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California Golden Bears
California Golden Bears logo
University University of California, Berkeley
League NCAA
Conference Pacific-12 Conference logo PAC 12
Division Division I
Team information
Head coach Cuonzo Martin
Arena Haas Pavilion
(Capacity: 11,877)
Location Flag of the United States Berkeley, California
Team colors           Navy Blue & Gold
Nickname Golden Bears
NCAA Tournament championships
1959
NCAA Final Four
1946, 1959, 1960
NCAA Tournament appearances
1946, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996*, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016
*Vacated by NCAA

The California Golden Bears at the University of California, Berkeley) are a college basketball team located in Berkeley, California playing in the Pacific-12 Conference in the NCAA. The team first played basketball intercollegiately in 1907 and began full conference play in 1915. The 1920s was the dominant decade for Cal basketball, as the Bears won 6 conference titles under coaches E.H. Wright and Nibs Price.

Nibs Price would coach Cal with great success for 30 years from 1924 to 1954, earning a 449-294 total record, many single season winning records, and an additional 3 conference titles in the 1930s and 1940s.

Cal reached the pinnacle of the sport during the tenure of Pete Newell, who was head coach from 1955 to 1960. The Golden Bears earned the conference title four out of his five years and in 1959, won the NCAA title. In Newell's last year, Cal came close to another NCAA title, but lost to Ohio State in the final. The fortunes of Cal men's basketball would never be the same after Pete Newell; Cal did not win the conference title until fifty years after his departure. The 1970s and 1980s were for the most part down years for the program, despite having players such as Kevin Johnson. Lou Campanelli served as head coach from 1986 - 1993. The highlight of this era was a 75–67 victory over UCLA in 1986 that ended a 25-year, 52 game losing streak to the Bruins. Campanelli in his first season took the Golden Bears to the 1986 National Invitation Tournament, the first post season play since 1960.

Cal achieved much better success in the 1990s, qualifying for the NCAA tournament five times with future NBA players Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray in the early '90s and Sean Lampley and Shareef Abdur-Rahim in the late '90s. Cal also won the 1999 National Invitation Tournament, with a thrilling 61-60 victory over Clemson in the title game.

In 2006, the Golden Bears reached their first Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament championship game. Power forward Leon Powe grabbed a tournament-record 20 rebounds against USC in the first round and then scored a tournament-record 41 points in a double-overtime victory versus Oregon in the semi-finals. Despite California's 71-52 loss to UCLA in the final game, Powe was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament.

From 1996–2008, under Ben Braun, Cal qualified for the NCAA tournament three straight times in the 2000s and six times overall. However, after finishing near the bottom of the Pac-10 for the second straight year, Braun was dismissed in late March 2008. The former coach of rival Stanford, Mike Montgomery, succeeded Braun.[1] In his first year the Bears finished tied for third in the Pac-10 and made it to the NCAA Tournament, where they were eliminated in the first round to the Maryland Terrapins.

In Montgomery's second season, the Bears won their first conference title in 50 years. The team, featuring four seniors as starters, only lost one game at Haas Pavilion but had a rough non-conference schedule featuring losses to elite teams such as Kansas, Ohio State, and Syracuse, which quickly knocked them out of the national rankings after being ranked #13 in the pre-season. Despite losing the Pac-10 tournament, and questions on whether even the conference champion of a down Pac-10 conference would receive an at-large bid to the tournament, the Bears qualified for their second straight NCAA bid as a #8 seed. They were able to one-up their previous season by winning their first round matchup against the Louisville Cardinals but fell to the eventual national champions, Duke, in the second round. Senior Jerome Randle finished the season and his career as Cal's all-time leading scorer.

Championship Wins

One (1959)

External Links


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