Mark Madsen, a two-time NBA champion with East Bay roots and a proven track record as both a college and professional coach, has been named the 19th head coach in California men’s basketball history, Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton announced Wednesday.
Madsen will be formally introduced at a press conference at 1 p.m. PT on Monday, April 3 in Haas Pavilion.
After a decorated playing career which included a trip to the NCAA Final Four at Stanford and two NBA titles while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Madsen is considered a rising star in the coaching ranks, having most recently led Utah Valley to the semifinals of the 2023 NIT. Madsen was named the 2023 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and led the Wolverines to a pair of conference titles during his four seasons at the helm. Madsen has been well-recognized for his efforts during the 2022-23 campaign as he was named District Coach of the Year by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and a finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year award, which is presented annually to the top Division I mid-major coach in college basketball.
“I could not be more excited to welcome Mark, his wife Hannah, and their children to the Cal Family,” Knowlton said. “We conducted an exhaustive search, and one name kept rising to the top – and that’s Mark Madsen. Mark is a person of high character, high energy, high intensity, and he’s done it the right way. He’s intense. He’s passionate. He loves his student-athletes, and he loves competing. We want an ambassador for this program who is going to make us proud and develop our young men – both on and off the court. I am absolutely thrilled that Mark will lead our program into the future.”
Madsen spent six seasons as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers (2013-19) prior to leading Utah Valley. During his time on the Los Angeles bench, he coached NBA superstars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, among others. He also played alongside some of the NBA’s greatest players, including Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Garnett. Following three seasons played with the Lakers (2000-03), Madsen played six further seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I am extremely grateful to Chancellor Christ and Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton for their belief in me, and for the tremendous opportunity to lead Cal’s men’s basketball team back to its winning tradition,” Madsen said. “Having grown up in the area, I have always admired Cal as an institution and as an athletic program, with so many of my teachers, coaches and friends impressive Cal graduates. We will win with young men who have elite academic and athletic talent and who will represent Cal with pride. Hannah and I and our children are excited to return to the Bay Area and join the Cal community and I cannot wait to get started. Go Bears!”
Madsen’s first coaching position came as an assistant coach for the Utah Flash of the NBA Development League during the 2009-10 season. He later returned to his alma mater to earn an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2012 and spent the 2012-13 season as an assistant coach for the Cardinal, working in recruiting, opponent game planning and player development.
A 2019 Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Madsen earned All-America honors twice while helping lead the Cardinal to four NCAA Tournament appearances – including the 1998 Final Four – in as many seasons played from 1996-2000. He averaged 10.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in his Stanford career and ranks fourth in field goal percentage (.587) and sixth in rebounds (857) in program history. Madsen earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford in 2000.
Madsen earned the nickname “Mad Dog” for his aggressive style of play during his early playing days at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville and at Stanford. He served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Spain. Madsen and his wife, Hannah, have two sons, William and Leroy, one daughter, Alexandria and a child who is due any day.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT MARK MADSEN
“Mark Madsen is an incredible human being. He has a tremendous amount of passion for the game and his players along with remarkable character. I’d be ecstatic to have a son play for him and work with him daily.” – Steve Nash, 2018 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player
“Mark is one of the brightest coaches in college basketball today. Besides his basketball knowledge, the thing that sets Mark apart is his high moral character. He will be a fantastic representative of the Cal family.” – Mark D’Antoni, Two-time NBA Coach of the Year
“Mark is one of the hardest working, most knowledgeable coaches I have ever had the pleasure of working with. His attention to details, his passion for the game and his ability to teach have led him to have great success as a coach. On top of that he’s a great man, great friend, and parents will be lucky to have him help lead their kids.” – Luke Walton, Three-time NBA champion and former NBA head coach
“Mark was not just my teammate but my friend. I’m excited to witness all of his success both playing and coaching the game. Mark’s love for basketball is over the top; his willingness to learn the game from coaches and teammates throughout his career has set him up to be a great coach. I’m excited to see what this next chapter brings him.” – Robert Horry, Seven-time NBA champion
“Mark Madsen is one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. I was lucky to be teammates with him in college where he consistently demonstrated leadership, hustle and true friendship each and every day. His drive and positive energy inspired all of us to improve and work harder to achieve our goals. I’m so proud to see the coach he has become and how his players can look to him as an excellent role model for future success in all parts of their lives.” – Jason Collins, 15-year NBA veteran
“Mark was the teammate that every championship-level team must have on it; a player with boundless focus and energy coupled with a high basketball IQ and a willingness to sacrifice for his teammates and the greater team goal. Some people call those players the glue player – I call it the heart and soul of any successful team.” – Rick Fox, Three-time NBA champion
THE MADSEN FILE
Hometown: Danville, Calif.
Family: Wife: Hannah; Sons: William, Leroy; Daughter: Alexandria
Alma Mater: Stanford, 2000 & 2012 (BA, economics; MBA)
2000-03: Los Angeles Lakers
2003-09: Minnesota Timberwolves
2009-10: Utah Flash (Assistant Coach)
2012-13: Stanford (Assistant Coach)
2013: Los Angeles D-Fenders (Head Coach)
2013-19: Los Angeles Lakers (Assistant Coach)
2019-23: Utah Valley (Head Coach)
2023-Present: California (Head Coach)