Coming off of back-to-back eight win seasons that also saw the Cal Bears go a combined 5-31 in Pac-12 games, it wasn’t surprising when the school decided to move on from Wyking Jones after just two seasons. And now, the school has filled the void at head coach, by announcing the hiring of former Nevada and Georgia head coach, Mark Fox.
In 14 seasons of coaching at the those two schools, Fox compiled a 286-176 record, making the NCAA Tournament five times and winning the regular season title in the WAC in four of his five seasons at Nevada.
Fox was able to make the NCAA Tournament twice at Georgia and he was able to get them into the AP Poll’s top-25 during the 2010-11 season, but after a good run at Nevada, things ran stale for Fox at Georgia as a lot of the seasons the Bulldogs had under him were barely over .500 and he only went 163-133 in his nine seasons in Athens.
The thing you could point to if you were going to defend this hire from a Cal point of view is that Georgia has had pretty much no basketball success at all during it’s program history, having only been to the NCAA Tournament 12 times in school history and Fox is responsible for two of the schools seven NCAA Tournament wins all-time.
However, his records never got progressively better at Georgia, they largely stayed in the same ballpark so that could call into question his ability to develop players and to recruit. The good thing for him is that he does have some experience coaching on the West Coast, so he isn’t coming in blind to that area of the country.
Overall this feels like a very safe hire for Cal. I don’t think it’ll lead to any big-time success for the Cal basketball program, but they should be better under Fox than they have been the last two seasons.
Also, Cal doesn’t have the deepest pockets to go out and hire a big-name coach, so I’m not sure how much better they could have possibly done, but in the short-term they should be better off with Fox, but in the long-term it’s easy to see why there would be questions around this and how much Cal really wants to win on the hardwood.
Top Photo: Sean Rayford/Associated Press