Lakers cult hero getting his shot as Pac-12 basketball head coach

Mark Madsen is remembered most for awkward dance moves with the Lakers. He’ll be looking to build on that legacy as he takes over a Pac-12 cellar-dweller.

For NBA fans of a certain age, Mark Madsen dancing is an indelible, unshakable image. He won a pair of rings with the Lakers, as a role-playing big man in 2001 and 2002, and his Elaine Benes-esque moves were the highlight of the team’s championship parades — accentuated by his era-appropriate jorts.

Madsen ended up playing nine NBA seasons, making an impact with strength and frenetic effort, averaging 6.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per 36 minutes. He finished his career with six seasons as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, but went back to the Lakers when he retired — spending five seasons as an assistant coach, from 2014 to 2019.

He spent the last four years as the head coach of Utah Valley State, amassing a 70-50 record, winning two regular-season WAC titles, a WAC Coach of the Year Award and helping his team reach the Final Four of this year’s NIT Tournament. (They’ll play UAB tonight for a chance to go to the finals).

He’s also, apparently, earned himself a new job in the Pac-12.

Lakers ‘legend’ Mark Madsen will become the next head coach at Cal

According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Madsen will take over at Cal, presumably becoming official after Utah Valley State’s NIT run is over. Cal fired head coach Mark Fox at the beginning of this month after a disastrous 3-23 season.

Madsen will certainly have his work cut out for him. The Golden Bears’ last winning season came in 2016-17 and they haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2015-16 and haven’t won a game in the tournament since 2012-13. For reference, that was three head coaches ago and when Allen Crabbe, whose NBA career is already finished, was their leading scorer.

Here’s hoping Madsen is able to turn things around quickly and we all get to see him dancing in celebration again soon.

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