Golf: Bears earn 5th straight NCAA qualification

The Cal golf team has advanced to the NCAA Championships for the fifth straight season.

The top-seeded and No. 4 nationally ranked Bears (305-288-303 – 896, +32) finished tied for fourth at the NCAA Sugar Grove Regional at the par-72, 7,151-yard Rich Harvest Farms.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” coach Steve Desimone said. “I think survive is the right word. This could have ended in a really tough way.”

Brandon Hagy (73-72-74 – 219, +3) led Cal with a fifth-place finish that was the third top-five NCAA Regional finish of his career. He was one of three Cal players to come through with both a birdie on 17 and a par on 18.

Illinois won the regional title with a score of 880.


Track and field: Suleman wins 3rd Pac-12 title

Cal’s Hammed Suleman, a senior from Antioch, won his third straight Pac-12 Conference long jump title with a career-best leap of 26 feet, 1/4 inch in Pullman, Washington.

Suleman’s mark ranks him No. 4 on Cal’s all-time list and is just six inches shy of the school record set by Chris Rogers in 1985.

Kelsey Santisteban, a junior from Castro Valley, placed second in the women’s 10,000 meters with a time of  34 inutes, 13.90 seconds.

Meanwhile. Cal’s 4×100 relay team of Dan Davis, Tom Blocker, Dash Oliver and Khalfani Muhammad ran the fastest time the school has posted in 17 years  in qualifying at the Pac-12 Championships at Pullman, Washington.

 The Bears ran the day’s fourth-fastest time of 37.91 seconds, which ranks No. 7 on the school’s all-time list. The Pac-12 finals are Sunday.

Cal’s school record in the 4×100 is 39.11, set in 1975. The Bears’ previous 2014 season best was 40.16.


Football: Bigelow signs with Buccaneers

Former Cal running back Brendan Bigelow signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the team’s website and NFL.com.

Bigelow is reunited with former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who recruited the running back to Berkeley and now serves as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator.

Bigelow rushed for 877 yards and five touchdowns in his three-year Cal career, caught 42 passes for 305 yards and averaged 21.9 yards on 62 kickoff returns.

Slowed by knee problems during portions of his Cal career, Bigelow enjoyed his finest performance as a sophomore at Ohio State, when he rushed four times for 160 yards, including TD runs of 81 and 59 yards.


Football: Drew enters not-guilty plea

Cal football player Damaria Drew pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges on Friday, and his attorney said the alleged victim’s dog triggered the May 20 incident by biting the sophomore defensive back from Livermore.

Click here to read staff writer Malaika Fraley’s full story.

Note: Drew told the judge that his first name is spelled Damaria, not Damariay, as it appears on the Cal website.



Basketball: Martin adds director of ops to staff

New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin announced the hiring of long-time friend and colleague Marco Harris as his director of basketball operations, the same position he held for Martin’s last season at Tennessee.

“Marco is someone I know very well and trust,” Martin said. “His high character and exceptional work ethic will serve well in this role. Marco has established himself as an excellent administrator in his career. He will play an important position in all aspects of our program.”

Harris (no relation to new assistant coach Jon Harris) fills the position held last season by Theo Robertson.

Martin retained none of former coach Mike Montgomery’s staff.

Harris comes to Berkeley after serving the past three seasons on Martin’s staff at Tennessee where he was the Volunteers’ director of operations for the 2013-14 season.

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APR report: Bears make progress on some fronts, but plenty of room for improvement

The Bears made progress in football and women’s basketball but took a step back in men’s basketball, according to Academic Progress Rate scores released by the NCAA on Wednesday. 

The football program’s score, originally released on May 5, improved from 935 to 938, thanks to a 2012-13 mark of 969. The Bears’ APR still ranks just 11th in the Pac-12.

The men’s basketball team dipped from 955 last year to 939 because a perfect 1,000 single-year score from 2008-09 was pushed out of the equation for a 938 mark in 2012-13.

The Cal women’s team improved from 941 last year to 954, but still ranks just 11th in the conference.

APR scores are a four-year average that measure academic eligibility and retention or graduation. The APR is different than the the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate, which strictly charts graduation figures.

The latest figures cover the four-year period ending with the 2012-13 academic year.

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Football: Brother of 49ers lineman joins Bears; defensive tackle seeks immediate eligibility

Cal has signed the brother of 49ers guard Joe Looney to a financial aid agreement, becoming the 24th member of the 2014 recruiting class.

James Looney, transferring from Wake Forest, has filed an appeal for immediate eligibility with the Bears.

A 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle from Lake Forest, Florida, Looney played in six games as a true freshman for Wake Forest last season, contributing three tackles and a fumble recovery. He did not start a game.

Looney has four seasons to play three at Cal, but whether he is cleared to participate next fall or must sit out as a transfer has not been determined, a Cal spokesman said. He was projected as a starter for the Demons Deacons before leaving the program at the end of spring practice.

Defensive tackle is perhaps Cal’s biggest position of need. Both starters left after last season, and Jacobi Hunter, who played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman, took a leave from the team late in spring ball to attend to personal matters. His status is still up in the air.

Also uncertain is redshirt junior Mustafa Jalil, a former four-star recruit, who missed all of last season and spring ball due to a knee injury.

“We are excited that James is joining the Cal football program,” coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “It is critical that we continue to recruit and develop players in the trenches to improve on both sides of the ball.

“James will help us do that on the defensive line and is also an excellent student that will fit into our program nicely both on the field and off.”

Looney, who turns 19 on Thursday, is the younger sibling of Joe Looney, who was a fourth-round draft pick out of Wake Forest by the 49ers in 2012.

James Looney was a four-year starter at Lake Worth High School in Florida and an Associated Press Class 7A all-state performer as a senior in the fall of 2012. He was a consensus three-star (out of five) prospect in high school.

Cal’s 2014 recruiting class includes players from California, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Washington.


Basketball: Hufnagel hiring official

Coach Cuonzo Martin’s staff is officially complete after the announcement that Yanni Hufnagel is on board.

Hufnagel’s hiring was first reported more than a week ago.

He comes to Berkeley after a one-year stint at Vanderbilt, where he served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Kevin Stallings. Previously, he spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Harvard.

“Yanni’s strong passion for the game has correlated to success wherever he has been,” Martin said. “We share the same goal in developing champions on the basketball court, in the class room and in the community. I am thrilled for the opportunity to have Yanni join the staff here at Cal.”

CBS Sports recognized Hufnagel as “one of the most relentless and energetic recruiters in the game,” in their 2012-13 College Basketball Preview, while naming him one of their nine “Dream Team” assistant coaches in college basketball.

Hufnagel has worked with such players as Jeremy Lin (Harvard) and Blake Griffin (Oklahoma). He also served an internship in basketball operations with the New Jersey Nets.

Hufnagel earned his Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 2006 and a Masters of Education with an emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration at Oklahoma in 2010.


Basketball: Domingo’s arrival is official

Cal formally announced the signing of Stephen Domingo, a transfer wing from Georgetown.

The news was first reported a week ago, but new Cal coach Cuonzo Martin was unable to comment on Domingo’s arrival until the paperwork was complete.

“We’re very excited to have Stephen come home and join our basketball family,” Martin said. “Stephen has the skill and length to be a good all-around player at both ends of the floor.”

A graduate of St. Ignatius HS in San Francisco, the 6-foot-7, 207-pound junior-to-be must sit out next season before becoming eligible. He will have two seasons to play at Cal.

Domingo graduated from high school a year early and enrolled at Georgetown in the summer of 2012 after averaging 13.3 points his final season at St. Ignatius. He played in 39 games for the Hoyas.

He also helped the U.S. U17 national team to a gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Lithuania in 2012, averaging 7.8 points. He scored 17 in a win over Australia on the way to the title.