Football: Cal’s five remaining assistant coaches carry on against backdrop of uncertainty

 Cal’s five remaining assistant football coaches continue to oversee the program’s day-to-day business, including recruiting, but they have no idea who the next head coach will be or when he will arrive.

“Nope, it’s been a complete secret,” said Ron Gould, the senior assistant with 16 years on the staff. “I don’t know anything about who the new head coach will be. I don’t know the timetable. I don’t know anything.

“That’s not my focal point. My focal point is making sure the players are doing what they’re supposed to do and recruiting.”

The Bears actually received two oral commitments this week, most recently from wide receiver Caleb Coleman of St. Mary’s High in Berkeley. Earlier, four-star running back Khalfani Muhammad of Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks said he plans to attend Cal.

Keeping the Bears’ other 13 unsigned commits onboard is just as big a part of the job as selling the program to potential prospects.

“We’re all going out there,” Gould said of the staff’s efforts to prevent other schools from raiding the commitment list. “This is the No. 1 public university in the world. We’ve got an unbelievable facility now and an unbelievable university where the kids can get a world-class education.”

Back in Berkeley, 10 days after coach Jeff Tedford’s firing, Cal’s players continue to deal with the emotional fallout.

“It’s a very, very touchy situation. You lose a great head coach and there’s a lot of turmoil in terms of how kids are feeling,” Gould said. “They’re sad, they’re hurting, just as the coaches are.

“The kids are waiting to see . . . there’s always a little uncertainty.”

At least one player on Thursday seemed to indicate his plans. Junior wide receiver Keenan Allen tweeted, “Decision made,” an apparent reference to making himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Allen hasn’t explained what he meant and Cal officials don’t know anything further.

“To be honest with you, I have no idea,” said Gould, who is Cal’s running backs coach. “Everybody’s curious about what is his next step.”

Certainly it would be a bigger surprise if Allen decided to return for his senior season. He is projected as a high first-round NFL draft pick.

Meanwhile, neither Gould, nor fellow assistants Wes Chandler, Ashley Ambrose, Marcus Arroyo or Jim Michalczik know whether they will be retained by the next coach.

Gould said he did not apply for the head coaching position and does not have any expectation about his future with the program.

But he said he would love to stay at Cal. “I’ve been here 16 years. If you cut my wrist,” he said, “I bleed blue and gold.”


Volleyball: Bears fall in NCAA opener

Cal’s volleyball season ended Thursday after a 26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 25-16 loss to North Carolina in the opening round of the NCAA tournament at Ames, Iowa.

Senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari, a first-team all-Pac-12 selection, led the Bears (15-16) with 12 kills and five blocks.  Senior middle hitter Kat Brown had five blocks to become Cal’s all-time blocks leader with 509.



Football: Nothing new with Gary Andersen, but a strong endorsement from Utah’s Whittingham

On a day when Gary Andersen’s agent said there was nothing new to report on his client’s involvement with the Cal coaching search, the Utah State coach got a strong endorsement from long-time friend and in-state rival Kyle Whittingam of Utah.

“He’s an excellent football coach, no doubt about that. What he’s done at Utah State certainly speaks to that,” said Whittingham, whose Utes lost 27-20 to Utah State this season. “He’s intelligent. His players really like him, not because he coddles them because they respect him. There’s a big difference.

“You’ve got to be disciplined and tough and he is all that. At same time you’ve got to be able to garner respect of his players. That’s the combination ideally you’re looking for.”

In his fourth season at Utah State, Andersen has directed the Aggies to a 10-2 record and the outright Western Athletic Confererence championship.

Andersen has emerged as a legitimate candidate for the Cal job left vacant Nov. 20 when Jeff Tedford was fired after 11 seasons. Sources said Wednesday that Cal has contacted Andersen about the position.

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Football: Greg Roman dances nicely

For the second straight week, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman did his best to dodge questions from BANG’s Cam Inman on whether he has interest or is involved in the Cal coaching situation.

A week ago, Roman said it would be inappropriate to distract himself from his job by discussing other situations.

On Thursday,  Inman tried again:

CI: Greg, is the Cal job attractive to you?

GR: I don’t know anything about it.

CI: Nothing, huh?

GR: Cal’s a great school and it’s got great potential.

That’s all for now.




Football: Bears’ 2013 non-conference schedule set — new coach will open with 3 straight at home

Cal’s new football coach will make his debut Aug. 31 at Memorial Stadium against Northwestern and will be on the home sidelines for at least the Bears’ first three games next season.

Cal announced the non-conference portion of its 2013 schedule on Thursday, and the Bears will play Portland State on Sept. 7, then Ohio State on Sept. 14, both at home. The Northwestern and Ohio State games were announced previously.
The Bears are in the midst of a coach search after firing Jeff Tedford on Nov. 20 after 11 seasons.
Pac-12 home games next season will feature Arizona, Oregon State, USC and Washington State, giving Cal a total of seven games in Berkeley. The Bears will face Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington on the road.
Dates for the Pac-12 schedule will be announced in January.
Cal misses Arizona State and Utah State next season.
The school also announced a home-and-home series with San Diego State in 2015 and ’16, with the Aztecs visiting Berkeley on Sept. 12, 2015, and Cal traveling to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016.
Cal previously announced a home-and-home series with Texas in 2015 and ’16.

Football: Keenan tweets `Decision made!’

Cal wideout Keenan Allen tweeted this morning: Decision made!

No details provided, so he could be talking about anything or anyone. We don’t know for sure.

But . . . we can all assume he has decided to enter the NFL draft.

Interesting that he apparently is not waiting to see who the new Cal coach will be, but that suggests Allen knew all along this would be his decision.

And it’s probably the right one for him. His knee injury apparently isn’t serious — Jeff Tedford said he’d have been healthy for a bowl game if the Bears had gotten one — and Allen is projected as a consensus high first-round pick in the NFL draft.

 A new coach doesn’t really change that equation.

Of course, Allen does not have to officially declare for the draft until sometime in mid-January (trying to find that date), so theoretically the new coach still could sit down with him and revisit the decision.

I doubt that changes anything.

Cal’s sports information office knew nothing further about Allen’s announcement. Stay tuned. Will update this story as it develops.


Volleyball: Bears ready for NCAA opener

The Cal women’s volleyball team (15-15) will open the NCAA tournament on Thursday against North Carolina (25-5) at Ames, Iowa. The match begins at 3 p.m. PT.

This is the Bears’ 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, and a win would push them into Friday’s second-round game against 15th-seeded Iowa State (20-7) or Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne (25-6). The subregional survivor advances to the regionals at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley on Dec. 7-8.

Cal and UNC have squared off the previous two seasons in the NCAAs, with Cal winning in the second round in 2010 and the Tar Heels knocking the Bears out in the first round in 2011.

The Bears have advanced to the national semifinals two of the past five seasons, and reached the national championship match in 2010.

This Cal team struggled to stay healthy, losing two starters during the preseason and enduring stretches of the year without other key players. Senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari was a consistent bright spot and earned all-Pac-12 first-team honors.

Senior middle hitter Kat Brown finished the regular season tied atop Cal’s career list with 504 blocks. She is poised to break the mark set by Ellen Orchard (2004-07).


Football: Utah State’s Gary Andersen in demand

Gary Andersen, who guided Utah State to a 10-2 regular-season record and an outright Western Athletic Conference crown, apparently has moved toward the top of the coaching wish lists for both Cal and Colorado.

Sources indicate representatives from both schools have reached out to Andersen, 48, who in 2009 took over an Aggies program that hadn’t enjoyed a winning season since 1996.

Utah State had won a total of 15 games in six seasons before Andersen’s arrival, but has won 15 of its past 18, dating back to last season. The Aggies’ only two losses this season were 16-14 at Wisconsin and 6-3 at BYU.

Meanwhile, the Daily Camera of Boulder, Colo., reported that Jeff Tedford will not be a candidate for the Colorado job. A source close to Tedford told the newspaper Tedford is not interested.

I talked this morning with outgoing UC Davis coach Bob Biggs, who coached Chris Petersen at Davis in the mid-1980s. Biggs disputed Davis coaching legend Jim Sochor’s suggestion that the timing might be right for Petersen to consider leaving Boise State, where he is 82-8 in seven seasons.

“Chris is a man of tremendous integrity,” Biggs said. “If he says he’s not going to do something, which publicly he has said, he is not one to back away from that. That’s just not who he is. He doesn’t play games.”


Basketball: Big Josh Smith out at UCLA

Junior center Josh Smith is leaving UCLA and has received release from his scholarship, the school reported.

Smith was averaging just 13.5 minutes and 5.2 points this season. Chronically out of shape, he has played 20 minutes or more in just 34 of 71 career games.

Here’s the full story.

Meanwhile, Stanford junior wing Anthony Brown will undergo season-ending hip surgery.  Brown averaged 8.1 points a year ago, despite battling knee issues. The Cardinal will miss him.