Wednesday, November 26, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

As Biggs looks ahead, his friends look back

UCD head coach Bob Biggs shares a moment with defensive lineman Khalid Jones after the retiring coach got his 144th career win in his final game on the sideline, Saturday's Causeway Classic. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page B1 | November 18, 2012 |

In sports, when people talk about the end of an era, that word, era, is usually misused.

An era is a period of time considered as being of a distinctive character.

Saturday marked the End of an Era, finally getting the use of that three-letter word correct.

After 39 years in the Aggie football program, Bob Biggs has stepped aside as head coach. He will be forever remembered as the first of a storied trail of quarterbacks from the former Division II university.

He was loved by players as an assistant coach (having helped legendary mentor Jim Sochor build The Aggie Way). He continued with Sochor’s replacement Bob Foster and, for the past 20 seasons, ran the program himself.

All that ended at 6:51 p.m. Saturday with a thrilling 34-27 victory over arch-rival Sacramento State.

While players, former colleagues and friends have weighed in all season long on what Biggs has meant to them, recalling special moments and wishing the 61-year-old good luck, the “next step” — as Biggs calls it — will head off into lots of directions.

“I’ve been so routine-oriented throughout my coaching career that I’ve never had time for myself,” the former Vacaville High four-sport standout told The Enterprise. “So I’m looking forward to the next chapter, thinking to myself  ‘Gosh, I don’t have anything pending today — go to the beach or take a hike or go play some golf.’ Never really had time like that.”

Most perceive Biggs’ retirement as a loss for the Aggie program. However, the big winner in all of this is his wife Diane.

“It will be like getting married for the first time,” she said, laughing. “I’m going to learn all about him.”

Diane and Bob have two grown sons, Ryan and Kyle, and everyone is eager to get reacquainted.

Biggs says he has an old acoustic guitar that he’s yet to master. Lessons are on the agenda. Learning Spanish is something he wants to pursue — and he’ll get plenty of practice next summer when he, Diane and friends head to Peru.

But first, there’s transition: going from 16-hour days to sleeping till 10, if he chooses. And maybe there’s work to be done around the homestead.

Does Diane have the traditional honey-do list ready to hand to her husband?

“Oh, no!” Biggs’ wife says, again with a chuckle. “He couldn’t fix a thing, if his life depended on it.”

Well, that’s not exactly true …

Biggs’ mental tools worked well at UCD. He leaves football after going 144-85-1 as head coach. Biggs ushered the Aggies into Division I play and the competitive Big Sky Conference.

He’s mentored hundreds of student-athletes, young men who learned life through football and Biggs’ influence.

That personal touch is what Biggs will miss most.

“The relationships are so important. I’ll miss that,” Biggs says. “The people, the coaches, the players. Seeing how their lives develop from the time they’re freshmen through their senior years and beyond.”

On Saturday, standing on Jim Sochor Field in a drizzle that accompanied the event-filled fourth quarter of UCD’s season finale, Biggs fought back the tears …

“There are a lot of emotions,” Biggs told the media. “It’s always been about the players … and will always be about the players. I know they wanted to win for me, but I wanted to win this (last) one for them. It’s very, very special.”

————

Some in Biggs’ 39-year orbit of the UCD campus weighed in on the second-winningest coach in school football history:

Ken O’Brien (1982 tri-captain of national runners-up, former all-pro quarterback for the New York Jets): “Having Bob as a coach was a giant benefit. Anytime you have someone who was a truly special player to go along with being a great teacher talking to you every day builds a solid foundation.

“The most important things Bob passed along were not the on-the-field thoughts, rather those that helped me develop into a young person who believed in myself, become a leader and enjoy the experience along the way.”

(O’Brien was a first-round draft choice of the Jets; he was picked ahead of Dan Marino.)

Jim Sochor (winningest Aggie coach in history and program architect): “(As a player) Bob would come off the bench and turn the whole game around. He had this tremendous ability to react spontaneously to the game, to make plays. He threw such a catchable ball that was so accurate.

“He had a great career … and (we’ve had) a good relationship all these years.”

(In 1971, Biggs led the Aggies to score 16 points in the final 20 seconds of a 30-29 victory over Cal State Hayward.)

UCD junior QB Randy Wright: “He’s a great coach … a stand-up guy. You can go to him for anything, if you have class issues, off-the-field issues. … Just a man you want in your life; (a man) who will make an impact on anyone he talks to.”

Jim Belenis (former Aggie player and assistant coach): “Bob is a phenomenal athlete. One day I was trying to improve my hang time. I was trying to be the punter at UCD.

“Bob said try and hit the light standard. This was at Toomey (Field). I said, ‘You know how high that is?’ He grabbed the football and nailed it. One try. I don’t think I hit it five times in my next 1,000 tries — and he did it without warming up.

“He could have been quite a hustler.”

Steve Smyte (former UCD and Boise State assistant, current Davis High head football coach): “He is the best friend a guy can have. Bob is the most genuine coach I have ever had the privilege of working with.

“He’s humble, generous, positive and has an amazing capacity to see the best in people … and to get people to see the best in themselves.”

Smyte recalled the camaraderie among Aggie coaches, the friendly competition in noontime basketball games and throwing the football around:

“Bob understands how each play fits into the tapestry of the game and was great at setting up plays and running screens at precisely the right time.

“There is not a day that goes by during football season, and many days in the offseason, that I am reminded of a Biggs story, memory or ‘Biggs-ism.’ ”

Smyte stands in a long line of well-wishers as the departing UCD coach now looks forward to his own new era.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Food fight … in a good way

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fremont Weir parking lot remains closed

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

    Occupy movement settles in at UC Davis

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Time to give thanks for nature’s beauty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Second cat-hoarding suspect arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Guard reinforcements contain damage in Ferguson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Weather affecting Thanksgiving travelers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Year-end films to see, or not, on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    LCI marks 50 years with special service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Happy Thanksgiving from The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Learn to use Skype at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Girls who volunteer may apply for grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis Community Gift Project brightens holidays for children

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker proposes changes in humanities doctorate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Senior Center hosts holiday sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sutter sponsors qigong for holiday de-stress

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Boy Scouts start Christmas tree sales on Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Volunteers needed to grow plants for habitat restoration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Rainbow City community meeting set Dec. 1

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    She wants more from him

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Musings in the wake of Ferguson decision

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Rich Rifkin: Is it time to be a bear or a bull?

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

    Planting love at new home

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Innovation parks comparison

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Blue Devils prepare for a new season on the mat

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    No excuses, but there’s hope for UCD after 2-9 season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Joseph, Manzanares lead 10 All-Big Sky Aggie picks

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS wrestling is not just for boys

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Let’s not lose another good DHS coach

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1

     
    Davis Little League offers early sign-up discounts

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Kings get past Pelicans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Features

    Salute to non-steamed broccoli

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    It really is ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Elzyne Thompson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Death notice: Buddy Ralph Mills

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Ready, Set, Shop!

    Shop locally: You can have your pie and eat it too

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS1

    Santa’s little helper: secrets to happy holiday shopping

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: RSS2

    Make sure it gets there: deadlines for shopping and shipping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS2

    Downtown lights up at holiday open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS3

    Full of warm wishes and over-sharing, the holiday card lives on

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS4

    Shop smart: Protect your wallet and your identity this shopping season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5

    Woodland celebrates the holidays downtown

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5