NCAA Basketball: NIT Semifinals-Utah Valley at UAB

One of the best players in Stanford history will be coaching at … the Cardinal's bitter rival?

Yes indeed.

Utah Valley coach Mark Madsen, who starred at Stanford in the 1990s before winning NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, has agreed to be the next coach of California's men's basketball program, sources told CBS Sports. Madsen became a first-time head coach in 2019 at UVU. He just took the Wolverines to the NIT semifinals and finished the season 28-9 after falling to UAB on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. Madsen is 70-51 in his young career. 

In a strange bout of timing, Madsen is expecting the birth of his fourth child any day now. That, in combination with Utah Valley's season extending to the end of March, made for a crazy few days for Madsen, who wasn't approached until the past week for the Cal job.

Golden Bears athletic director Jim Knowlton initially pursued Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett, only to be turned down again by the longtime WCC coach, who just took SMC to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a 5-seed. Madsen was an ideal candidate to take over at his alma mater, but Stanford AD Bernard Muir unexpectedly decided to stick with Jerod Haase after a seventh consecutive season of not making the NCAA Tournament.

All of this opened a window for Cal to make a move on Madsen. 

Sources said that Madsen's former college coach, Mike Montgomery, also played a role in the process. Montgomery coached both Bay Area programs (Stanford, 1986-2004; Cal, 2008-14) and won more than 500 games combined at the two schools. Madsen played at Stanford from 1996-2000 and reached the Final Four as a sophomore in 1998. 

He played nine seasons in the NBA with the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves. Madsen was an assistant at Stanford in 2012-13, then spent six seasons with the Lakers as an assistant before taking the Utah Valley job in 2019. Madsen's reputation as a coach has grown pleasantly in recent years. 

Cal fired Mark Fox at the beginning of March following the worst season in program history: 3-29. It hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since Montgomery was there in 2013. It last won a Pac-12 title in 2010, when the league was called the Pac-10. The last time it made the Sweet 16 was 1997. Madsen was a freshman then, playing across the San Francisco Bay at Stanford. Now he'll guide the Golden Bears and scheme against his alma mater at least two times per season.