Utah Valley head coach Mark Madsen directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. Madsen becomes the new Cal Bears head coach for the 2023-24 season. (AP file photo)
By Michael Duca and Morris Phillips
Mark Madsen knew the job was his but he had to complete coaching at Utah Valley in the NIT semifinals against the UAB Blazers on Tuesday night. Had the Wolverines won and advanced Madsen would have held off on his official announcement that he would take the job at UC Berkeley in the Cal Bears men’s basketball program.
Utah Valley lost by two points 88-86 in overtime and that was the last and final game that Madsen would be coaching at Utah Valley as he makes his way to the Pac 12 to coach the Golden Bears. Madsen who was a Stanford Cardinal standout and a NBA veteran, finished coaching Utah Valley to a WAC Championship and led the Wolves to a 28-9 record this season.
Over his three seasons at Utah Valley he put together an impressive record at 34-15. Madsen before joining Utah Valley was an assistant coach at the Los Angeles Lakers. Madsen was an assistant coach in the G league and at Stanford. As a college player Madsen was an accomplished player achieving the two time all conference.
Madsen is best remembered for his performance in the Final Four in 1998 and making it as a first round pick in 2000 and helped the Lakers win two championships. Madsen left the Lakers and played six years for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Madsen’s name came up as a possible replacement for Stanford head coach Jerod Haase but Stanford decided at the end of the Pac 12 Tournament to keep Haase as head coach. Cal was considering St Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett, Bennett said he wanted to stay at St Mary’s and so the Bears focused their attention in going after Madsen.
Cal fired head coach Mark Fox at the conclusion of the Pac 12 Tournament after Cal was eliminated in the first game of the tournament. Fox guided the Bears to a 3-29 season in 2022-23. Cal hadn’t been to the big dance tournament since 2016. Cal had gone through three head coaches since their last tournament, Cuonzo Martin 2014-2017 (62-39), Wyking Jones 2017-2019 (16-47), and Mark Fox 2019-2023 ( 38-87).
Morris Phillips and Michael Duca are Cal Bears beat writers for http://www.sportsradioservice.com