Cal reportedly fired head coach Wyking Jones on Sunday after two rather dismal seasons in Berkeley.
Jones went 16-47 in his two years at Cal, including a 5-31 record in the Pac-12 (which has not been exactly a powerhouse conference recently), so his dismissal, while fairly quick, isn’t a tremendous surprise. That means Cal will open up its coaching search, joining UCLA and Washington State as Pac-12 teams seeking a new head coach.
According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, they are hoping to bring back a Cal legend as their new head coach, as they will target Hall of Famer Jason Kidd, whose coaching experience is a pair of NBA jobs in Brooklyn and Milwaukee, along with a pair of top mid-major coaches if that doesn’t work out.
Kidd had solid success early in his tenures with both the Nets and Bucks, but he seemed to wear on players as years went by. That might make him more effective in college, where players are only going to be there for a max of four or five years. There were questions at the NBA level about whether Kidd can adapt his coaching style to the modern style of play, and those would remain at Cal. However, in college, given the skill level of the shooters, there are plenty of teams that excel without relying on three-pointers as much as is necessary in the NBA.
Style of play matters some, but the success of a college coach begins with recruiting. He’s never had to do that, but as a Hall of Fame point guard one would expect his voice to carry plenty of weight with recruits. Still, that would likely be as big a determining factor of his success at the college level as his coaching style, and it’s not always an easy thing for former NBA coaches to pick up.
However, it’s far from a guarantee Kidd returns to Berkeley as he is apparently still hoping to get another NBA job and the Lakers are expected to have him near the top of their target list this summer when Luke Walton gets let go as most anticipate.
Cal can make a strong push, but its hard to see them beating out a Lakers offer if it exists.