Basketball: Mike Montgomery expected to inform Cal on Monday whether he is retiring


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.

┬áMontgomery 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.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Juancho

    Why does this site take so long to load now? Can we go back to the old post system.

    Make a splash signing like shaka smart. Keep ivan rabb home. And build a powerhouse by keeping the annual local stars home.

  • al b

    Agreed. I tried it with 3 different browsers but there’s no difference. I hope Monty stays a couple more years. He’s been great!

  • Phil Green

    I hope he fulfills his contract and we can make a smooth transition with an actual plan, for once.

  • Steve Fischer

    He has choked in each of the past 3 seaons ending on a sour note. He is eyars past his prime. Maybe you think Cal should settle for the NIT or lose most of the its games down the stretch in each of the last 3 years but I expect more. We were perhaps the 7th best Pac 12 Team this year – is that your definition of great?

  • 1brsfan

    unlike Mr. Negativity, I don’t think MM is past his prime and we have had a great run these last six years. We’ve managed to win the conference and stay in the hunt down to the last weekend in some years. Would it have been nice to close out a couple more conf championships in those years? of course it would have. I think he managed to get the best out of his teams and even though some here see it as failure I see it as winning with lesser talent than the AZ, UCLA teams. We’ll never recruit the blue chips like those schools but yet we can compete with them. This year was a little bit different and it was partly due to the young team and injuries. in the NIT run the team looked stronger than it had in months and they finally played up to their potential so i am excited to see what happens next season. Hoping he tells SB that he will be retiring after his contract ends and gives us time to get a succession plan in place.

  • Juancho

    Great run? How far have we gotten in the tournament? Great run is like me saying I had a great dinner when I pick up a chipotle burrito. Sure it’s adequate and on par with most programs, but great? That’s a Final 4 appearance.

  • Juancho

    Montgomery is not a great recruiter and Ivan Rabb the #1 player in the country is in Oakland. This is perfect timing to reclaim local recruiting with an exciting hire.

    Montgomery brought stability to Cal and a good record. He never reached the high’s of Tedford, or the lows of Tedford, other than the graduation rate being worst in the conference. His time at Cal has been good.

    But his time pales in comparison to what could happen if Cal hires a Shaka Smart type.

  • 1brsfan

    Best run we’ve had in the last 50 years. One conference championship that could have easily been 3. Final Four appearance would be a lot more than just great, it would be incredible! We’re not a blue blood basketball school and even those that are don’t get to the final four that often. When was the last time UCLA or AZ were in the final four? I’m not saying we’ll never get there because with the right coach, recruits, favorable seeding and match-ups we may get there one day. So yes, a great run.

  • 1brsfan

    Tedford did bring the highs of almost getting us to #1 in the country but he never won us a conference championship which would have taken us to the Rose Bowl. If not for Mack Brown and the corrupt voting he would have gotten us to the promised land. At least we can say Monty got us our first conference championship in 50 years and shoulda/coulda been 3 conf championships.

  • Steve Fischer

    *You’re good at excuses. Explain this 1. How come we finished behind 6 other teames? Injuries? Weren’t we picked in the top 4? Arizona lost Ashley ( or they would have beaten us by 20) but they recovered. Good teams do that and we had no one near as good as Ashely to lose.

    2. How do you explain how each year we end up on a losing streak ( last 3 years)? Is monty being outcoached? Are his players being outmotivated?
    3 How did we lose to USC down the stretch?

  • 1brsfan

    Here you go…

    1. We actually finished tied for 3rd. Based on tie breakers that would be 4th and we were predicted in 5th. Check yourself. Also, you answered your own question, we don’t have anyone nearly as good as Ashley or as good as half their team for that matter. Teams like AZ, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, etc. can and will recover because they have talent deep into their bench.

    2. When you have injuries you have less players in the rotation meaning guys are logging lots of minutes. After 25 games they will wear down and get tired which means they don’t have the legs down the stretch. Not sure if you’re watching the tourney, doesn’t sound like it, but Kentucky is playing 6 or 7 freshmen, all blue chippers and some with fresh legs. Look at what they’re doing to really good teams in the last 4-5 minutes of the game when others don’t have that type of rotation and are tired. It’s absurd what they did to Wichita, Louisville and Michigan in the last 5 minutes of those games. Speaking of AZ, they did go on to lose 3 of 4 when Ashley went down but they had the talent to recover.

    3. They didn’t lose to SC down the stretch. They actually beat them “down the stretch” at home. Unless of course you consider game 18 in a 31 game season “down the stretch”

    You compare us to Arizona and expect us to them just because we beat them when they lost one of their top players. We have never been nor will we ever be Arizona so you’re comparing apples to oranges just because we’re in the same conference. That’s like saying that Ole Miss should be as good as Florida or Kentucky.

    Over the last 3-4 years Cal has been top 3 or 4 in the conference in wins. Name the last time in your lifetime that this was the case and get back to me. I don’t even think they achieved that with JKidd and LaMoney.

  • Steve Fischer

    “We finished tied for 3rd” So if the entire Pac 12 finished tied for third you’d be happy right. Fact At least 6 teams were better.

    We didn’t have any more injuries than other teams. So your excuse is other teams have talented benches, but we don’t — guess who recruits them? We were ahead of most Pac 12 programs a few years ago. They got better we got worse.

    We needed to beat USC and I admit “down the stretch’ can be interpreted differently but at the time we lost – we, and the national sports media was already seriously discussing NCAA seeding. In other words it wasn’t an early season game -it meant something and we may have been the only Pac 12 team to lose to USC.

    We lost 5 of 7 of our last games- they definitely meant something. Monty played us OUT of the NCAAs.

    We are not the top 3 or 4 in conference wins 10-8 is nothing to brag about – The Pac 12 has been down unitl the last year or two-everyone has acknowledged that AZ UCLA and others got new coaches.

  • GoBears49

    Cal would still be in the NIT if Soloman had been able to play. Good chance they would have won it with him. Was impressed how Monty got the team up, ready to play, in the NIT. They played better in the NiT than at the end of regular season. I attribute that to Monty.

    I think the best solution would be to have Monty stay and hire someone with strong local ties to help him with recruiting, in an effort to try to keep the local talent at home. We are getting killed by other teams in the league in recruiting (Stanford – 4 players in the ESPN 100, UCLA and Arizona 3 players in the ESPN 100, and Oregon 2 players in the ESPN 100). But even if Monty decides to stay, his announcement that he is considering retirement will be used by other teams to tell recruits they won’t be playing for Monty for four years.

  • Wehofx

    with recruiting being the cut throat biz it is now, Monty has to retire. SB can NOT persuade him to stay. That said, I really, really enjoyed his tenure and the quality of Cal hoops.

    I’ve been slammed w work so I haven’t had the time to watch dvr’s of Ark and SMU games. It seems our Bears finally found their team.

    JF and Juancho, ya, this new system SUCKS! on my new iPhone, it’s taking forever to load. When I’ve had a spare moment or 2 – when I’d normally check out btb – it’s taken so LOOOONG to load, I gave up.

    Steve TX, as usual you – in borderline trolling troll fashion – ignore facts that contradict your argument. Yes, this season was disappointing and frustrating. For the first time during Monty’s tenure this team got WORSE as the season progressed. When we lost, I was among the first to voice my frustration at the lack of effort and heart, esp on D.

    Facts you will ignore: Re: Beasley and good teams adjusting to injury. Without Kreklow and Bird, for the first time in 50(+??) years, we won 5 straight on the road.

    In 6 seasons at Cal, Monty took the Bears to tourny 4 times, winning 2 games and advancing to the Round of 32 twice. He guided the Bears to top four finishes in the conference each season, and came within a win the past 2 seasons of 2 more conf championships.

    FACT: in 6 years he has the best record of any coach in the Pac 12. Obviously S Miller will surpass that mark. His record during that time is better than some very good coaches like D Altman,B Howland, T Boyle and H Sendek(sp?).

    Last year in the tourny our Bears beat unlv and – I would argue – gave cuse its toughest game short of Michigan (??).

    FACT: you give new meaning to the term “Front Runner” and “Fair Weather Fan.” After all your troll-like HiJack posts here on the quality of IU hoops and Crean, you won’t support him after one mediocre season? See your post on IU blog about Crean.

  • Wehofx

    “Ur good at excuses.” Ur good at…see my post above.

  • al b

    There’s a whole lotta negaBears on Monty. Cal hasn’t been big time or had big time expectations since the 50’s! Monty didn’t take Cal deep into March Madness but he did bring some stability without violations. He usually did more with less. Didn’t Bozeman & Braun both make Sweet.16 appearances?
    A quick retort to an earlier comment – Tedford did win a conference title. I believe it was ’06 & they were “co-champions” with $c.

  • 1brsfan

    He fashioned a record of 130-73 at Cal, the best six-year span in school history, with the Bears earning four NCAA tournament berths and winning their first Pac-12 title in 50 years in 2010.

    Nuff said.

  • al b

    Shaka-schmaka. That guy was a pipedream. I like the hire of Cuanzo. I was disappointed he didn’t keep any of Monty’s staff but I really like the hire of Hufnagel. He has an awesome reputation as a great recruiter. If Cal can somehow reel in Rabb it’ll be because of Hufnagel. On the downside, does Cal want to go the “1-&-done” route?