For the first time in 20 seasons, the UC Davis football team has a new head coach.
Ron Gould, a former assistant at Cal, made his first public remarks Monday, after being introduced by Chancellor Linda Katehi at a morning news conference.
Gould replaces Bob Biggs, who retired this fall after his 20th season as head coach and 39th with the program, dating back to his playing career as a quarterback.
After spending 16 years with the Golden Bears — where he was the running game coordinator and, since 2008, the associate head coach — Gould follows legendary Aggies Jim Sochor, Bob Foster and Biggs to become just the fourth UCD head coach since 1970. He is the 16th coach in the nearly 100-year history of the program.
“I’m looking forward to leading the team into a new era … and to building a program that makes the city of Davis proud,” Gould said. “My philosophy as a coach is to create an environment where each and every young man can achieve in the classroom, in the community and on the field. Coach Biggs has laid a tremendous foundation.”
Aggie Athletic Director Terry Tumey, who himself was hired this past summer, said Gould is “a person that can follow in the footsteps of the legendary coaches that have been here.”
Katehi thanked Tumey and the search committee — Jeff Weidner, professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, director of the physical education program and UCD’s interim faculty athletics representative to the NCAA; Steve Currall, dean of the Graduate School of Management; and senior defensive end Bobby Erskine, who also serves on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Katehi said UCD picked Gould because “he comes with a vision of where we wants to take this university, which is to excel not only on the field and in the classroom,” and added that he “knows what it takes to succeed.”
Gould, 47, has a five-year contract that pays him a base salary of $235,000 with additional incentives for athletic and academic success.
Gould said he’s unsure where his family will live — his wife Theresa works at Cal — but that the Davis area was one of the factors that made this position attractive. The Goulds have two sons, Tevin, 18, and Trey, 14.
“We are thinking about (moving to Davis), but we have to let the dust settle a little bit,” he said. “I love the community so far, I like the area and the people have just been wonderful, so I’m looking forward to just really getting anchored down here and we’ll see where we’ll live.”
The new Aggie coach played defensive back at Oregon, graduating in 1988. Gould worked alongside Aggie alum Mike Bellotti, serving as a graduate assistant for the Ducks in 1990-91, then was the defensive backs coach at Portland State (1992) and Boise State (1993-96), before heading to Cal.
With the Bears, he served as running backs coach in 1997-2007, became associate head coach a year later and, finally, served as the running game coordinator for the past two seasons.
When Cal head coach Jeff Tedford was fired and replace by Sonny Dykes after the 2012 season, Gould was not retained.
During his tenure on the Golden Bears coaching staff, Gould mentored several outstanding running backs, including current NFL players Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions), Shane Vereen (New England Patriots), Justin Forsett (Houston Texans) and Will Ta’ufo’ou (Jacksonville Jaguars).
Best — a Cal tailback from 2007 to 2009 — was at the news conference Monday in Davis to support his former coach.
“He’s hands down the most influential coach I have had throughout my life,” Best said of Gould. “I know first-hand that he was like a father figure to all of the running backs when I was at Cal. … I know if he could inspire a group of running backs, he will definitely create a great atmosphere for the entire team.”
— Reach Chris Saur at [email protected] or 530-747-8049.