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Basketball: Why Cal coaching search is dragging on

Week 1 in the search for Cal’s new basketball coach has passed and no one seems to know when the Bears will announce their new man. Or who it will be.

A campus source told me, “They’re trying to hit a home run,” but added, “If anybody tells you they know anything, they’re lying.”

That’s because it’s believed that perhaps only two people — athletic director Sandy Barbour and chancellor Nicholas Dirks – will be involved in the selection process. And they’re not talking.

The “home run” would be snagging an A-list candidate such as Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, VCU’s Shaka Smart or Dayton’s Archie Miller. By all accounts, Cal has gotten nowhere with any of them.

Why is that?

“Cal is not as good a job as it looks,” my source said.

He pointed out the lack of a dedicated practice facility, the need to share practice time at Haas Pavilion, the rising academic demands, even the lack of parking.

“There’s no land (to build a practice gym or add parking),” he said. “There’s no way to park and just to class.”

Admission to Cal is becoming tougher, just as the athletic department ramps up the pressure for its football and basketball teams to perform better in the classroom.

“Academics is getting harder and harder,” the source said. “Whoever they hire, better be a miracle worker.”

Unless it’s someone who understands how Cal works.

“It’s not an easy place. This is a difficult place. Nothing moves easily. Ask Sonny (Dykes),” the source said, referring to the learning curve the Bears’ second-year football coach is tackling. “These people (at Cal) invented bureaucracy.”

The wrong hire, my source suggested, could cause the Bears to lose their incoming recruiting class and perhaps key players off the current roster.

The latest name to surface is former Warriors head coach Eric Musselman, who on Monday left his job as assistant coach at Arizona State to seek other opportunities.

Musselman, 49, still owns a home in the East Bay. He has extensive experience on various professional levels, but a very limited college resume. It’s unclear how well he knows the recruiting scene or key AAU coaches.

How much longer we wait for the announcement may depend on how stubborn Barbour and Dirks are about hitting one out of the park.

But we’re a week into baseball season — and the search process — and sometimes it feels like the Bears are still at first base,

Jeff Faraudo

  • BlakeStreetBear

    It is insane that Cal is not a “desirable” job. Maybe it is just that nobody wants to work with Sandy? Is parking really an issue, if so that is a stupid reason not to consider a school. And why cannot the bball team practice on the westernmost court in the RSF, turn that into the “dedicate practice facility”.

    And how is it that the ladies’ team keeps getting top local recruits who can get into Cal yet the men don’t even get sniffs from the top local guys? Are all the top local recruits unable to qualify? Really??

    The admin is gonna have to take a chance on a lesser known entity, who may emerge into the “home run”. But he will have to work for it and it may take a few years. Eric Musselman, no thanks. I’d rather Decuire/Theo/Lamond.

    Ugghh… Go Bears!

  • JB Don’t Dance

    Unless you are a Bay Area guy, the Cal job is just difficult. No one wants to have a Paterno like situation where the head coach runs the university. We are almost the opposite, and there are jobs with the same amount of prestige and exposure with less barriers.

  • KC

    DeCuire is the best fit for us right now. We’re not going to hit a home run. Let’s give him a chance, we keep our current player core and incoming recruits and have the opportunity to see a younger, eager coach take advantage of the opportunity. Stop messing around with Musselman or Turner – let’s give DeCuire a shot.

  • Pasadena Dave

    I don’t understand why Musselman is even being considered. I remember when he coached the Warriors…his offense and defense reminded me of Braun’s.

    Also , why does this administration think Amakar is a home run? He landed at Harvard licking his wounds after the debacle in Ann Arbor. He’s a private school guy…played at Duke…did well at Seton Hall and now at Harvard. Flopped at the one public school he was at. No go on him.

    At this point, if we can’t get Archie or Shaka — and I don’t blame them for not wanting to come — we should go with TD or Russ Turner.

  • GoBears49

    Hope Cal keeps Theo no matter who they hire. I have a good feeling he is going to develop into a good coach. Could be Cal’s head coach a few years down the pike.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Well said.

  • Steve Fischer

    I don’t see anything special about Decuire -cept that he wants the job. He has no experience as a head coach. There are 19 recruits from California on the Rivals Top 150 . Which ones are we in the running for? The top pick is from Oakland and if Monty/Decuire can’t get interest in their own backyard -why should we have interest? The next best California is headed to Tucson.
    Calbert Cheaney and Tim Crews have much better resumes- and even old Nolan Richardson was just inducted into the Naismith BBall Hall fo Fame.

    Why do Cal Fans seek out mediocrity? .. because Sandy Barbour does? KC if we hire him we may be stuck for two years or more even if he doesnt perform. Had he recruited some of the top 2015 Commits and we risked losing them – that would be a better argument.

  • sunshipballoons

    Who cares about parking. The COACHES get spots. The players don’t need them because you live within walking distance of campus. This is a giant southern campus.

  • sunshipballoons

    Who said Musselman is being considered? This article just says he could be a candidate. And, as much as I’m not a Braun fan, his teams were darn good.

  • Juancho

    This is what an AD is paid for. To build an ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT top talent (recruits and coaches) want to be a part of.

    We can make all the excuses to justify our perpetual mediocrity, but Sandy wasted time and money getting us a new logo when places like Stanford have really built a nationally desirable brand.

  • eastcoastbear

    Lets roll the dice and get someone young and dynamic like U Conn did with Ollie..we know no big time BB coach is going to Cal…it has nothing to do with parking or academics we cannot pay the salary…if we cannot get the right person give Decuire a shot…Look how well OU has done in FB sticking within the system…Players seem to like him. Monty blesses him. Got Bird to Cal. Strong minority candidate at one of the most diverse schools in the country deserves a shot

  • Wehofx

    Testing. Post in mod jail. Wtf!?!
    Bang powers -that-be if you’re trying to drive away clicks, mission accomplished.

  • GoBears49

    I tend to agree, but Decuire had one big advantage in landing Bird, so you can’t really say it was all him — his father played basketball at Cal and had a good experience there, at least from a basketball perspective.

  • Peter C.

    Lamond Murray? How does he figure into this?

  • Peter C.

    Yes, Cal has it’s own set of peculiarities, but it also has considerable advantages. We are one of the nation’s largest (and its best) public universities. We are located in a major metropolitan area that has a real craving for a basketball. The program has demonstrated that it is attractive to big time talent when there’s a buzz around the program. We play in a major conference, have a great on campus arena, and have a thriving and diverse campus culture. If look close enough, you’ll be able to make out scars on nearly any program, but the overall package is quite compelling. We are a sleeping giant.

  • Juancho

    Our AD has put us to sleep.

    From the football stadium fiasco to cutting baseball and rugby, Sandy has devalued Cal.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    LOL. I am kinda being facetious toward Steve who always championed Jason Kidd as a future Cal coach. But since Kidd is locked up in Brooklyn (and turning some heads in the process, mine included) I am just messing with Steve about Lamond. Murray ain’t gonna coach at Cal, I just though maybe he could be a recruiter for the Bears in so-Cal. But that won’t happen either as Lamond is perfectly comfortable in his so-Cal NBA retirement. But maybe he could pitch Berkeley once in a while…

    But what about Shareef? Go Bears!

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Braun had a couple of good teams in the beginning of his tenure. Then he Tedfordized, got comfortable and lost his mojo. His last few years were horrendous.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Jauncho, last time I looked the football stadium was absolutely gorgeous. What part of that translates to fiasco? She got the upgrades done, period. Unless you are an accountant or a “fiscal republican/tea-bagger”, why worry about the financing?

  • Wehofx

    Ima sucker for btb. Gonna try one more time.

    For whatever it’s worth, per twitter a miller is in play.

    Sandy clearly knows her job is on the line so I hope the following is just another bad twitter rumor.

    Any one but that d bag and his record sucks. Say it ain’t so.

    @CalRivals: Sources saying Joe Pasternak is a finalist to fill the Cal vacancy. And yes, we’re talking about this Joe Pasternak http://t.co/jt0vuf25ql

  • sunshipballoons

    Ugh, you need a history lesson. Braun’s teams won 20 games 6 times, including his third to last season at Cal. He had a winning record his last two season. His worst team was his second season, and his second to worst team was his fourth to last season. In 12 saesons, he went to the NCAA tournament five times, won the NIT once, and went to the NIT two other times, including his last season. Those teams were unwatchable on offense, though.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Braun’s last 5 years:
    13-15
    13-16
    20-11
    16-15
    17-16
    Braun was a terrible coach at the end. The one decent year (20-11) was Leon’s last season, and he carried the team on his back, Braun had nothing to do with this team’s “success”.

    I can’t believe you are trying to defend Braun as anything other than a terrible coach for at least his last 5 seasons at Cal. Sure he had a “winning” record his last 3 seasons but anyone who remembers then knows those teams were terrible to watch, save Leon’s exploits.

    Go Bears!

  • sunshipballoons

    Yes, terrible to watch, not terrible teams. Every Ben Howland team ever has been terrible to watch, because they hold the ball on offense and grind on defense. Braun was the same. I’m not a Braun fan, but he’s better than you say. His last 3 years included 2 post-season appearances. That’s not so terrible.

  • Juancho

    Bsb youre probably right.

    Except for the decline in attendance.

    The tedford extension.

    The worst in class football and basketball program academics.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Juancho, I respect your opinion brother and I agree: the tedford extension was mind-bogglingly stupid considering the arc of the program at the time and Tedford’s (under)performance has led to the fore-mentioned decline in attendance. The academics have also been disgraceful and that reflects the culture in athletic department; the department run by Ms. Sandy Barbour.

    Go Bears!