BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Former NBA coach Eric Musselman recently interviewed for the head coach opening at California, a person with knowledge of the process said.
Musselman met with athletic director Sandy Barbour about replacing Mike Montgomery, who announced his retirement last month. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because the school hasn’t released details of its search since Montgomery’s announcement on March 31.
Musselman, 49, spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Arizona State, with the goal of landing a head coaching job in college. He has a proven track record of developing young players.
He coached the Sacramento Kings in the 2006-07 season after leading the Golden State Warriors from 2002-04.
Musselman has shown he can guide young players to NBA careers during several stints in basketball’s minor leagues — something that happens regularly at Cal. He went 270-122 during seven years coaching the Continental Basketball Association’s Florida Beach Dogs. From 1990 through 1997, Musselman had 24 players called up to the NBA, the highest number in the league during that span.
He also coached the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the D-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Venezuelan national team.
Musselman has worked in some capacity for every NBA franchise in California. He began in the Clippers organization.
The Kings fired Musselman in April 2007 after a 33-49 season. Golden State let him go after the franchise missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year in his second season at the helm. Golden State went 37-45 in his final season and he led the Warriors to 38 victories in his first season.
Mussleman then spent two seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant under Mike Fratello before joining the Kings.
For Musselman, a Bay Area return would be an ideal fit. His two sons are still here and Musselman has strong ties to the college and pro teams and was a regular in arenas for games at all levels. Son Michael’s high school team, Monte Vista in suburban Danville, recently won a state championship.
For Barbour, he would be a big name to replace a longtime Pac-12 coach with a remarkable track record of success in Montgomery.
The Golden Bears went 21-14 and made the postseason for the sixth time in as many years under Montgomery but struggled late in the season and missed out on a return trip to the NCAA tournament.
Montgomery finished his career with a 677-317 record, having also spent 18 years at Stanford and eight at Montana. Montgomery also had two disappointing seasons as head coach of the Warriors in between his stints at Stanford and Cal.
Musselman’s first NBA coaching experience came with the Minnesota Timberwolves under his late father, Bill, in 1990-91. Musselman also worked as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks under Lon Kruger and as an assistant for the Orlando Magic under Chuck Daly and Doc Rivers.
Musselman played for the University of San Diego, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament two times.
Other candidates who have been considered for the Cal job are former Warriors assistant and current UC Irvine coach Russell Turner and Cal assistant Travis DeCuire — recommended by Montgomery.
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