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Former Nevada coach Mark Fox finalizing deal with Cal

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Former Nevada coach Mark Fox is reportedly finishing a deal to be Cal's head coach. (Nevada athletics)

Mark Fox, the former head coach at Nevada and Georgia, is finalizing a deal to become Cal's new coach, according to CBS' Jon Rothstein and Stadium's Jeff Goodman.

During five seasons at Nevada (from 2004-09), Fox posted a 123-43 overall record and 66-16 WAC mark. He won three regular-season conference championships, plus one WAC Tournament title, and led Nevada to three NCAA Tournament berths, including two runs to the second round, and two CBI first-round exits.

Fox, 50, then moved on to Georgia for nine seasons where success was harder to find. Coaching in the SEC, Fox's Bulldogs went 163-133 overall and 77-79 in conference. His team reached two NCAA Tournaments (both first-round exits) and three NITs (where Georgia went 2-3).

Overall, Fox is 286-176 with five NCAA Tournament bids in 14 seasons, as well as three NITs and two CBIs. He is 4-10 in those postseason tournaments, including a 2-5 mark in the Big Dance.

Fox's 74.1 winning percentage at Nevada ranks second in school history behind current coach Eric Musselman. Fox came to Nevada as an assistant in Trent Johnson's second season (2000-01) and eventually succeeded Johnson when left for the Stanford head job. Fox inherited Nevada's first Sweet 16 team and made three straight NCAA Tournaments before struggling to maintain that success, posting two CBI seasons in his final two years in Reno.

At Nevada, Fox was known as a good recruiter of under-the-radar talent. He signed and developed Ramon Sessions, JaVale McGee, Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson into NBA players, only Babbitt being higher than a three-star recruit out of high school. As an assistant, he played a big role in the recruitment of Nick Fazekas, another NBA player who is considered by many the best player in school history.

Fox was fired by Georgia after the 2017-18 season in which he went 18-15 overall and 7-11 in the SEC. That came on the heels of a 19-15 and 9-9 season. His Bulldogs were consistent, never posting fewer than 14 wins or more than 21 victories in his nine seasons. Fox's teams are known for their strong defense, whereas the offense has been a little more of a challenge. When he was fired at Georgia, he had two years left on his contract with a reported buyout of $1.2 million.

At Cal, Fox inherits a program that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. The Bears attempted to hire Musselman two offseasons ago, but he took his name out of consideration for the job after two interviews to remain at Nevada, where he got a big raise. Cal eventually hired Wyking Jones, an assistant under Cuonzo Martin, who left for Missouri to open the Cal job in the first place. Jones went 16-47 overall and 5-29 in the Pac-12 in two seasons before being fired. He won eight games in both seasons, with back-to-back last-place Pac-12 finishes.

In a twist, this wasn't the first time Fox, who sat out of coaching last season, took a run at the Cal job. Following his fourth season at Nevada, the 2007-08 campaign, Fox interviewed for the Bears' job, which eventually went to Mike Montgomery, who coached Cal for six seasons before retiring. Montgomery, who is in the College Basketball Hall of Fame, led Cal to four NCAA Tournament berths and two NITs in his six seasons.

Cal has had a decent amount of success over the last 30 seasons, getting to the NCAA Tournament 14 times since 1990, including two Sweet 16s, but winning a Pac-12 regular-season title just once since 1961 (that came in 2010).

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