy diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy — who served four seasons through 1996-97 as an assistant at Cal — has been diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s disease.

On the advise of doctors, Kennedy temporarily is leaving the team to undergo treatment, the school said. “We have a good prognosis,” Kennedy said in a statement.

Kennedy, 47, served on the staffs of ex-Cal coaches Todd Bozeman and Ben Braun, and later was head coach at Centenary, Southeastern Louisiana and Murray State.

Texas A&M is a preseason co-favorite in the Big 12 Conference with Kansas.



Basketball: Monty his old self, minus stamina

I visited with Mike Montgomery at his office for a few minutes today and here’s how I know he is getting back to normal.

When I remarked that he looks good, he shot back, “Compared to what?”

When Monty has the sarcasm going, you know that good health is returning.

He was on campus Wednesday — one week after still unspecified surgery — to meet with a few players in his office and conduct some routine business. He won’t be on the practice floor until perhaps Thursday, at which point he said he’d be mostly watching from a chair.

He said he feels good and he was smiling when he said it.

“I don’t have a lot of energy right now,” he said. “But it’s a long season.”

Again, he declined to provide specifics about the reason for his surgery.

Montgomery is scheduled to attend Friday’s Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles and will be at Haas Pavilion on Sunday for the Bears’ free open practice (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The Bears face UC San Diego in an exhibition game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Haas.