Milano pushed against Cal baseball fundraising in ’09

It’s important to keep in mind that this happened more than a year before the Cal baseball team was slashed,  but Bob Milano may have tried to force out successor and current head coach David Esquer. And Milano — a legend who coached the Bears for 22 years and whose jersey was the fourth to be retired by the program — may have done it by telling everyone not to give money to Cal baseball.

From the Chronicle:

In a 2009 e-mail addressed to several former Cal players and circulated among scores more, former coach Bob Milano urged them “to keep the pressure on the Baseball Program” by not contributing money to the program and not taking part in the team’s annual golf tournament, alumni day or preseason dinner.

That summer, Milano had met with athletic director Sandy Barbour. Esquer and several former players said in recent interviews that they believe Milano hoped Barbour would fire Esquer.

Milano denies he was trying to get Esquer fired. He wouldn’t discuss what happened in the meeting with Barbour other than to say he was “fried” at the state of Cal baseball and urged Barbour not to let the program “fester.”

Esquer is a good recruiter, but he isn’t the greatest coach in the world. His teams have regularly stumbled late in the season. He entered this season with a .521 record in 11 seasons, and it took him until his 12th to get his second postseason victory at Cal — this year’s victory over Alcorn State in the Houston Regional. Before this year’s miracle run, he was 1-6 in the playoffs. (He’s now 7-7.) For a school that is tied for the most current Major Leaguers (8), the results have not been stellar.

Still, it’s not an issue to risk the program over, and Milano only looks petty here.