Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery will discuss his future on Monday with athletic director Sandy Barbour, who said she would “absolutely” try to talk him out of retirement if that’s his intention.
ESPN.com reported that Montgomery, 67, has been leaning toward retiring after his sixth season at Cal.
Barbour, who attended Sunday’s NCAA women’s basketball regional semifinals at Stanford on Sunday, confirmed by phone the two will meet.
“Mike Montgomery is a phenomenal coach and I’m glad he’s ours,” Barbour said.
Asked if she knows what Montgomery — the Bay Area’s most successful men’s college basketball coach of the past 50 years — plans to tell her, Barbour said, “Nope, I don’t.”
But Barbour said she would try to dissuade him from a possible retirement decision. “Absolutely,” she said, “as I have before.”
Montgomery did not immediately respond to multiple messages.
UC Irvine coach Russell Turner, who worked with Montgomery at Stanford and with the Golden State Warriors, said the two talked on the phone last week to discuss SMU, Cal’s quarterfinal opponent in the NIT.
“We didn’t talk about anything like this,” Turner said. “With the success he’s having, it would surprise me if it’s true. But I don’t know anything.”
Utah State coach Stew Morrill, a longtime friend of Montgomery, said he didn’t know anything about Montgomery’s possible intention to retire and declined to comment.
ESPN’s report said sources told them Cal has hired a search firm to begin looking for a successor.
Montgomery has compiled a record of 130-73 at Cal with four trips to the NCAA tournament. His 2009-10 team earned the Bears’ their first regular-season conference championship in 50 years.
The Bears’ 2013-14 season ended at 21-14 last Wednesday with a 67-65 loss at SMU in the NIT.
This Cal team was a rare Montgomery squad that did not peak toward the season’s end. The Bears started 14-4, including 5-0 in the Pac-12. But they were just 7-10 the rest of the way, tumbling from a near-certain NCAA tournament bid to the NIT after finishing in a five-way tie for third at 10-8.
Montgomery faced a serious health scare in the fall of 2011 when he underwent surgery for bladder cancer. But he said doctors told him he had a clean bill of health, and he directed the Bears to a 24-10 record that season and second-place finish in the Pac-12.
In the summer of 2012, less than a year after his bout with cancer, Montgomery signed a contract extension with Cal through the 2015-16 season.
In 18 seasons at Stanford, through the 2003-04 campaign, Montgomery was 393-167 with four conference championships and 12 trips to the NCAA tournament. The Cardinal’s 1989 NCAA bid was its first in 47 years.
Montgomery’s 1997-98 team reached the Final Four — the only Bay Area men’s to do so since Cal in 1960 under Pete Newell. Montgomery’s 2000-01 Stanford squad advanced to the Elite 8 round.
In 32 college seasons, including eight at Montana, Montgomery has a record of 677-316, leaving him just seven games shy of 1,000 as a Division I head coach. His past 15 Stanford and Cal teams finished no worse than fourth place in the conference.
Between stints at Stanford and Cal, Montgomery spent two seasons as coach of the Golden State Warriors.
A native of Long Beach and a graduate of Long Beach State, is a four-time Pac-12 coach of the year. In 2004 he received the John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching” Lifetime Achievement Award, which previously had gone to Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Lute Olson and Roy Williams.