A new era in the California Vulcans men’s basketball program was ushered in Thursday with the hiring of new head coach Kent McBride.
McBride joins the Vulcans after spending the past five seasons at Concord University in West Virginia. Last season, the 33-year-old McBride led the Mountain Lions to their first conference tournament championship since 1997 and their second-ever NCAA Division II tournament appearance. His efforts helped him garner Mountain East Conference coach of the year honors.
In the conference tournament, McBride’s tutelage helped Concord upset the then Div. II No. 1-team in the country, West Liberty, in double overtime in the conference semifinals. That led to sealing the unlikely Mountain East Conference title against Notre Dame (OH). Overall, McBride finished his tenure at Concord with an 83-63 record after finishing 2015-16 with a 22-10 record.
“This is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often. California is a job that you immediately have to look at,” McBride said at his introductory press conference. “For me to leave Concord was a very difficult thing, but I say that to allude to how special this place is.”
Before being the Mountain Lions’ head coach, McBride was a point guard for Concord from 2002-06. He started 83 of 84 games in his last three seasons, while tallying over 900 points, 500 assists and 200 steals.
After graduating, McBride stayed in West Virginia to begin his coaching career at West Virginia Wesleyan as an assistant for two seasons. He then spent two seasons as an assistant for Glenville State before landing the head coaching job at his alma mater.
Anywhere McBride has gone, his teams have improved and produced quality players. West Virginia Wesleyan improved by seven wins in his second year as an assistant, ending up with their best record in five years. At Glenville, he coached a top-five national scorer in Justin Caldwell.
At Concord, he mentored nine all-conference players while leading the Mountain Cats to the semifinals of the old WVIAC Conference tournament in his first season as head coach. That was just two years after Concord only managed to win six games.
Finding a replacement for the longtime Vulcan head coach, Bill Brown, wasn’t going to be an easy task for the Cal athletic department. But now with the hire of McBride, the Vulcans will look to return both to prominence and postseason play once again.
“California is a program and a school that expects to compete for championships, but before we compete for championships, there’s going to have to be some small things we all need to understand that have to happen first,” McBride said. “You have to be an everyday winner; you go to class, do your job every day, come to practice every day. Winning is a byproduct of your everyday attitude.”
Image credit: Greg Sofranko/Cal U