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Excellence Initiative Is Launched To Support Cal Men's Basketball

BERKELEY – With a renewed energy surrounding the Cal men’s basketball program, the Cal Athletics Fund is excited to launch the Cal Men’s Basketball Excellence Initiative - the exclusive philanthropic giving society of Cal men’s basketball. The Cal Men’s Basketball Excellence Initiative was created to provide additive support for the program with a focus on four key priorities: holistic facility enhancements, nutrition, technology and innovation, and attracting and retaining elite coaching and support staff. To date, nearly $700,000 has been committed to this effort. 


This launch comes at a time where Cal has focused its efforts on men’s basketball - hiring Head Coach Mark Madsen and doubling the department’s investment to mirror the funding seen at fellow Pac-12 institutions. 


“I am excited and proud to be at Cal and to build something incredible with our outstanding staff and student-athletes,” Madsen shared. “Cal has the potential to be great - but to position ourselves at the top of the conference, we need to make program enhancements that many of our fellow Pac-12 schools already have. The Cal Men’s Basketball Excellence Initiative is a discretionary fund that will give me the ability to quickly invest in the resources we need to be successful on the court so we can see results this season. Philanthropic support from the Cal family is truly the only way to make the significant and transformative changes this program needs, and I hope our vision inspires folks to give.”


The Cal men’s basketball program hopes to begin making facility enhancements this year, including renovations to update facilities to be more effective and efficient for day-to-day operations and creating spaces for dedicated recovery and rehabilitation. 


Nutrition is another priority and is a key component of on-court performance - additional support to this area will increase the quality and quantity of meals provided to student-athletes to mirror those seen at the professional level.


The program also hopes to invest in industry-standard technology that will make training and practice more efficient and effective; recruiting software will also help the program identify top prospects - an essential tool in today’s transfer portal market. 


Finally, retaining and attracting an elite staff is critical to creating the consistency needed to build a successful and sustainable program. 


“Coach Madsen has built an impressive team of coaches and staff - support to the Excellence Initiative will make it possible to retain them and expand the staff as needed,” Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton shared.  “Cal Athletics is focused on competitive success; ensuring Coach Madsen has the resources to compete at the top of the conference and return to the NCAA Tournament is a priority. We as a department are investing in this program and I am confident that with the support of our Cal Family, we will see Cal men’s basketball equipped with the resources needed to reach a new level of success.”


The Excellence Initiative provides supporters with a unique, insider’s look at the program with exclusive benefits that include VIP events with coaches and staff, away game travel opportunities, courtside club passes, and postgame team access, depending on commitment level. 


Those interested in joining the Cal Men’s Basketball Excellence Initiative can give at the following levels: Bear Territory ($100k+), Slam Dunk ($50k+), Gold ($25k+) and Blue ($10k+).


All giving levels are five-year philanthropic gift commitments; men’s basketball student-athlete alumni receive additional benefits.


To learn more about the Cal Men’s Basketball Excellence Initiative, please contact Willie McHargue at the Cal Athletics Fund at or visit us at

The Cal family can also support Cal men’s basketball by joining the California Legends Collective’s efforts. The California Legends Collective is an organization created to allow each Cal student-athlete to benefit from their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL). Formed and sponsored by some of Cal’s greatest sports figures of the past quarter-century, including Marshawn Lynch, Layshia Clarendon, DeSean Jackson, and Valerie Arioto, it is their mission to make a positive impact in the lives of collegiate athletes by investing in them. All contributions to the California Legends Collective can be made HERE. More information can be found at

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