BearTalk

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Good-bye

By jheater
Wednesday, April 11th, 2007 at 11:49 am in off-season stuff.

Cal fans are fortunate because I made a big mistake the first time I sat down in Jeff Tedford’s office. I could tell right away that he was something special and was going to make it big.

I told Jeff, “I’ve been here long before you came and I will be here long after you go.”

I was wrong.

That’s good for Cal fans because you have a wonderful coach and a man who could get you to the very top of the mountain without sacrificing the ideals you hold so dear. I knew the NFL would come calling, and unlike Steve Mariucci, he turned them down.

Myself, I have decided to go after some new challenges after 26 years. Today is my last day at the Times.

It’s been a great and wonderful ride and I will forever be thankful to Cal fans for their enthusiam and pure joy. Other programs have fans in greater numbers, but I have found none that rival the Cal fans in terms of showing their pride and insisting on honor in the pursuit of success.

I have had far too many wonderful times covering Cal sports to list them all. I always will remember Kyle Boller’s final big game where the crowd carried him off the field. He had been through so much adversity and was presented a day that will live in his, and my, memory forever.

There were so many other special moments, too many to mention.

I still remember covering Keith Gilbertson, a wonderful man who wore his heart on his sleeve. In Gilby’s world, you were either for him or against him. I can’t begin to tell you how many times he cussed at me. It was a time when I was usually the only reporter at practice. But we developed a friendship that I think was strained a bit when Gilby lost his job. As a reporter, I had to do my job, and it was tough. Years later, when he landed the head job at Washington, he shook my hand and told me he wasn’t so thin skinned anymore.

Steve Mariucci came through and was gone in a heartbeat. He went to the gold and got it.

Tom Holmoe was next and it boggles my mind that some of the fans were so cruel to him. Ultimately, Tom failed as a head coach in terms of wins or losses. But he could coach my son anytime. When I wrote the story about Tom getting the head job, I asked his wife to describe him. She said, “He is the best man I know.” If someone asked me about Tom now, I would say, “He is the best man I know.” I will leave it at that.

Jeff took over and Cal took off. He is a special man, driven, a perfectionist. Believe me, Cal fans could grumble all they want last year when Cal slumped a bit late in the season. Nobody felt worse than coach Tedford. He will get it done, all the way, if he gets the chance. Fans are so fickle at times, and that can be tough on a man. But I think he is going to stay the course in Berkeley.

As far as the athletes, wow. What a great group of young men. From guys like quarterback D’Andre Farr, who never realized his dream of playing and yet stayed and got a scholarship, to Sekou Sanyika, to Brian Wethers, to Nick Harris, to Ryan O’Callaghan, to …

And a special thank you to all the other special people. The assistants who give so much of their time to young men without the fanfare or pay that drives head coaches. To guys like Bud Turner, who actually has blue in his veins. He is a wonderful man and in some ways I worry about him because if Cal does go to the Rose Bowl, he probably will drop dead the next day.

I’ve had great times here, and I have gone through some tough times personally where the Cal family was very good to me. It’s been a joy to meet people such as David Ortega, Greg and Susie Overholtzer, Adam Duritz and Muhammad Muqtar, who can best be summed up by the word Honor.

And a final special thanks to all the other beat writers, who made this job seem like a game to me. I still remember the old road trips, having a great dinner with writers such as Jeff Faraudo, Ron Bergman, Sam Chi, Bruce Adams and Jake Curtis, and all the time wondering what the heck they had in their story the next day that I might not have written. It was a special time.

So to all, thank you. My personal email is ht9j@aol.com so feel free to drop me a note.

Jay

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  • Peter Munoz

    I really hate to see you go. I am an Oakland resident and would regularly buy the CCTimes only to read your column.
    I wish you well in your next endeavor.
    Go Bears and Good Luck.

  • Anonymous

    DON’T GO JAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ChicagolandCalFan

    Thanks for all your hard work in giving us an inside look at the team we love. Best wishes for your future.

  • http://www.theyack.com Lawrence Ross

    I am in complete shock. Really. Just absolute shock. It’s like losing my best friend, even though we’ve never met. You write about Cal sports in the way I’ve always wanted someone to cover them. Good luck Jay with whatever you decide to do!

  • MP

    This sucks. You are very good at what you do. Good luck in your next endeavor.

  • Greg Burnight

    Jay: Sorry to hear about your departure. As a Cal fan in Southern California, your insights, contacts and persistence were much appreciated as I scoured the net for Bear related news. Good luck to you in your new ventures. You will be missed! Thanks for all the great coverage over the years.

  • RChong

    Jay, thanks for the great articles about CAL sports. We’re really sorry to see you go. Best of luck in your new endeavors. Go Bears!

  • SayItAintSo

    Jay:

    I can’t believe you are leaving. I have read the CC Times everyday for the past 7 years solely for your articles. When you started with the blog and Q&A, I began checking the site multiple times a day. You are a fantastic writer who always seems to know which topics your readers want to know about. You give thorough and insightful information. This is a true loss for Cal football fans. Best of luck in the next phase of your life.

  • Dave from Norwalk

    What can we do to keep you on board?!

  • BW

    Jay–
    Your coverage of Cal was hands down the best in the bay area. My love of Cal football runs deep, and reading your articles was the heart of my mornings during the season (and when we were blessed with them the rest of the year). There is no other reporter in the bay area whose departure could make me upset enough to post a goodbye note on a blog. Thanks for all the great work and best of luck in the future. All of us Bear Backers will miss you more than you know.

  • David Adams

    Jay,
    Thanks so much for all you have done! As an out of the area fan I found your articles, postings and blog the best source of information about the Bears. You really brought great insight to those of us that couldn’t be there. It really was the only reason for me to read the cc times. You will be sorely missed. I wish you all the best!

    David Adams

  • Carter George

    This is very disappointing! Your articles, blogs, and columns are the only reason I read the CC Times. I know of many others who feel the same way. Journalism is in transition these days – lots more sources of information from any number of bloggers and online this-and-that, but not necessarily any consistent quality, good writing, or in-depth knowledge. You brought all those to the table. Best wishes in whatever is next for you.

  • DJ_Guy

    Jay,

    It has been a pleasure discovering your writing, thanks to the web, and reading you as often as possible. For the past few years I’ve been telling everyone that you’re the best place for Cal football coverage. I hope you are going on to bigger and better things. Maybe we’ll see you somewhere in mediaspace in the future.

  • Vib Mittal

    Sorry to hear you are leaving. Great work! Hope to hear you are doing some great sports journalism elsewhere. Cal athletics needs more committed beat writers like yourself.

  • Mark Robles

    Devastating news!Is this a late, sick April fool’s joke? Say it ain’t so! In the brief time we have been with Cal football, I have come to admire your work for it’s scope and passion. SoCal Bear fans rely on your blog and Q&A for Cal info. This is a dark day for sports journalism, Cal and the CC Times. Best of luck in your career.

  • Steve A.

    Jay,

    I have enjoyed your columns, blog, and Q&A. Tell the truth, you finally got fed up with that Moroncsarecoming guy on the Q&A board :-D Truly, we will miss you. Best of luck in your future plans.

  • Augie Amato

    Jay- All the best! Thank you for all the GREAT Cal coverage! We have spoken many times on the road @ Cal games. In hotels from Pullman to Knoxville, or on that flight back from Spokane right after 9-11. Best of luck, you will be missed. Augie

  • Lee Welter

    Jay,

    You will bring your superb communication skills to whatever endeavor awaits you.

    Your Cal Bears insights, as well as the values you reflect in your writing and speaking, are most appreciated by us and most Golden Bear fans.

    Best wishes!

    Lee & Lynda Welter
    SACRAMENTO (and its Cal Grid Club)

  • Greg Overholtzer

    Say it ain’t so, Jay! Jay -You leaving the Times and leaving your post as CAL beat writer is quite a blow for the coverage of CAL football as far as we are concerned. You have done a great job covering the football teams and the players over the years. I have always found your writing to be informative and accurate. I know many of the players and Coach Tedford trust you. We have known you for quite a few years now, and have had a blast joining you for dinner many times on various CAL road trips. We also think, Jay, though having graduated from Arizona, you had truly become a Bear fan these past few years. What a great time we had during the “Bear Crawl” organized by CAA before the last Holiday Bowl. I know we all think that the “grand prize” for us Bear football fans is now close at hand….too bad you will not be around to report on all of the celebrating that we hope is right around the corner.

    GOOD LUCK, JAY and THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!! …GREG and SUZY OVERHOLTZER, SAN RAMON, CA.

  • Pete Morris

    Jay, You will be missed. A truly Golden bear you are. Thanks for all your fine work.

  • Andrew Wilson

    Jay, thanks for all the great info over the years. Your blog and your articles have really become my lifeline to Cal Sports since I moved to Seattle.

    You will indeed be missed.

  • Bill Reinhard

    Jay: Thanks very much for all your great work. Living in Eugene, it’s tough to get news about CAL football. I really enjoyed your positive spin on things. You will be missed a great deal. Good luck to you in your future endeavors!

  • Chris Woolf

    Jay
    I’ve only gotten to know your writing in the last year or so. You’ve been great! I really appreciate the passion you have broughten to your work. You will be missed and i hope that you are moving on to a better situation for yourself. i also hope that cct can bring someone nearly comparable to you. Thanks, A Big Bear Fan

  • SC

    Jay,

    Thank you for all the great coverage and insights…you truly the best and we CAL fans were lucky to have you.

    Good luck in you new endeavors…you will be missed.

    Thx

  • ML in Oak

    Jay,

    You’re as good a man as the guys you covered and just mentioned. Always a soft touch and sense of humor. Anytime I needed to read something about Cal football, I’d turn to the CC Times. Your column and blogs are going to be missed.

    Best of luck.

    ml in oak

  • nfollett

    Jay, I was just making plans to subscribe to the CC Times, and this happened! I have really enjoyed your articles and blogs. Thanks for your kinds words about CAL Football and especially #56! Loved the positive spin you put on your features. Refreshing! Please change your mind and come back! You will be missed by many! Thanks for the memories!

  • James Lilley

    Jay, you will be greatly missed. Your work was more than quality journalism. It reflected a real love for the Cal community; a sentiment shared by so many Bear fans. The online sports page is a link to the Cal Family nationally and world wide. I hope your successor brings even a fraction of your passion to the column. Thank You.