Sensitive to the pangs of Cal fans in the wake of two football assistants leaving this week for Pac-12 rival Washington, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour sent out an email to Bear Backers and football season-ticket holders, explaining what transpired from her point of view.
For those of you who haven’t seen the letter, here it is:
Fellow Golden Bears –
With nearly 130 years of history, Golden Bear football has a long and proud tradition at the University of California, one that will continue for decades to come. As a community, we root for the Bears with a passion that rivals any school in the country. The same enthusiasm that unites so many of us also motivates us in our daily work within Cal Athletics as we strive to put the best possible teams on the field.
While two assistant coaches – Tosh Lupoi and Eric Kiesau – have recently left the Cal football family, we are wholly committed to completing our staff with talented coaches who personify the values and principles we all share.
Rest assured, we wanted coaches Lupoi and Kiesau to remain on our staff and were aggressive in our efforts to retain both of them. The willingness of our community to support these efforts was crucial. While compensation is important, we cannot ignore our fiscal responsibility. In the context of the University’s overall financial situation and the extraordinary efforts from so many of you to help preserve the scope of our 29-sport athletics program, we have an obligation to remain vigilant when it comes to our precious resources.
Coaching changes occur frequently, and change in and of itself is not unusual. Neither Coach Tedford nor I begrudge the coaches for doing what they think is best for themselves and their families. We are disappointed, though, in the timing of their decisions and the manner in which this has unfolded as we approach National Signing Day.
We know from past experience that while those who choose to leave our program are usually missed, they are always replaced with other gifted coaches who jump at the chance to become part of our program. Our new coaches will join an experienced and successful staff already in place.
We are being diligent and expedient in finding the right people who meet our needs and objectives for the long-term health of our program – just as we do in every coaching search. As many of you know, we have already hired Wes Chandler as our new wide receivers coach, a former NFL All-Pro who has more than 25 years experience playing and coaching football at the professional and collegiate levels.
This University stands as one of the world’s great institutions of higher learning with a well-deserved reputation for excellence and high achievement in all its endeavors. What helps set us apart at Cal is that the term student-athlete is not an oxymoron – a fact that is not lost on recruits. As always, the quality of our institution, our students, our faculty and our staff remain our biggest draw.
The future of Cal football could not be brighter as we fully anticipate signing another highly-rated recruiting class on the heels of our past two classes that have ranked among the top 15 in the country. Memorial Stadium construction is ahead of schedule thanks to the dry winter, and the new Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance has proven to be a game-changer for us; recruits themselves have talked about the impact it has made on them and their decision to come to Cal.
We – the team, the coaches, the staff – are all looking forward to seeing everyone back on campus and in Berkeley in a newly renovated Memorial Stadium in 2012!