BERKELEY, Calif. (TNS) — Cal has turned to former Georgia coach Mark Fox to revive the men's basketball program.
Fox, 50, a Garden City High School graduate, has been hired to replace Wyking Jones, UC Berkeley officials announced Friday. Jones was fired last week after overseeing the worst two-year stretch of Cal men's basketball ever.
"Mark Fox is a man of unparalleled integrity with a proven record of success as a head basketball coach," athletics director Jim Knowlton said in a statement. "He is an inspiring leader, a teacher and an exceptional communicator who has displayed a strong commitment to developing the entire student-athlete on the court and off the court."
Call officials have scheduled a news conference at 10 a.m. Monday to introduce Fox, who is 286-176 in 14 seasons.
He was out of coaching after being fired by Georgia last March after nine seasons with the Bulldogs. Fox's Georgia teams went 166-133 and made the NCAA Tournament twice. He also had five stellar seasons at Nevada, with the Wolf Pack going 123-43 with three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Fox is familiar with the West Coast with a collegiate coaching start as a Washington assistant from 1991-93. He spent the next six seasons at Kansas State before returning West to coach at Nevada.
He had one of the most successful starts to a career in Division I history at Nevada with an 81-18 record in his first three seasons.
Fox led the Wolf Pack to four conference titles, three NCAA Tournament berths and two trips to the CBI Tournament. Fox was named Western Athletic Conference coach of the year three times – in 2005, '06 and '07,
Fox also is a former chair of the NCAA men's basketball rules committee and member of the NCAA Division I men's basketball ethics coalition. He has also raised nearly $1 million for Coaches vs. Cancer, according to a Cal news release.
"Cindy and I are extremely excited to join the Cal family and lead the basketball program," Fox said in a statement, referring to him and his wife. "The academic excellence of the University of California combined with the vision and leadership of Jim Knowlton offer an amazing opportunity.
"Early in my coaching career, I had the privilege to spend time with coach Pete Newell. It will be my honor to lead the Bears on the court gracing his name. The lineage of greatness of the Pac-12 offers a tremendous platform for Cal basketball."
Fox spent last fall serving under USA coach Jeff Van Gundy for World Cup qualifying.
"I believe Mark is going to win big, partner with the university, the administration and the students, and he's going to do so in a manner that never comprises the integrity of that great institution," Van Gundy said in a statement released by Cal officials.
"What I've always admired most is that he's a leader of integrity, dignity and humility, and that allows a coach to put the players first."
Before settling on Fox Cal officials pursued former Bears star Jason Kidd, an NBA Hall of Fame player. While Kidd said coaching Cal would be a thrill, some think he wants to return to the NBA sideline. Kidd might be a strong candidate for the Lakers if current coach Luke Walton is fired after a disappointing season in Los Angeles.
Former Warriors and Stanford assistant Russell Turner's name also had been mentioned in connection with Cal's opening. Turner has had a highly successful run at UC Irvine the past nine seasons. Montana's Travis DeCuire, an ex-Cal assistant, was reportedly a candidate before agreeing to an extension.
"We had an exceptional pool of candidates, and through the entire process, one person clearly rose to the top," Knowlton added in his statement. "I am excited to welcome Mark to the Cal family and look forward to him leading Cal men's basketball program to new heights. We want our teams to be exceptional, and I firmly believe that Mark is the person to lead us there."
The Bears seemingly have nowhere to go but up after a 16-47 record the past two seasons under Jones, which included a woeful 5-31 in Pac-12 Conference action.