Caldwell, Pierre Return To Cal

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By Cal Athletics
Posted May 31, 2017
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2017 BearInsider.com


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Former Cal players Talia Caldwell and Elize Pierre
BERKELEY - Two familiar faces will be back in Berkeley this summer for the Cal women's basketball team. Alumnae Talia Caldwell and Eliza Pierre, both members of the class of 2013 and key contributors in Cal's run to the Final Four, will be joining the Golden Bear coaching staff on June 1 as interim assistant coaches.
They will assist in recruiting, camp management, and offseason workouts through the end of July while both head coach Lindsay Gottlieb and assistant coach Kai Felton are on maternity leave.

"We have a unique situation this summer that lends itself to a unique opportunity," said Gottlieb. "With both Kai and I on maternity leave, I wanted to make sure that our program was still represented well on the recruiting trail and that our players back in Berkeley had every resource possible. To that end, I am absolutely thrilled to be able to elevate Eliza Pierre to a coaching role this summer, as well as bringing Talia Caldwell on board in an interim capacity.

"It would not be an understatement to say that these are two of the best women to have ever worn the blue and gold. Both Eliza and Talia are insanely hard workers who made Cal Basketball better on and off the court, eventually taking our program to the Final Four. They have both had success in athletics since graduating and can work with our players directly, as well as hit the road to see the next generation of Golden Bears. This is a huge win for our program this summer. As our Cal family grows with two 'baby bears', I also get to bring back "family" to work with us in the interim."

One of only four players in Cal women's basketball history to amass both 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds, Caldwell was a stalwart in the post during her four years in Berkeley. A 6'3" center from Los Angeles, Caldwell appeared in 142 games, the second-most by any player in program history, and closed her career with 1,007 rebounds, good for fourth in the Cal record books. Caldwell was a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic honoree and holds the distinction of being first women's basketball player accepted into the Haas School of Business.

Upon graduation, Caldwell continued her career at the professional level, playing in Poland, Greece, Spain, and Puerto Rico, and earning an invitation to the New York Liberty training camp in 2016. Spain's 2016 Import Player of the Year, Caldwell has also been very active off the court, serving as a panelist on conversations about the intersection of sports, social justice, and activism, and engaging with youth across the state. Caldwell is also the creator of FiveFifthsCulture.com, a site focused on cultural content, and is eager to share her experiences.

"Coming back to Cal is an opportunity for me to give back to the program, UC Berkeley, and the blossoming young adults on this team," said Caldwell. "I was blessed with wonderful experiences during my time here and have done quite a bit since I graduated. It's only right that I do what I can to share my knowledge and skill set with the current and future generation of Bears. I hope to positively impact the team on and off the court to ensure their continued success."

A fellow member of the Bears' Class of 2013, Pierre captained the team during it's historic run to the 2013 Final Four, the program's first ever trip to the national semifinals. A four-time Pac-12 All-Defensive selection, Pierre was known for her energy and intensity on the defensive end, leading the conference in steals her sophomore season and closing her Cal career with 243 steals, fifth-most in program history. A native of Pasadena, California, Pierre appeared in 140 games for the Golden Bears, fourth-most by any Cal player. 

Pierre graduated with a degree in African-American Studies and began working at Lake Avenue Community Foundation. After completing a fellowship for the Pac-12 Conference, Pierre spent last season with working the Golden Bears' basketball operations staff and is excited to continue making an impact at her alma mater.

"My time at Cal was historic, on and off the court," Pierre explained. "Being challenged in the classroom and on the court prepared me for anything that life would throw at me. Going through pain and growth brought me closer to the program and made me want to be a part of this Cal family forever. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the program and assist the coaching staff this summer."

Keep up-to-date on the latest Cal women's basketball news throughout the offseason by visiting the unique, multimedia site, ThisIsCalBasketball.com and by following the Bears on social media. View behind-the-scenes photos and videos and learn more about Cal and its student-athletes on Twitter (@CalWBball), Instagram (@CalWBball) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CalWBball).

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