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UC Irvine coach Russell Turner interviewed twice for Cal basketball job; Mike Brey denies interest

Another name surfaces.

So far, not many names have been circulated for the Cal basketball head coaching vacancy. Cal associate coach Travis DeCuire has been the only name confirmed up to Sunday afternoon.

We now have another name to add to the list. UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner has been confirmed for not just one, but TWO interviews with athletic director Sandy Barbour.

A source confirmed that UC Irvine coach Russell Turner interviewed with Sandy Barbour this weekend at the Final Four in Dallas. But there is no word yet on when the nearly week-long coaching search will end.


How many other candidates Barbour talked with this weekend is unclear.

Likewise, there is no known timetable on when the process might be completed.

So it appears Turner has become a serious candidate for this job. Let’s recap his coaching credentials.

Turner has coached four years at UC Irvine in the Big West. He had two losing seasons, rebounded with a fourth place finish last season that qualified his team for the CIT, then finished in first place in the conference this season. But he didn't make the NCAA Tournament, falling in the Big West to a then 11-19 Cal Poly team. (Cal Poly would go on to win the NCAA at-large bid and qualify as the lowest seed in the Dance).

Turner has spent most of his career as an assistant, with over a decade of work put in at Stanfurd under Monty and with the Golden State Warriors under Don Nelson. He is definitely familiar with the Bay Area for sure. He has also coached at Wake Forest back when the Demon Deacons had a good team (TIMMMAYY!!!).

Conclusions: If you were unsure of Sonny Dykes’s coaching chops, you have to be really uncertain about Turner. He has had no real success at the major coaching level. He has no marquee wins (I do not believe he has ever beaten a tournament team). He has never been to the NCAA Tournament.  He is a Montgomery assistant who doesn't have the Montgomery seal of approval.

This is a hire that would be extremely risky for Barbour as it figures to be very unpopular with the fanbase, particularly after what happened with football last season. I have a feeling that Barbour would end up picking DeCuire if these are the only two realistic candidates on the table. Maybe Turner possesses other qualities that I'm unfamiliar with. However, they'll have to be put on display pretty quickly for fans not to lose even more faith in the athletic department.

What are your thoughts about Russell Turner as the head of Cal men's basketball?

UPDATE: Looks like Mike Brey will not be a real candidate for the job.