Bay Area-native Mark Madsen has been named the new head coach at California, the school announced on Wednesday. Madsen played at rival Stanford and spent many years with the Los Angeles Lakers as both a player and coach before coming back to college basketball as Utah Valley head coach in 2019.
“We conducted an exhaustive search, and one name kept rising to the top – and that’s Mark Madsen,” AD Jim Knowlton said in a statement. “Mark is a person of high character, high energy, high intensity, and he’s done it the right way. He’s intense. He’s passionate. He loves his student-athletes, and he loves competing. We want an ambassador for this program who is going to make us proud and develop our young men – both on and off the court. I am absolutely thrilled that Mark will lead our program into the future.”
Madsen has been a rising star in the coaching world, leading the Wolverines to two WAC titles in four years and this year winning 28 games – a program record. UVU was just eliminated from the NIT Semifinals on Tuesday night, ending Madsen’s tenure with a 70-51 overall record.
“I am extremely grateful to Chancellor Christ and Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton for their belief in me, and for the tremendous opportunity to lead Cal’s men’s basketball team back to its winning tradition,” Madsen said. “Having grown up in the area, I have always admired Cal as an institution and as an athletic program, with so many of my teachers, coaches and friends impressive Cal graduates. We will win with young men who have elite academic and athletic talent and who will represent Cal with pride. Hannah and I and our children are excited to return to the Bay Area and join the Cal community and I cannot wait to get started. Go Bears!”
Madsen was considered a potential candidate at his alma mater, Stanford, where he was an All-American in 2000 and also served one year as an assistant coach, but that job did not open and he will now lead his old rival.
The Bears last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2016 but haven’t reached the second weekend since 1997. The school parted ways with previous head coach Mark Fox after four rough seasons at the helm, including this past year where the team finished a disastrous 3-29. Madsen will have a lot of rebuilding ahead of him, but should be just the man for the job.
Once best known for his goofy dancing during a Lakers NBA Championship victory rally (he won two rings as a player there), Madsen is now one of the hottest names in college basketball and is poised to turn things around in Berkeley.
credit to California Athletics for the image