Well, it’s time to say goodbye. It has been my great pleasure to bring you Cal sports news and commentary for more than 30 years, but I have taken a voluntary buyout and my time at the Bay Area News Group ends on Friday.
It’s been a blast! And rarely a dull moment.
I covered Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd, Joe Kapp and Jared Goff.
I wrote the game story for the Big Game for the first time in 1982, and you all know what happened in that one. I watched grown men cry when the Bears ended their 52-game losing streak to UCLA.
I saw Cal knock off two-time national champion Duke to reach the Sweet 16 in 1993 and was there when Mike Montgomery’s 2010 team won the school’s first conference title in 50 years.
I had the joy of getting to know two late, great Cal men — Pete Newell and Bruce Snyder.
Covering Cal has not been my exclusive assignment during my years with the Tri-Valley Herald, Fremont Argus, Hayward Daily Review, Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times and San Jose Mercury News.
I wrote about the supremely talented but self-destructive soccer legend George Best and the San Jose Earthquakes in the 1970s. I photographed Clint Eastwood trying to play tennis and George Foreman training for Ali.
I covered nine Final Fours, starting with the Chris Webber timeout game.
I consider the highlight of my career attending four Summer Olympics on four continents, where I saw Kerri Strug stick the landing, Oakland’s Andre Ward win a boxing gold and Jamaica’s incomparable Usain Bolt threaten the speed of light.
I phoned my wife from the Acropolis in Athens and walked two hours along the Great Wall of China. I fell in love with Sydney, which melded the best of San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego. I learned to hate Southern humidity in Atlanta.
And last spring I got the chance to help chronicle the Warriors’ electric run to the NBA championship.
But Cal was my bread and butter for years. I took a hiatus from football after Steve Mariucci’s long season until the end of Jeff Tedford’s run to avoid the overlap with the Olympics. Basketball has been an uninterrupted staple for more than three decades, and my favorites included Al Grigsby and Jorge Gutierrez.
Beat reporters spend a lot of time with the coaches of the teams they cover, and I’ve dealt with a lot of them. Sonny Dykes and Cuonzo Martin are good guys who understand what we do for a living and don’t go out of their way to make the job harder than it has to be.
Above all, I am grateful to readers who followed my coverage of the Bears in print, online and, most recently, in this space. I am proud to have given you a forum to argue and vent. I hope you all get your Rose Bowl someday and find the kind of peace anguished Old Blues seem to rarely experience.
I’ll be around and I encourage you to follow me on Twitter @jeffFaraudo.