Just under a week since California Head Coach Mike Montgomery returned to the school he spent 18 years head coaching at, Stanford, former OSU coach and current Cal assistant Jay John will be reaquainted with his old team tonight at Haas Pavilion.
You can read my more elaborate, statistical game preview here.
Jay John accumulated a 72-97 record in his six years at Oregon State, coaching the 2004-2005 team to the program's first winning season since Gary Payton roamed the halls of Gill Coliseum in 1990. From there, things didn't go so well, as John was released from his head coaching duties in the midst of Oregon State's pitiful 0-18 Pac-10 season. He's now the right hand man of Mike Montgomery, who has a 562-247 career head coaching record, that, like I mentioned, includes the 18-year tenure at Stanford.
It was rumored, interestingly enough, that Mike Montgomery was efforted by Bob De Carolis as a heir to Jay John, but that never turned into anything.
Regardless, Craig Robinson is the man at the helm of the Oregon State program now. His team may not have better record than Mongomery's, but by darn, the Beavers have sure received a lot more national media attention. Will that help out Oregon State in tonight's game? Probably not. But we'll see how it helps out on the recruiting trail down the road.
After Coach Robinson helped Oregon State to it's first Pac-10 win in over twenty conference games, this is what guard Calvin Haynes had to say regarding the situation:
"Two words: Coaching change," Haynes told the Oregonian. "What else can you say? Coach (Craig) Robinson is a really great coach.
"He knows what he is talking about. He's played the game before, and he just knows what he's doing."
Calvin has since sobered up a bit from that initial blast...
"[Coach John] is a great guy. ... I don't think he's a bad coach, that's not what I meant by (my previous comments)," Haynes told the Oregonian. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't even be here. It's going to be good to see him. I'm going to give him a big hug."
...but I think we get the point. The players like Robinson more than they did John, and it's showing on the court, bit by bit.
Regardless of the outcome at Haas Pavilion tonight (the game is radio only), Beaver Nation has to be glad that Coach John caught on with a successful program. He was in a tough spot at Oregon State, and did his best. That being said, I think the Cal faithful like having him around, too.
"It's like having two head coaches," Cal forward Jamal Boykin said.