While Bob DeCarolis has decided to stay the course and retain Craig Robinson at least one more season, the Pac-12 basketball landscape continues to change. And Monday was a doozy.
According to reports, Mike Montgomery is retiring after six seasons at California. The legendary coach is mostly remembered for his 18-year stint coaching rival Stanford. During that span, he led the Cardinal to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including a Final Four appearance in 1998. He finishes with 667 victories.
Despite his dominance against OSU, cheers to a great career. He came across as gruff and sometimes a jerk, but there’s no denying he could coach basketball. To turn Stanford into a powerhouse like he did was impressive. And while his work at Cal wasn’t as successful, he still led the Golden Bears to four NCAA tournaments.
It will be interesting to see who Cal ends up hiring to replace Montgomery. Beaver fans sure can hope it will be former Beavers coach Jay John. But unfortunately, they probably won’t get that lucky.
Hours later, reports confirmed that former Oregon coach Ernie Kent will become Washington State’s new coach. He coached the Ducks for 13 years and led them five NCAA tournaments, including two Elite Eight appearances, but hasn’t coached since the 2009-10 season.
But similar to Mike Leach, this is another flashy hire for the Cougs and should rejuvenate the fan base. It’s fair to ask how he will do without UO’s vast resources. But he should be a major upgrade from Ken Bone. At the very least, his uptempo system should help land some recruits.
What this means for OSU hoops is that two conference foes have a chance to start anew and chart a new course. New coaches usually bring excitement and a new sense of hope, something that Beaver fans are struggling to maintain after six years of Robinson at the helm.
And with Kent being hired, cross one more name off my short list for next OSU coach. (RW)