When UC Davis football coach Ron Gould was an assistant at Cal, he was extraordinary at getting running backs ready for the National Football League.
Shane Vereen, Jahvid Best and Super Bowl champ Marshawn Lynch were just a few of Gould’s graduates.
Now, after his first season at the Aggie helm, Gould has picked up another talent: He prepares assistants for the NFL …
This ability hurts a little bit because when former UCD coaches Ben Steele and Matt Wiegand and quality control aide Quinn Tedford announced they were headed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gould had some unexpected holes to fill.
Enter Dan Finn, Paul Creighton and former Aggie wideout Anthony Soto.
Noting that he lost valuable help to his old Golden Bear boss Jeff Tedford (now the Bucs’ offensive coordinator), Gould nonetheless is delighted with his new staff members.
“Every situation is an opportunity to grow and build,” Gould explains. “We’re so fortunate that we were able to land two new coaches who bring a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience. We’re excited to have them a part of our family.”
Finn was the offensive line coach at Utah the past two seasons and replaces Wiegand in the same capacity.
Finn was a three-time All-Big Sky offensive lineman at Northern Arizona, graduating in 2002. After two years playing pro football (with the Denver Broncos practice squad and NFL Europe), he had stints coaching at two junior colleges, Southern Utah, Idaho and San Diego State.
Creighton will take over for Steele as the Aggie tight ends coach. Creighton — the Colorado State at Pueblo defensive line coach last year — will draw from his playing days with the ThunderWolves when he played tight end and fullback from 2004 to 2006.
“(Finn) has played the position at a very high level,” Gould continues. “He’s very technical and has great attention to detail.
“He cares about his young men. … He really wants them to do great and is a great mentor for the players on and off the field.”
As a graduate assistant strength-and-conditioning coach at Auburn, Creighton’s two-year apprenticeship in the South included the Tigers’ national championship season of 2010.
“One of the things I love about Paul is his character,” Gould says. “He’s really professional in his craft and he’s a tireless worker. If he doesn’t know something, he’s going to turn over every rock until he gets it figured out.”
And who says you can never go home again?
No. 81 on your 2012 scorecard, former UCD wide receiver Soto caught 107 passes for 1.269 yards and 10 touchdowns in his Aggie career.
He spent the past year coaching prep football in his native Fresno and returns to UCD to succeed Quinn Tedford as the offensive QC manager.
Gould says Soto comes highly recommended and that the coach “jumped at the chance” to bring the community and regional development grad back to campus.
“When I met him, I was very impressed,” the coach reports. “I didn’t know him before he came in, but I had the opportunity to watch him on film and saw that he was very competitive.
“One of the things I wanted to do was change his name and see if we could get him to come back and play for us again,” Gould joked. “He’s very passionate about the game and knows it inside and out.”
Finn, Creighton and Soto will all be on hand when spring practice opens Tuesday morning at Aggie Stadium.