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Basketball: Montgomery makes it official

Coach Mike Montgomery, who guided Cal’s basketball team to four NCAA tournament appearances in six seasons after transforming rival Stanford into a national contender, announced his retirement on Monday.

Montgomery, 67, informed his players during a noon-hour team meeting. A press conference was scheduled at Cal for 2:30 p.m.

“I have enjoyed 45 years coaching the game I love while developing long-lasting friendships along the way. This is a decision that was not made lightly,” Montgomery said in a statement, “This is the right time for me to move to the next phase of my life.”

The most successful Bay Area men’s basketball coach of the past half century, Montgomery compiled a record of 130-73 at Cal. In 2010, he brought the school its first regular-season Pac-12 Conference championship in 50 years.

“The six years I have spent at Cal have been some of the greatest in my career,” he said, thanking athletic director Sandy Barbour for her support. “This is a great program and Cal basketball is positioned for success for many years to come.”

Barbour praised Montgomery as “a coaching icon.”

“Mike has been outstanding in his six years at the helm of our men’s basketball program,” she said. “In addition to being one of the greatest to ever coach the game, he has been an amazing leader, educator and mentor to our student-athletes and all the young men he has coached.

“We are thankful for all he has done to elevate this program during his tenure.”

Montgomery faced a serious health scare in the fall of 2011 when he underwent surgery for bladder cancer. But he said doctors gave him 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.

Cal was 21-14 this season and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

At Stanford, Montgomery took a perennial conference bottom-feeder and built it into a program that competed with Arizona and UCLA at the top of the conference.

The Cardinal hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament in 47 years when it got a bid in 1989, Montgomery’s second season. He won four Pac-10 titles on The Farm and guided the program into the 1998 Final Four.

Montgomery retires with a 32-year college coaching record of 677-316, including just one losing season.

A four-time Pac-12 coach of the year, Montgomery 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.

Between stints at the two local universities, Montgomery spent two seasons as coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Jeff Faraudo

  • KC

    Thanks for six very good years, Monty, and good luck with whatever comes next. Excited to see what direction our coaching search goes.

  • al b

    Rats! Coach Monty did a great job. What made me REALLY appreciate him more was that within a week of taking the Cal job, furd’s coach bailed & they came after Monty. But he gave them a stiff-arm! That was a win for Cal before he coached his first practice. I sure hope they make a good hire who’s a good recruiter & can continue the success that Monty brought – otherwise, fans will lose interest & not show then they’ll have to start over. Like the football team.
    Didn’t coach go thru treatment for prostate cancer? I sure hope he didn’t retire because it returned.

  • Juancho

    Let’s not forget he did do an awful job with academics.

  • Eric

    I had expressed a lot of disappointment this season, and I know there are regulars here who have articulated well-reasoned analyses why he was running out his welcome, but I do applaud the graciousness and dignity of leaving on his own terms, before he clearly turned into Tedford and Braun.