Cuonzo Martin, the Cal men’s basketball head coach, agreed to a contract extension that takes his commitment with the Bears through the 2020-21 season.
He is coming off one of the best regular seasons in the program’s history, as the 23-11 Cal team secured the first No. 4 seed in program history. Though they had go on to get upset by a middle-of-the-road Hawaii squad in the first round, the Bears’ season was a memorable one.
“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve so far here in Berkeley, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to build the Cal men’s basketball program,” Martin said to Cal Athletics. “We’re just getting started, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to shape our men into leaders on and off the court.”
Cal went undefeated at home with Martin at the helm last season — his second with the team — and was led by a pair of star freshmen, Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown. While Brown is gone to the NBA now, Martin and the Bears are expected to build a Pac-12 title contender around Rabb this season.
This is especially true given the head coach’s impressive defensive pedigree — Cal gave up the fewest points per game in the Pac-12 last year and held opponents to just 39.6 percent shooting from the field. Martin’s offenses have been more stagnant, often spacing-deficient units that have held back the Bears’ potential to some degree. This will likely continue this season after Cal lost its best three-point marksman, Jordan Mathews.
Off the court, Cal’s academic performance has improved under Martin. The team scored a perfect 1,000 in its Academic Progress Rate for the 2014-15 season, Martin’s first season as coach.
“Coach Martin is a proven educator who has created a culture of success on the court, in the classroom and in our community,” said Athletic Director Mike Williams to Cal Athletics. “Given the levels of accomplishment (we) have seen through his first two seasons in Berkeley, we are excited about the direction we are heading with Cuonzo as our coach.”