NCAA Division: Division I
Past Conferences: Pac-10, Pac-8, AAWU, PCC, Ind
City: Berkeley, California
Stadium: Haas Pavilion
NCAA Tournaments: 1946, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996*, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016
*Indicates vacated by NCAA
National Championships: 1
Conference Titles: 0
The California Golden Bears men’s basketball is based in Berkeley and commenced in the 1907-08 season. The team’s aspirations to become relevant didn’t pick up until the program joined the Pacific Coast Conference. Under coaches E.H. Wright and Nibs Price, the school would accumulate six conference titles.
During his 30-year tenure, Price would register a record of 449-294. However, the best was yet to come, as the odds were the greatest during the Pete Newell era, which was relatively short. Under his leadership, the California Bears’ team stats were difficult to match.
During that span, the Bears would make it to at least four Elite 8 appearances, and two Final Four appearances. After winning the NCAA championship in 1959, the team lost in the following year’s championship against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
It is unfortunate that the program no longer displays the same dominance it once did. The next three decades were rough as the school would experience an NCAA Tournament appearance drought.
The Golden Bears qualified for the NCAA tournament five times in the 1990s with future NBA players Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, as well as the future perennial All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez in the early and mid-1990s. The teams would also feature Sean Lampley and Shareef Abdur-Rahim in the late 1990s.
Blemish in the 90s
In the program’s history, there was a blemish during the 90s run. Assistant Todd Bozeman was funneling money with a cash amount of $30,000 over the course to star Jelani Gardner’s parents. Due to the unfolding events, the school lost four scholarships over two years.
The 1994–95 season was forfeited, while the following season was essentially the same except for one game. Amid all the noise, the program would win the NIT in 1999 over Clemson. The school punched its tickets a few times during the early 2000s, but the program was far from its peak, which was established decades ago.
It was the Golden Bears’ first appearance in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game in 2006. Despite suffering a major defeat in the Tournament Final, Leon Powe was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
Mike Montgomery was the coach that succeeded Ben Braun. In 2009-10, Bears won their first conference title in 50 years under his leadership. Over the next few years, the team participated in the tournament a few times, but their biggest accomplishment was recruiting 5-star small forward Jaylen Brown, who now plays for the Boston Celtics.
In 2019, Mark Fox was named Cal’s 18th head basketball coach. He faces long NCAAB odds as the team is looking to rebuild its core.
Jerome Randle 1,835
Sean Lampley 1,776
Patrick Christopher 1,700
Bob McKeen 993
Ansley Truitt 940
David Kravish 917
Keith Smith 546
Justin Cobbs 531
Jerome Randle 524
Jason Kidd 204
Butch Hays 166
A.J. Diggs 158
What Is the Highest Win Total in Program History?
The highest win total the Bears would register would take place during the 1945-46 season. The team would accumulate 30 wins and six losses that year.
Who Is the Winningest Coach in Program History?
Nobody in the program’s history has come close to Nibs Price’s 453-win tenure. Ben Braun trails Price by more than 200 wins. Getting 300 wins during a tenure will be a difficult feat to accomplish.
Who Is the Greatest Player in Program History?
Jason Kidd is the greatest player in the Bears’ history; he was selected second overall in the 1994 Draft. He cemented himself in the NBA Hall of Fame with 10 All-Star selections, numerous accolades, and a championship with the Dallas Mavericks. Additionally, he is the current head coach of the Mavs.