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The California Golden Bears football program represents the University of California, Berkeley, in college football as a member of the Pac-12 Conference at the NCAA Division I FBS level. The team plays its home games at California Memorial Stadium and is coached by Justin Wilcox. Since beginning of play in 1886, the team has won five NCAA recognized national titles - 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1937.[4] The California Golden Bears have won 14 conference titles, with the last one in 2006 in the Pacific-10. It has also produced two of the oddest and most memorable plays in college football: Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels' fumble recovery and run toward the California goal line in the 1929 Rose Bowl, and The Play in the 1982 Big Game with the last play five lateral winning kickoff return.[5][6]

California Golden Bears football
2019 California Golden Bears football team
California Golden Bears logo.svg
First season1886; 133 years ago (1886)
Athletic directorJim Knowlton
Head coachJustin Wilcox
2nd season, 12–13 (.480)
StadiumCalifornia Memorial Stadium
(Capacity: 63,000[1])
Year built1923, renovated in 2011–12
Field surfaceMomentum Turf
LocationBerkeley, California
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferencePac-12 (since 1959)
DivisionNorth (since 2011)
Past conferencesIndependent (1886–1887, 1889–1905)
PCC (1916–1958)
All-time record669–539–51 (.552)
Bowl record11–11–1 (.500)
Claimed nat'l titles5 (1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1937)
Conference titles14
RivalriesStanford (rivalry)
UCLA (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans27[2]
Current uniform
Cal goldenbears unif13.png
ColorsBlue and Gold[3]
Fight songFight for California
Marching bandUniversity of California Marching Band



The early years and the rugby periodEdit

The 1892 team that played in the first Big Game

Football was first played on the Berkeley campus in 1882, albeit in a form that resembled rugby. It was not until 1886 that it began to play American football. Cal played its first annual rivalry game – known as The Big Game – against Stanford University in 1892. This became one of oldest College rivalry games in the United States.

The 1900 Big Game, was played on Thanksgiving Day at the Recreation Park stadium in the industrial section of San Francisco. Somewhere between 500 to 1,000 men, were observing the game from the corrugated iron rooftop of the adjacent glass manufacturing factory. During the game the rooftop collapsed resulting in well over 100 fans falling on to the factory's floor as well as the massive, smoldering furnace. In total 22 men, mostly boys, where killed with more than 100 severely injured.[7][8] This incident became known as the Thanksgiving Day Disaster and remains the deadliest accident to kill spectators at a U.S. sporting event.[9] Stanford won the game 5-0.

Beginning in 1890s, American football was becoming an increasingly violent; the ball carrier would often be pushed and pulled up the field by his own players in massive formations that often resulted in serious injuries.[10][11][12] In 1905, 18 deaths and 159 injuries were reported in various football competitions.[10] That year President Theodore Roosevelt lobbied the Ivy League to alter the game in order to eliminate or at least reduce its prevalent injuries, which contributed to numerous rule changes agreed upon by the majority of American schools. This included the introduction of the forward pass to open up the game and reduce the role of dangerous mass formations.[10] Howether, led by Cal and Stanford, universities of the West Coast took a different path eliminating football completely and instead changing their game to Rugby.[13][12] Other schools that made the switch included Nevada, St. Mary's, Santa Clara, and USC (in 1911).[12] During the rugby years, from 1906 to 1914, Cal won only three Big Games. Due to various causes, including students frustration with the results, the Associated Students of the University of California voted to leave the agreement, and along with other universities, return to American football. Beginning in 1915 Cal returned to the original sport and has fielded a football team ever since.[12]

1920s and 30s: Andy Smith and the Wonder TeamsEdit

1922 "BRICK MULLER about to assassinate a couple of presidents"

The 1920s saw the first golden age of California football, as the Golden Bears went 50 straight games without a defeat from 1920 to 1925, with a record of 46 wins and 4 ties. As of 2010, this is the third-longest unbeaten (not to be confused with winning) streak in NCAA history. The 1920–1924 squads were so dominant that they were nicknamed "The Wonder Teams", and were coached by Andy Smith. Recruited from the east coast, Smith became Cal's coach in 1916, one year after Cal switched back from rugby to football. Famous for his defense-oriented strategy of "kick and wait for the breaks", he is considered to be the greatest football coach in Golden Bears' history.[14] Dying in 1925 with his University of California 10-year record of 74 wins, 16 losses and 7 ties, Smith remained Cal's most winning coach until he got surpassed by Jeff Tedford in 2011.[15][16] During his time California won three NCAA recognized national titles,[17] four Pacific Coast Conference championships and made two trips to the Rose Bowl. In 1921 it shutout Ohio State 28–0. In 1922 and while swimming in mud, it tied underdogs Washington & Jefferson College Presidents 0–0, for the sole tie in Rose Bowl history. One of the stars of this era was Harold "Brick" Muller. A month before the start of the 1920 season he won the Silver Medal in high jump at the Summer Olympics in Belgium, while that winter at the 1921 Rose Bowl win over Ohio State, he threw a touchdown, caught two passes and made several vital tackles. He also recovered three fumbles.[18] In 1960 the respected Helms Athletic Foundation crowned the 1920 Cal Bears as the greatest football team in American history.[19]

Andy Smith died shortly after the end of the 1925 season. His death was unexpected and traumatic for the team and the whole university. His replacement was his assistant coach Nibs Price.[20][n 1] Price was first hired as a freshman coach in 1918. He recruited the dominant 1919 freshmen team that would become the core of the Wonder Team for the next three years. In their first season without Smith, Cal had its first losing season since 1897.[20]

The 1930 Big Game at Memorial Stadium
The 1929 team with President Hoover.

In 1928, the team was again undefeated, with six shutouts and was invited to the Rose Bowl to play against Georgia Tech. While this team is considered to be one of the greats in Cal history,[21] it is also remembered for what happened during its game at the Rose Bowl. It has become the most famous (or infamous) moment in Rose Bowl history.[22] In the second quarter, California's defense forced a Georgia Tech fumble on their own 30-yard line, and the loose ball was scooped up by California center Roy Riegels. He began to run towards the Georgia Tech end zone for a score, but then, in trying to get around the Tech players, he inexplicably turned around and headed in the other direction. Riegels advanced all the way to the Golden Bears' one-yard line before teammate Benny Lom was able to stop him, whereupon he was immediately tackled by what seemed like the entire Georgia Tech team. California elected to punt on the next play; the punt was blocked for a safety, giving the Yellow Jackets a 2–0 lead and what turned out to be the decisive points of the 7–8 loss.[22][n 2] Next season, in October of 1929, the team traveled to Pennsylvania to defeat University of Pennsylvania 12-7, during the same trip they were invited to visit the White House by President Herbert Hoover. Who as a Stanford student managed the 1894 Stanford football team, and along with his Cal counterpart, organized the inaugural Big Game.[23] The following month California handed that year's PCC champion USC its only loss. The fall of 1930 was Price's last season of coaching football, which out turned out to be a complete opposite of the year before, Cal was crushed by both USC and Stanford and could only win one PCC game.[20]

California football also achieved success in the 1930s. Those teams were led by coach Stub Ellison, won the PCC championship three times and appeared in the 1938 Rose Bowl. The 1937 team was led by the team captain and future member of the College Football Hall of Fame Vic Bottari, who scored two touchdowns with California defeating Alabama, 13–0. Because of its staunch defense, the 1937 squad that went to the Rose Bowl was coined "The Thunder Team."[24] In 11 games, California had 7 shutouts and limited all of its remaining opponents to only 33 points. There were 5 touchdowns, 42 completions, 60 first downs, 432 passing yards, 858 rushing yards and 1,126 total yards gained against it. All of those are school records that still stand.[25] The ESPN College Football Encyclopedia considered them to be better than the 1920 Wonder Team, ranking them as the best in school history.[21] The 1938 Rose Bowl was the last one won by the Golden Bears.[26]

1940s and 50s: Pappy's BoysEdit

The 1947 season saw a dramatic turnaround as Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf became the head coach. The 1946 Bears only won 2 games while losing 7, upon Pappy's arrival they went to 9–1, their only loss was to USC.[27] Known as "Pappy's Boys", the California teams of 1947–1950 won 33 consecutive regular season games, earning three PCC championships and three Rose Bowl berths.[28] However California lost all three Rose Bowls: 20–14 to Northwestern in 1949, 17–14 to Ohio State in 1950, and 14–6 to Michigan in 1951. Because of both Cal's return to greatness and Pappy's great character – even after the losses, Pappy became admired by both his players and his fans. One of the things that he became known for was him addressing the fans after every home game from an outside balcony of the Memorial stadium.[27]

In 1953 the NCAA changed the game by canceling a rule that was in place since World War II, a team could no longer make multiple substitutions and have specific players for each position, only one substitution could be made per play.[27] Up to this change Pappy's approach was to use highly specialized players for key positions, which no longer became possible after the change. With the rule was withdrawn Cal went from 7–3 to 4–4–2. The 1953 season is partially associated with a recruiting scandal involving star freshman quarterback Ronnie Knox. In order to have Knox enroll at the university, the California football booster club promised him that Knox's step father to be hired as a scout, his high school coach would be hired as an assistant coach, and that Knox himself would be given a job writing for a local newspaper and also be paid $500 per year by the booster club.[29] Knox enrolled at Cal but California's administration found out and made sure that the benefits would not be provided. Following investigation by both administration and the PCC conference, it was found that Waldorf was not directly involved in the scandal.[30] The team did not have a winning season after 1953 and after his 10 years at Cal, Pappy retired at the end of the 1956 season when the team went 3–7.[27] During the late 50's NCAA kept changing its rules and by 1964 it again allowed unlimited substitutions.[31]

One of the star players during Pappy's years was Jackie Jensen. He played from 1947 to 1948, was an All-American and the first Cal player to rush for 1,000 yards. He was also a pitcher and a center fielder for the baseball team, was an All-American twice and led the team to win the inaugural College World Series in 1947. He left his junior year to play baseball and in 1958 was the American League's Most Valuable Player as an outfielder.[32][33]

Pete Elliott became Cal's head coach the following year. He won only one game in 1957 and two games in 1959. However, in between those two years – the 1958 season, California went 6–1 in the PCC, taking first place and earning a spot in the 1959 Rose Bowl. Unfortunately it lost that game to Iowa 38 to 12. One of the highlights of those years was Joe Kapp, who is considered to be one of the greatest players in Cal history.[34][35] Aside from his skills as a quarterback, he is also remembered for his character. Completely dedicated to his team and his university, he was able to push his teammates to perform beyond their limits as well as to fiercely intimidate his opponents. Because there were no other stand out players on the 1958 team it is his fierce determination that is considered to be the reason for Cal playing in the 1959 Rose Bowl.[36] It was for this ability to transfer his passion and determination that he was offered and accepted the California head coaching job in 1982.[36] It should also be noted that during the years when he played for the Minnesota Vikings he equaled the most touchdowns in the game record of seven and lead the team to win the 1969 season's Super Bowl.[37] He declined the Viking's most valuable player of the year award because it was the team and not him that deserved it.[36]

1961 – Oski the Bear

The 1960s, a decade of political change and football underperformanceEdit

Marv Levy became the head coach in 1960, with Bill Walsh as one of his assistant coaches; they were at Cal until 1963. Although each would go on to become future Pro Football Hall of Famers, Levy for his coaching with the Buffalo Bills and four straight Super Bowl appearances and Walsh for his three Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers, they could not produce a single winning season at Cal[38] Ray Willsey took over the program in 1964. A Cal alumni, he played under Pappy Waldorf, leading the team as a quarterback in the 1952 season's 26 to 0 win over Stanford. In the 1960s during his years as the coach, Berkeley became a center of counterculture and political protest. This led to significant problems with recruiting – Willsey had to try and commit the recruits while the Berkeley protests and police crackdowns were a regular part of the nightly news.[39] During this decade Cal won the Big Game only two times, in 1960 under Marv Levy and in 1967 under Ray Willsey.

The recruiting difficulties where finally overcome in 1968, that year's team would come to be known as The Bear Minimum. It was let by Ed White an All-American and future member of College Hall of Fame, relying on its defense Cal went 7–3–1 and ranking as high as 8th in the AP poll. It won 21–7 at Michigan and beat No. 10 Syracuse 43–0. Earning three shutouts it held its opponents to 10.4 points a game.[40] The Bear Minimum still holds Cal's records for opponents' average gains per play – 3.60, as well as the fewest rushing touchdowns per season – 5 (same as the Thunder Team). Its average yards per rush was 2.51 which is still second only to the 1937 Thunder Team with 2.50 yards per rush.[25]

The other positive stand out of this otherwise unfortunate decade was Craig Morton, who was an All-American who held multiple Cal records, including for most career passing yards and touchdown passes. His touchdown record of 36 lasted for the next 24 years.[25] He was picked 5th in the 1965 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, and was with them for the next ten years.[41] He led the Cowboys to the 1970 Super Bowl V where they lost to the Baltimore Colts 16 to 13.[42] The next year, he rotated with the future legend Roger Staubach throughout the season to help lead the Cowboys back to the title game and defeat Miami Dolphins 24–3 in Super Bowl VI.[43][44]

1967 – Under Ray Willsey Cal wins its first Big Game in 7 years.

A rise in the 1970s but another fall in the 1980sEdit

The 1968 season led to the Golden Bears' turnaround in the 1970s. Willsey left in 1972, finishing with Cal tying for 2nd and 3rd in the Pacific-8 Conference in his last two years. His overall record was 40–42–1. In 1972, Mike White was hired. He was a Cal alumni and a Stanford assistant coach from 1964 to 1971. In 1972 both Stanford and Cal head coaching positions became open and he received invitations from both schools to lead their programs. He decided to leave Stanford and return to Cal.[45] After two losing seasons, he brought home three winning seasons over the next four.[45] In 1974, the team went 4–2–1 in the conference.[46] It was led by quarterback Steve Bartkowski, who was an All-American and first in the nation with 2,580 yards. In 1975 he was the number one NFL draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons and was named the NFL Rookie of the Year.[47] In 1975, behind an NCAA-leading offense anchored by All-Americans Chuck Muncie, Wesley Walker, Steve Rivera, and Ted Albrecht, the Golden Bears were co-Champions of the Pac-8 Conference.[45][48] However, it was co-champion UCLA went to the Rose Bowl because of its season victory over Cal.[45]

The quarterback and leader of the 1975 team was Joe Roth. Because of that outstanding season he was one of the Heisman Trophy candidates at the beginning of 1976. He had a great start, however halfway through it his performance started to drop. Unknown to almost everyone, Roth was diagnosed with melanoma the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Only coach White and his closest friends knew about it. With Roth continuing to play he still had a strong season and was named an All-American. His last game was in January 1977 at an all-star game in Japan and he died several weeks later in Berkeley. In respect of his perseverance, and dedication to others his former locker is dedicated in his honor and the annual home game against that year's opponent UCLA or USC is known as the Joe Roth Memorial Game.[49][50] Coach Mike White left after a 1977 season when the Bears finished 8–3 but a disappointing 5th in the division with a 4–3 record.[51] White was succeeded by Roger Theder, who was one of his assistant coaches during the previous six years.[52] Theder led the Bears to three winning seasons, but each was less successful than its predecessor. In 1979, California played in the Garden State Bowl, losing to Temple 28–17 after a 6–5 regular season.[53]

The 1980s saw a return to mediocrity, with California posting only one winning season in the entire decade. Joe Kapp was the most famous coach in this period. Kapp was a Cal quarterback during the 1950s and was considered to be one of the greatest players in Cal history (see the 1940s and 1950s section). Even though he did not have any coaching experience, because of his famous determination and commitment to the team, both as a California Golden Bear and as an NFL Minnesota Viking, Kapp was hired as the head coach in 1982.[36] Unfortunately Kapp's success as a player did not translate into success as a coach. While his first season could be considered as a success, with the Bears winning seven games and reaching the sixth place in the Pac-10 standings, in the following years they could not do any better with Cal being in the last place in 1984 and 1985. The 1986 season was Kapp's last, during which Cal finished ninth in the Pac-10.[54] That season is also remembered for Cal's upset of Stanford in the 1986 Big Game. Stanford was 7-2 and ranked 16th in the nation. Kapp's defense dominated the game - Stanford's quarterback John Paye was sacked seven times, while it's running game was held to 41 yards. Cal won the game 17-11.[55]

Ultimately, Joe Kapp is most known for what happened in the annual Big Game against Stanford, during his first season in 1982, which is now known as The Play. After Stanford, quarterbacked by John Elway, had taken the lead on a field goal with four seconds left, the Golden Bears used five lateral passes on the ensuing kickoff return to score the miraculous winning touchdown and turn defeat into a 25–20 victory.[56] The Play also ended Stanford's hopes for playing in a bowl game. Due to the Big Game rivalry and the improbable way that The Play unfolded, it is considered to be one of the most memorable plays in college football history.[57]

1990–2001: A brief return to success followed by another downfallEdit

Bruce Snyder, an assistant coach of the Los Angeles Rams, arrived as head coach at Berkeley in 1987. Snyder was able to gradually turn the program around.[58] In 1990 Cal had its first winning season since Kapp's 1982. The Golden Bears went 4–3–1 in the Pac-10, finishing 4th, which was its highest since Mike White's 4th place in 1977. That year California played in the Copper Bowl where it beat Wyoming 17–15.[59] This was the Bears first bowl win since the 1938 Rose Bowl. Part of Snyder's success came because he was able to recruit a number of outstanding players, such as Russell White, Mike PawlawskiSean Dawkins, Troy Auzenne, David Ortega, away from football powers such as USC and UCLA.[58]

One of the unfortunate highlights of the 1991 season was the game against the future national co-champion the undefeated Washington Huskies. The game was at home, where California was able to stand up to Huskies unlike any other team that season. The Bears stopped Washington from scoring from within the Cal red zone on multiple occasions and had a chance to tie the game with 5 seconds left. Cal lost that game 17 to 24.[60] The Bears finished the season in 2nd place and were invited to play against the Clemson Tigers in the Florida Citrus Bowl. While the Tigers finished first in the Atlantic Coast Conference, they were thoroughly defeat by the Bears 37–13.[58]

Because of negotiation problems with Cal's new athletic director, Snyder left Cal for the Arizona State Sun Devils right after the Citrus Bowl.[58] Upon leaving Snyder's salary increased from $250,000 a year at Cal to $600,000 at Arizona State.[61] The Bears were able to replace Snyder by hiring away the Washington Huskies offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson.[62] During his four years as the head coach Cal had only one winning season. During that 1993 season Cal was able to go 4–4 in the Pac-10 and placed 5th in the conference. They were invited to the Alamo Bowl where they defeated the 8th place Big Ten team, the Iowa Hawkeyes 37 to 3.[63]

In 1996 California hired Green Bay Packers assistant coach Steve Mariucci. Under the new coach Cal won its first five games, with the fifth win being against 17th ranked USC in Los Angeles.[64] However, it only won once during the rest of the season and Cal went 6–6 overall and 3–5 in the conference.[65] Because of the 6 overall wins, Cal was invited to the Aloha Bowl, where it lost to Navy 42 to 38.[66] On January 17 Mariucci left Cal to be the head coach at the San Francisco 49ers.[67] During his first year Mariucci led the 49ers to a 13–3 regular season, however that team lost in the NFC championship game.[68]

Steve Mariucci's 1997 replacement was the previous season's defensive coordinator Tom Holmoe. During the next 5 years under Holmoe, Cal went 6–34 in the Pac-10 conference. In 1999 Cal went 3–5 in the Pac-10, however in 2002 those 3 wins were forfeited as was found guilty of major NCAA violations.[69] It emerged that two players were added to a completed class in order to keep those players eligible for competition. Even though this was discovered in 2002 when Cal had a new head coach, the 2002 team was banned from participating in a post season bowl.[70]

2001 was Holmoe's last year, the team went 1–10, with its only win coming from at the last game of the year versus Rutgers, a team that went 0–7 in the Big East conference.[71] That pre-season game was rescheduled to the end of the season due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. During Holmoe's years California lost all of its five games to the archrival Stanford. Coach Holmoe left the program at the end of the year, next year he returned to his alma mater Brigham Young University where he had a successful career as first an assistant and then the head of the athletic department.[72]

Jeff Tedford era (2002–2012)Edit

Coach Tedford

During the last month of 2001 Holmoe was replaced by Jeff Tedford, previously the offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks.[73] California began a renaissance under Tedford, who dramatically turned around the long-suffering program. The 2002 team went 7-5, defeating three nationally ranked opponents on the road for the first time in school history. California beat its conference foe Washington for the first time in 26 years, and won the annual Big Game against arch-rival Stanford for the first time in eight years. In 2003 the team was led by a junior college transfer and future NFL superstar Aaron Rodgers. The Golden Bears posted an 8–6 record, highlighted by a dramatic 34–31 triple-overtime victory over No. 3 ranked and eventual national co-champion USC.

2004 Big Game

In 2004, the Bears posted a 10–1 regular season record with their only loss coming against the eventual national champion - USC and finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in the nation. Based on this the team was expected to receive an at-large BCS bowl berth, and play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1958. However, Mac Brown the coach of then lower ranked University of Texas, intensively lobbied both coaches and the Associated Press media voters to change its ranking in the final week of the season. Even though Texas did not play and Cal won its final game, it was Texas that received more votes in the final poll and was invited to play in the Rose Bowl.[74][75] The Longhorns went on to beat Michigan, while California was upset by lower ranked Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl. Partially due to the lobbying controversy with California's BCS ranking, the AP poll withdrew from the BCS after that season.[76]

In 2006, California posted 10–3 overall record, going 7–2 in the Pac-10. This earned Cal its first share of the Pac-10 championship since 1975.[77] Bears had winning seasons for three more years. It was in 2009, that Tedford's had his last winning season at Cal, it was also the last time that Tedford was able to beat Stanford in the Big Game, giving Cal its seventh Big Games win in eight years. In 2010, the Bears won only three games in Pac-10, which resulted in it being the first time that Tedford had a losing season at Cal.[78] The team played all of its 2011 season home games at San Francisco Giants' Oracle Park, this was due to Memorial Stadium stadium being renovated due to seismic concerns as it is directly above the Hayward Fault. Cal went 4-5 in the Pac-12, but was nevertheless had an overall winning season and was invited to the Holiday Bowl; there it was defeated by Mac Brown and the University of Texas 21-10.[79]

Cal won only three games in 2012, leading to Tedford being fired at the end of that season. His overall record at Cal was 82 wins and 57 losses, Tedford left the Bears with the most bowl wins (5), conference wins (50), and games coached (139) in the school's history. He also tied Pappy Waldorf for most Big Game wins (7) against Stanford. During his tenure, California produced 40 players drafted by the NFL, including eight first-round picks.[80][81]

Aside from Tedford's later years performance, another great concern for Cal administration was the significant academic underperformance of Cal's revenue athletes - football and basketball. At the time only 48% of football players were graduating, which was the lowest in the Pac-12. During the oncoming years Cal incrementally implemented a policy that at least 80% of incoming student athletes were to be inline with University of California general student requirement of having at least 3.0 high school grade point average, but it’s higher than any other Pac-12 school except Stanford.[82]

Sonny Dykes era (2013–2016)Edit

Coach Dykes

At the end 2012, Sonny Dykes was announced as the new head coach of California Football.[83] He previously spent three years as a head coach of Louisiana Tech, where in his final year led the team to a conference championship for the first time in ten years. Dykes was expected to bring significant offensive improvements with his up-tempo, with his variation of a pass-oriented offense known as the Air Raid.[84] However, his first year at Cal will be most remembered for the team's defensive failure. He became the first head of coach of the Golden Bears since the University began playing football in 1886 to fail to defeat a single D-1 opponent in a season that has lasted at least five games.[85] Similarly, Bears lost to Stanford by 50 points, the largest margin ever in the 119-year history of the Big Game.[86]

Over his four years at Cal, Dykes had only one winning season - 2015, and was able to beat one of its traditional rivals – Stanford, UCLA and USC, only once - 2016 home win against 2-7 UCLA. By the time he was fired in January of 2017, Dykes commitment to the program was in question - he interviewed with several schools at the end of the 2015 and 2016 seasons; in addition there was a 30% drop in season ticket renewals for the 2017 season.[87] He finished with a four-year record of 19–30.

The college career of quarterback Jared Goff can be considered as one of the few positive highlights of the Dykes era. In his three years under Dykes' Air Raid system, he set 26 team records that included, season and career: touchdowns, yardage gained and lowest percentage of interceptions.[88]

Justin Wilcox era (2017–present)Edit

On January 14, 2017, less than one week after Sonny Dykes' firing, Justin Wilcox was named as his replacement.[89] Wilcox had a successful season as a defensive coordinator for the University of Wisconsin, with the Badgers winning the Cotton Bowl. He had also previous Cal experience as an assistant coach under Jeff Tedford. That season's highlight was the Bears' 37–3 defeat of #8-ranked Washington State, the first time Cal beat a top ten opponent since its defeat of #3-ranked USC in 2003.[90] In 2018, the Bears went 7–6, with Bears losing 10–7 in overtime to TCU in the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl.[91][92] The bowl game's loss, along with an earlier upset 12-10 upset against #15 Washington, illustrated both Wilcox's primary reliance on defense and significant problems with his team's offensive performance. It's offensive efficiency ranked as the second worst among all Power Five teams.[93] Two standouts of that year's team were junior Evan Weaver who had 155 tackles and two interceptions, and first team All Pac-12 senior Jordan Kunaszyk who had 143 tackles with six forced fumbles.[94][95]

Memorial StadiumEdit

Memorial Stadium was built to honor Berkeley alumni, students, and other Californians who died in World War I and modeled after the Colosseum in Rome. It has been named one of the top college football stadiums by various publications, and it is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[96][97][98] The stadium is located on the Hayward Fault, which passes directly under the playing field, nearly from goal post to goal post.[99] A 1998 seismic safety study on the California campus gave the stadium a "poor" rating (meaning that the building represents an "appreciable life hazard" in an earthquake).[100] The renovation started in the summer of 2010 and was completed by the beginning of the 2012 season.

Conference affiliationsEdit


National championshipsEdit

California has won five (1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1937) national championships from NCAA-designated major selectors.[101][4] California claims all five of these national championships.[102]

Year Coach Selector Record Bowl Opponent Result
1920 Andy Smith Football Research, Helms, Houlgate, National Championship Foundation, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess) 9–0 Rose Bowl Ohio State W 28–0
1921 Andy Smith Billingsley MOV, Boand, Football Research, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess) 9–0–1 Rose Bowl Washington & Jefferson T 0–0
1922 Andy Smith Billingsley MOV, Houlgate, NCF, Sagarin 9–0
1923 Andy Smith Houlgate 9–0–1
1937 Stub Allison Dunkel, Helms 10–0–1 Rose Bowl Alabama W 13–0

Conference championshipsEdit

California has won a total of 14 conference championships since 1916.[88]:73–79

Year Conference Coach Conference record Overall record
1918 PCC Andy Smith 2–0 7–2
1920 PCC Andy Smith 3–0 9–0
1921 PCC Andy Smith 4–0 9–0–1
1922 PCC Andy Smith 4–0 9–0
1923 PCC Andy Smith 5–0 9–0–1
1935 PCC Stub Allison 4–1 9–1
1937 PCC Stub Allison 6–0–1 10–0–1
1938 PCC Stub Allison 6–1 10–1
1948 PCC Pappy Waldorf 6–0 10–1
1949 PCC Pappy Waldorf 7–0 10–1
1950 PCC Pappy Waldorf 5–0–1 9–1–1
1958 PCC Pete Elliott 6–1 7–4
1975 Pac-8 Mike White 6–1 8–3
2006 Pac-10 Jeff Tedford 7–2 10–3

† Co-champions



California's main rival is Stanford. The two schools participate in the Big Game every year, with the winner taking home the Stanford Axe. Stanford leads the series record at 63–46–11 (wins–losses–ties).[88]


California has an active rivalry with UCLA. The schools are the two largest public universities in the state of California and both have been part of the same conference for many years. UCLA maintains a winning record in the series, which has gone 55–33–1.[88]

Head coachesEdit

No. Coach Tenure Seasons Wins Lossess Ties Pct. Bowls
1 Oscar S. Howard 1886 1 6 2 1 .722 0
1.5 No coach 1887–1892 5 18 4 0 .818 0
2 Lee McClung 1892 1 2 1 1 .625 0
3 William Heffelfinger 1893 1 5 1 1 .786 0
4 Charles O. Gill 1894 1 0 1 2 .333 0
5 Frank Butterworth 1895–1896 2 9 3 3 .700 0
6 Charles P. Nott 1897 1 0 3 2 .200 0
7 Garrett Cochran 1898–1899 2 15 1 3 .868 0
8 Addison Kelly 1900 1 4 2 1 .643 0
9 Frank W. Simpson 1901 1 9 0 1 .950 0
10 James Whipple 1902–1903 2 14 1 2 .882 0
11 James Hopper 1904 1 6 1 1 .813 0
12 J. W. Knibbs 1905 1 4 1 2 .714 0
14* James Schaeffer 1915 1 8 5 0 .615 0
15 Andy Smith 1916–1925 10 74 16 7 .799 2
16 Nibs Price 1926–1930 5 27 17 3 .606 1
17 Bill Ingram 1931–1934 4 27 14 4 .644 0
18 Stub Allison 1935–1944 10 58 42 2 .578 1
19 Buck Shaw 1945 1 4 5 1 .450 0
20 Frank Wickhorst 1946 1 2 7 0 .222 0
21 Pappy Waldorf 1947–1956 10 67 32 4 .650 3
22 Pete Elliott 1957–1959 3 10 21 0 .323 1
23 Marv Levy 1960–1963 4 8 29 3 .238 0
24 Ray Willsey 1964–1971 8 40 42 1 .488 0
25 Mike White 1972–1977 6 35 30 1 .538 0
26 Roger Theder 1978–1981 4 18 27 0 .400 1
27 Joe Kapp 1982–1986 5 20 34 1 .373 0
28 Bruce Snyder 1987–1991 5 29 24 4 .544 2
29 Keith Gilbertson 1992–1995 4 20 26 0 .435 1
30 Steve Mariucci 1996 1 6 6 0 .500 1
31 Tom Holmoe 1997–2001 5 12 43 0 .218 0
32 Jeff Tedford 2002–2012 11 82 57 0 .590 8
33 Sonny Dykes 2013–2016 4 19 30 0 .388 1
34 Justin Wilcox 2017–present 2 12 13 0 .480 1
   Totals   1886–present   123  669  539  51 .552  21

* From 1906 to 1914, rugby was played instead of football. Cal's 13th coach was Oscar Taylor from 1906 to 1908. Cal's 14th coach, James Schaeffer, coached rugby from 1909 to 1914 and football in 1915.

Bowl historyEdit

California has participated in 23 bowl games, garnering a record of 11–11–1.

Year Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1920 Andy Smith Rose Ohio State W 28–0
1921 Andy Smith Rose Washington & Jefferson T 0–0
1928 Nibs Price Rose Georgia Tech L 7–8
1937 Stub Allison Rose Alabama W 13–0
1948 Pappy Waldorf Rose Northwestern L 14–20
1949 Pappy Waldorf Rose Ohio State L 14–17
1950 Pappy Waldorf Rose Michigan L 6–14
1958 Pete Elliott Rose Iowa L 12–38
1979 Roger Theder Garden State Temple L 17–28
1990 Bruce Snyder Copper Wyoming W 17–15
1991 Bruce Snyder Citrus Clemson W 37–13
1993 Keith Gilbertson Alamo Iowa W 37–3
1996 Steve Mariucci Aloha Navy L 38–42
2003 Jeff Tedford Insight Virginia Tech W 52–49
2004 Jeff Tedford Holiday Texas Tech L 31–45
2005 Jeff Tedford Las Vegas BYU W 35–28
2006 Jeff Tedford Holiday Texas A&M W 45–10
2007 Jeff Tedford Armed Forces Air Force W 42–36
2008 Jeff Tedford Emerald Miami W 24–17
2009 Jeff Tedford Poinsettia Utah L 27–37
2011 Jeff Tedford Holiday Texas L 10–21
2015 Sonny Dykes Armed Forces Air Force W 55–36
2018 Justin Wilcox Cheez-It Bowl TCU L 7–10

Current NFL playersEdit

As of January 2, 2019[103]

Player Position NFL Team NFL Year
Alexander, LorenzoLorenzo Alexander LB Buffalo Bills 2005
Allen, KeenanKeenan Allen WR Los Angeles Chargers 2013
Alualu, TysonTyson Alualu DT Pittsburgh Steelers 2010
Anderson, C.J.C. J. Anderson RB Los Angeles Rams 2013
Anger, BryanBryan Anger P Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012
Conte, ChrisChris Conte S Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2011
Davis, TrevorTrevor Davis WR Green Bay Packers 2016
Downs, DevanteDevante Downs LB Minnesota Vikings 2018
Goff, JaredJared Goff QB Los Angeles Rams 2016
Hansen, ChadChad Hansen WR Denver Broncos 2017
Harris, MauriceMaurice Harris WR Washington Redskins 2016
Jackson, DeSeanDeSean Jackson WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2008
Jones, MarvinMarvin Jones WR Detroit Lions 2012
Jordan, CameronCameron Jordan DE New Orleans Saints 2011
Kendricks, MychalMychal Kendricks LB Seattle Seahawks 2012
Ladouceur, L.P.L.P. Ladouceur LS Dallas Cowboys 2005
Lasco, DanielDaniel Lasco RB New Orleans Saints 2016
Looney, JamesJames Looney DE Green Bay Packers 2018
Mack, AlexAlex Mack C Atlanta Falcons 2009
Mebane, BrandonBrandon Mebane DT Los Angeles Chargers 2007
Moore, StevenSteven Moore OT Baltimore Ravens 2018
Muhammad, KhalfaniKhalfani Muhammad RB Denver Broncos 2017
Rodgers, AaronAaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers 2005
Rodgers, RichardRichard Rodgers TE Philadelphia Eagles 2014
Schwartz, MitchellMitchell Schwartz OT Kansas City Chiefs 2012
Schwenke, BrianBrian Schwenke C New England Patriots 2013
Sundberg, NickNick Sundberg LS Washington Redskins 2009
Tavecchio, GiorgioGiorgio Tavecchio K Atlanta Falcons 2012
Webb, DavisDavis Webb QB New York Jets 2017

Future non-conference opponentsEdit

Announced schedules as of July 1, 2019.[104]

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
UC Davis at UNLV Nevada UC Davis Auburn UC Davis UNLV at UNLV
North Texas TCU at TCU at North Texas at San Jose State at Auburn at San Diego State
at Ole Miss Cal Poly Sacramento State UNLV San Diego State


  1. ^ In 1926 when he became the head coach, Price was already the coach of the Golden Bears basketball team. He remained the basketball coach until 1954 and led the team to the Final Four in 1946.
  2. ^ A video of the "Wrong Way" Riegels' run can be found here - "Rose Bowl Memory 1929".]


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External linksEdit