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Basketball: Montana excited to introduce ex-Cal aide and Grizzly alum Travis DeCuire as coach

Years before he spent six seasons as an assistant for Mike Montgomery at Cal, Travis DeCuire was a standout point guard for Montana.

So Grizzlies athletic director Kent Haslam had no qualms about introducing DeCuire on Monday as the program’s newest head coach.

 “I can say this without a shadow of  a doubt: We got our guy,” Haslam said of DeCuire, 43, who becomes the fourth Griz coach in the last 23 years to have played at Montana.

According to the Missoulian, DeCuire signed a three-year contract with a base salary of $140,000 to succeed Wayne Tinkle, who left after eight seasons to become head coach at Oregon State.

Meanwhile, Tinkle has hired Gregg Gottlieb, another former Montgomery assistanst at Cal, to be part of his staff at Corvallis, Ore., according to Jeff Gooodman of ESPN.com.

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Basketball: PG Chauca officially signs

Cal announced the official signing of point guard prospect Brandon Chauca to a national letter of intent.

“We are excited for the opportunity to have Brandon join the Cal Family,” new Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. “He has the ability to distribute and score the basketball. In high school, he displayed excellent range with his shot. Brandon also has the foot speed to be a good on-ball defender.”

Chauca averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals this season for 22 Feet Academy at Shannon Forest Christian Schhool in Greenville, S.C. The 5-foot-9 native of Alexandria, Virginia, had a pair of 40-point games.

Chauca played his freshman year at Stonewall Jackson High in Manassas, Va. where he was an all-district selection in his first scholastic season. Chauca also played one season at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J., and at Christian Faith Center Academy in Creedmoor, N.C., before enrolling at 22 Feet Academy.

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Football: Kaufman’s deal as DC for more money, fewer years than Buh, who exits with $1 million

Cal will pay new football defensive coordinator Art Kaufman more than his predecessor but has protected itself by giving him a shorter contract.

Kaufman, who replaced Andy Buh after the Bears allowed a school-record 45.9 points per game last season, signed a two-year deal valued at $550,000 per season, not including potential performance incentives, according to documents obtained by this newspaper. Kaufman also got a one-time $20,000 signing bonus.

Buh came onboard with new coach Sonny Dykes before the 2013 season and received a three-year contract worth $500,000 per season — all of it guaranteed. After the Bears’ 1-11 campaign, Buh was fired without cause on April 2, an athletic department spokesman said, leaving the department on the hook for the remaining $1 million on his contract.

An athletic department spokesman said no settlement or compromise was reached with Buh and confirmed the university is “fulfilling obligations to the contract” with monthly payments over the next two years.

Buh, who could not be reached for comment, is obligated by terms of his contract to seek employment. Cal’s financial obligation to him would be reduced by the amount of his salary in a new position.

Kaufman, 55, who came to Cal from Cincinnati, will cost Cal more in the short term, but less if the two part ways before his two-year contact ends.

Kaufman will earn $225,000 in base salary each season, plus a $325,000 talent fee. He will receive the entirety of his $550,000 annual salary if fired anytime before the end of his first season, but only $340,000 if dismissed prior to the end of the second season.

If Kaufman decides to leave Cal prior to April 30, 2015, he must pay the university $75,000.

Kaufman’s salary is line with others at his position in the Pac-12 Conference. He’ll earn more than new Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski ($485,000), but less than UW paid Justin Wilcox ($750,000) in 2013. Wilcox left Washington after last season, following coach Steve Sarkisian to USC.

Kaufman can earn bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 if the Bears play in various bowl games. He will earn $25,000 if Cal’s 2014 defense is ranked among the nation’s top-50 in fewest points per game allowed, and $25,000 if the ’15 squad is ranked among the top-25.

Cal ranked second-to-last nationally last season in scoring defense — 122nd out of 123 Football Bowl Subidivision teams. Kaufman’s Cincinnati defense ranked 14th nationally, allowing 21.0 points per game.

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Rugby: Cal wins 7s national championships

The Cal 7s team completed its second straight undefeated run in the Collegiate Rugby Championships with a 24-21 victory over Kutztown University at PPL Park in Philadelphia on Sunday.

The championship was the 24th for Cal coach Jack Clark and the 28th overall for the Bears’ rugby program.

Cal finished the three-day event with a 6-0 record and tournament-leading totals of 31 successful tries and a plus-127 points differential. Team captain Seamus Kelly led Cal’s tournament effort with six tries.

The Bears began Sunday’s play with a 33-5 win over Penn State, then beat UCLA 20-17 in the semifinals on a last-minute try by Andrew Battaglia.

*****

The Cal women’s varsity four crew team won its second NCAA championship in four years Sunday at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

The Bears scored 118 total points to place second in the overall team championship to Ohio State. Cal has finished among the nation’s top three overall for seven straight seasons and nine of the past 10 years.

*****

The Cal men’s crew won Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in the second varsity eight and the third varsity eight races to finish second overall in the team category at Lake Mercer at West Windsor, N.J.

The Bears scored 188 points to wind up four points shy of IRA champion Washington.

 

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Basketball: Bears get point guard commit

New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin has secured a verbal commitment from a 5-foot-9 point guard to go with the 7-foot-1 center he landed several weeks ago.

Brandon Chauca, a left-hander from Shannon Forest Christian School in Greenville, S.C., announced Friday he will join the Bears next fall. Earlier, center Kinglsey Okoroh signed with the Bears.

Because the spring signing period is over, Chauca signed a financial aid agreement but not a letter-of-intent.

A native of Alexandria, Va., Chauca averaged 23.1 points, 7.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals last season.

The left-hander will provide depth at point guard, where Justin Cobbs departs and Sam Singer and Tyrone Wallace are expected to duel for the starting job.

Chauca picked Cal over Washington State, and also drew interest from Missouri and Virginia Tech.

Cal now has 11 scholarship players committed for next season. Here’s the breakdown:

Seniors (1): F David Kravish

Juniors (3): G Tyrone Wallace, F Christian Behens, G/F Stephen Domingo*

Sophomores (5): G Jabari Bird, G Sam Singer, G Jordan Mathews, C Kameron Rooks, F Roger Moute a Bidias

Freshmen (2): C Kingsley Okoroh, G Brandon Chauca 

* Must sit out 2014-15 season as transfer from Georgetown.

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Basketball: DeCuire hired by Montana

Former Cal assistant Travis DeCuire has been hired as head coach at Montana, replacing Wayne Tinkle, who recently took over as coach at Oregon State, according to multiple media reports.

DeCuire was Mike Montgomery’s top aide the past six seasons and is an alum of Montana, where he was the school’s career assist leader.

DeCuire, 43, was considered for the Cal coaching position given to Cuonzo Martin, then was one of three finalists for the OSU job that went to Tinkle.

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Football: Times set on 3 games for 2014

Times are set for three of Cal’s 2014 football games, including its home opener Sept. 6 against Sacramento State, which kicks off at noon and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal’s game against Oregon at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Friday, Oct. 24, will begin at 7 p.m.

And the Bears’ Thursday, Nov. 13 game at USC is slated for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Cal’s season-opener at Northwestern is part of the Big Ten Conference television package and is expected to be announced soon.

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Hall of Fame: Natalie Coughlin leads 2014 class

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin, winner of 11 NCAA titles and 12 Olympic medals, heads the seven-member 2014 class of inductees into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

Also part of Cal’s 29th Hall of Fame class are gymnast Tom Beach, swimmer Anthony Ervin, golfer Sarah Huarte, track and field athlete Grace Upshaw, football coach Ray Willsey and contributor Rick Cronk, who earned the Hall of Fame Service Award.

Induction ceremonies will be held Oct. 17 at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland. Ticket information for the event can be found at www.bigcsociety.com.

Here’s a capsule on each inductee:

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Basketball: Cal’s Roger Moute a Bidias selected to Pac-12 all-star squad for summer trip to China

Cal sophomore forward Roger Moute a Bidias has been chosen to participate with a Pac-12 Conference all-star squad on a four-game tour of China, beginning Aug. 10.

Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak will coach the Pac-12 team, featuring 13 players from 10 different conference schools. The tour is part of the Pac-12′s Globilization Initiative.

Moute a Bidias played sparingly for Cal last season as a true freshman.

Other players on the Pac-12 squad include Utah forward Jordan Loveridge (14.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Colorado forward Xavier Johnson (12.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg), Washington guard Andrew Andrews (12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Washington State guard DaVonte Lacy (19.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg).

The Pac-12 squad will play one game against a Chinese university all-star team and play three vs. Chinese professional teams, including one against the Shanghai Sharks. The Shanghai franchise is owned by former eight-time NBA all-star Yao Ming and features former Cal center Max Zhang.

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Evaluating the Pac-12 presidents’ proposals

The Pac-12 presidents covered a lot of territory in their proposals for NCAA changes outlined in a letter sent to their counterparts of the four other major football-playing conferences.

Some good ideas, a few that need substantial detail, and at least one that ain’t happening. Here’s my reaction:

– Permit institutions to make scholarship awards up to the full cost of attendance.

Reaction: That’s right, full scholarships do not necessarily– and in most cases don’t — cover the full cost of a student attending a school. Especially for kids whose families don’t have a lot of resources, this is an issue. There is plenty of money available at the big schools, no matter what anyone says, and this is right and reasonable.

– Provide reasonable ongoing medical or insurance assistance for student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury in competition or practice. Continue efforts to reduce the incidence of disabling injury.

Reaction: It’s unthinkable this is not standard procedure. Should be at the top of the list.

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