Sun, May 23, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Warriors sign Stanford's coach Montgomery

AP , OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

The Golden State Warriors have hired Stanford University's Mike Montgomery as their new coach, an NBA source confirmed on Friday.

The team was expected to introduce Montgomery at an afternoon news conference it called to make a "major announcement."

Montgomery replaces Eric Musselman, whom the team fired on Wednesday after two seasons. A Pac-10 source told AP on Wednesday that Montgomery had told his college team he'd accepted the job. Both sources spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

The deal is reportedly a four-year, multimillion dollar contract.

Chris Mullin, a month into his new position as executive vice president of basketball operations, was pressed to announce Montgomery's hiring during a media session on Thursday but said nothing had been finalized. He also wanted to officially announce Musselman's dismissal, and name Rod Higgins as general manager.

Montgomery has been one of the most successful college coaches during his 18 years at Stanford, but has no NBA experience. He led the Cardinal to their third No. 1 NCAA tournament seed in five years this season, but Stanford was upset in the second round by the University of Alabama.

"Coach Montgomery brings great preparation," said Mark Madsen, a former Stanford player now with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I don't care what you do. You always want guys who are going to work hard. No one will outwork coach Montgomery.

"Coach Montgomery also brings an ability to communicate with players ... Relating to players in the NBA is a very important skill to have and I think coach Montgomery is going to do a great job."

Madsen spoke to Montgomery on Thursday.

Stanford has been to the second round of the NCAA tournament for 10 straight years and made the Final Four in 1998.

The Cardinal won their first 26 games this season and finished the regular season ranked No. 1 with a 29-1 mark. He has a career record of 547-244, including eight seasons at the University of Montana.

The 39-year-old Musselman led the Warriors to 38 victories in his first season, their best finish since 1994. Golden State won 37 games this season despite several big roster changes and significant injuries to Troy Murphy, Nick Van Exel, Speedy Claxton, Adonal Foyle and Erick Dampier. There were times the team didn't even have enough bodies to practice.

Musselman, who had one year remaining on a three-year, US$4.5 million contract, was 75-89 overall.

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