Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

BMOC — The Bob Biggs story

UCD football coach Bob Biggs will retire after this season. He'll have logged more than three decades as a coach for the Aggies. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | September 30, 2012 | Leave Comment

Ask UC Davis football players to describe head coach Bob Biggs, and they’ll say “competitive,” “experienced,” “consistent” and “creative” — all words one would expect to come trickling off the tongues of gridiron athletes.

However, in the same breath, they’ll add “calm,” “genuine,” “thoughtful” and “caring” … for the same man. These are not traditional words applied to Division I skippers.

But then again, Biggs is not a traditional coach, and UCD is not a standard D-I school.

“Davis is not the kind of school where there’s a bunch of easy classes to get by,” said Biggs, during an interview in his office in Hickey Gym. “These kids are under a lot of stress. In order to be successful in Davis, you have to make them feel you have their best interest in mind. If you don’t get it, you won’t make it.”

Biggs has “got it” for the past three decades coaching at  UCD — including 10 years as head men’s tennis coach. Before that, he learned the pressure firsthand as the signal-caller for the Aggies in the early ’70s.

And after three decades of the Aggie Way, the second-winningest coach in UCD history has decided that now is the time to step aside and put his focus and energy into retirement.

“The thought that ran through my head — my goal,” mused Biggs, who’s compiled a record of 142-81-1. Continuing, Biggs said, “My goal was to make sure that when I step down everything was in place for the next coach and staff — if the staff stay on — that they’re in the position they need to be; that the transition will be smooth.”

And does he believe that is the current state of affairs at UCD?

“I do, I very much do,” he said.

‘He loves every one of his players’

Biggs, who turns 62 in February, and the Aggies have come a long way during their tenure together.

Thirty-seven years ago, he coached the freshman squad alongside fellow Aggie Mike Bellotti. Biggs then worked as an assistant coach under UCD greats Jim Sochor — the winningest coach in UCD history with a 156-41-5 mark — and Bob Foster.

“I watched how they conducted themselves as head coach,” Biggs said. “You can’t be anybody else, but there were things about both of them that I came way with unintentionally.”

He took the best of each person he worked with and made it his own. Every strategy, every idea, every step had to not only make the Aggies a better football team but also had to make each Aggie a better individual. The “student” part of student-athlete has never been lost on the longtime coach.

“He was really personable,” senior free safety Kevyn Lewis said after a recent practice when asked about his early recollections of Biggs. “He seemed genuinely interested in me as a player, as a person.

“When he says something, he means it,” Lewis added. “He’s been brutally honest sometimes; not mean, but honest.”

Senior captain Ray Wilburn added: “He loves every one of his players — you feel that. He’s always going to be that guy who gave me a chance.”

Biggs has a similar relationship with his coaching staff.

“He’s the same, but you see a different side off the field and at staff meetings,” said Kevin Daft, a former UCD quarterback and first-year assistant coach for the Aggies. “He’s genuine, and I’m honored to work with him in his last year. He’s always been a mentor to me. Even after college, he was one person I’d speak to about advice.”

Assistant head coach Mike Moroski added: “He’s consistent but different in a personal setting than when he’s coaching. As a coach, he’s competitive — really, fiercely competitive.

“In his personal life, he’s easy-going. He’s the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet,” added Moroski, who played for Biggs on the freshman squad and joined the coaching squad in 1987.

Of all the games Moroski and Biggs have shared together, the one that stands out for the current running backs coach is the 2005 game against Stanford. The Aggies were easily the underdogs, traveling to Palo Alto to face the Pac-12 Cardinal.

“(Biggs) was just really excited to play them,” said Moroski, recalling the 20-17 upset win for UCD. “I think his confidence, it spread to the whole team. … As it turned out, we won in the last minute. Yeah, it was his confidence, and not particularly anything he said.”

‘Coach, you run a classy program’

Biggs’ demeanor and success reach beyond Yolo County. After he announced his retirement, officials and head coaches on his schedule knew this was the last time they would share a field with Biggs’ Aggies.

“Like when we played San Jose State (Sept. 8), coach Mike MacIntyre said, ‘If you get bored after a year, I’ve got a spot on my staff.’ This is going to happen throughout the year,” Biggs said with a smile. “I’m genuinely taken aback by the things they say to me and the respect they seem to have for our program and for me.

“I appreciate the way people respect the way we do things at Davis,” he added. “Every game, officials come up to me, and say, ‘Coach, you run a classy program.’ ”

It only reinforces to Biggs that he is making the right decision at the right time. However, there are still six games remaining on the Aggies’ schedule, and Biggs is not about to just mail in any of those.

After decades of coaching — alongside the likes of Fred Arp, Lou Bronzan, Greg Chapla, Foster, Moroski and Sochor — Biggs knows the ins and outs of how to prepare for a season are the same. But there is still the strategy aspect that fuels his competitive nature, especially since this year is the Aggies’ first foray into the Big Sky Conference.

“I know this analogy has been used — it’s a chess game,” Biggs said. “I really watch a lot of film to get the pulse on what we’re facing and what the opposing team is doing.

“I still enjoy the analyzing that goes on in a game,” he added. “My role is more to put our coaches and players in a position for success. When it comes game time, yes, that same competitive fire is still there, and I’ve always been very attuned to our team doing the best it can.”

‘Will I miss it? Absolutely’

Doing one’s best is important to Biggs, whether it be on the field, in the classroom, on the court or on the links. He keeps a strong focus on the tasks at hand and does them well. He is not willing to let himself try something halfway, which has limited his experiences in many areas. He is looking forward to rectifying this after his final game.

“It’s interesting because once you make the decision to retire, you think, ‘What is that next step?’ ” he said. “I like that it’s a bit of an open book, and hopefully, you’re writing chapters as you go.

“The things I wish I’d been better at — speaking Spanish. I want to try to be conversational. I have a beautiful guitar my wife (Diane) and kids (Ryan and Kyle) have given me. I’ve never had the time to really learn, and I don’t do things sparingly. I stayed busy with tennis, but I look forward to becoming a decent golfer and playing guitar.”

The conversational Spanish goes along with another one of Biggs’ goals — traveling (to Spanish-speaking nations) with his wife. He also looks forward to spending time with his sons.

“People have said, ‘You’ll be out for a while and go back into coaching,’ ” Biggs said. “Will I miss it? Absolutely. There are parts I’ll miss, but I’m open to doing other things. If something is really interesting to me — and I felt I could be of value and a help — then I’m an open book.”

When asked to reflect upon his favorite moment or moments throughout the many years, Biggs pauses and shakes his head.

“I don’t remember plays so much, I remember people,” he said as he mentally flipped through his Rolodex. “I hope (when people remember me) that I’m not thought of as coach with a real creative mind, and (I) had that team where they threw the ball all over.

“I hope they say, “He ran a classy program, and his players really seemed to develop as people during in his program and came away better for it. … Integrity and humility went along with playing for him.”

Fittingly enough, those were the other words players used to describe Bob Biggs.

— Reach Kim Orendor at korendor@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8043. Follow her on Twitter @KOrendor

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
 
4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6