"Barry has been one of the top defensive coaches in the country for a long time," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "Having strong defensive line play will be crucial to our success on that side of the ball. He has had lots of success and developed several outstanding players throughout his career, and I especially like the familiarity he has with our new defensive coordinator Andy Buh from their time together at Nevada."
"It's a dream come true for me to be able to coach at Cal and experience an institution that has such a fabulous name like the University of California," Sacks said. "It's a situation where you can walk into any household and you are a legitimate university right off the get go academically, athletically and historically in the pride and tradition of Cal football."
"What we bring as a defensive coaching staff is that defensive coordinator Andy Buh have the same vision as to what the Cal defense is going to look like," Sacks said. "Andy and I worked hand-in-hand together and were always on the same page during our time together at Nevada. We enjoy coaching together and are very productive."
The energetic and enthusiastic coach served a number of roles during his 11 seasons from 1992-2002 with the Wolf Pack but was a mainstay on the defensive line in recent seasons developing some of the top pass rushers in Wolf Pack history, most notably Dontay Moch and Kevin Basped.
Moch, who set the school and Western Athletic Conference records for career tackles for loss was picked in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by Cincinnati and is in his second season with the Bengals in 2012.
Basped was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Jets in 2010, played for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League and is now a member of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
In Sacks' final season during his 11-year stint at Nevada, defensive end Brock Hekking ranked third in the WAC with an average of .62 sacks per game and a total of 8.0 (-62 yards) in his first season as a starter.
Nevada posted a 7-6 record and nearly upset No. 22 Southern Miss in the Hawaii Bowl in 2011, limiting the 15th-ranked scoring offense in the country to 13 points and 125 yards below its season averages. Nevada finished 22nd in the country in pass efficiency defense (115.14) and was led on the defensive side of the ball by first-team Sports Illustrated All-American Brett Roy, a former walk-on defensive back who Sacks coached as a converted defensive tackle. Roy had 18.5 tackles for loss (-57 yards) while pacing the WAC and ranking 12th nationally with 1.42 per game. He also posted 10.0 sacks (-36 yards), ranking second in the WAC and tied for 13th in the country with 0.77 per game. Roy signed an undrafted free agent contract with the New York Jets in 2012 but was later released.
Nevada won the WAC title in 2010, posting a 13-1 overall record and defeating Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl with the defensive unit a huge part of the team's success. The Wolf Pack featured a rushing defense that ranked 18th nationally (120.29 ypg) and a scoring defense that was 31st (21.43 ppg), with both ranking second in the WAC. Much of the team's defensive success came from pressure as the Wolf Pack was 24th nationally in sacks (2.50 spg). Moch had 22.0 tackles for loss (-83 yards), leading the WAC and ranking 10th nationally with an average of 1.57 per game.
In 2009, Basped and Moch led the conference in sacks and tackles for loss, respectively. Basped's 9.5 sacks (-60 yards) produced an average of .79 per game, while Moch finished with 20.0 tackles for loss (-93 yards) and an average of 1.54 per game that tied for eighth nationally. Basped was also third in the WAC in tackles for loss (1.04 tflpg), while Moch was third in sacks (.50 spg).
The previous season in 2008 Moch led the WAC in sacks (1.15 spg), while Basped was third in tackles for loss (1.42 tflpg) and Moch fourth (1.31 tflpg).
Sacks coached the Pack's outside linebackers in 2007, including team tackles (93) and tackles for loss (13.5, -37 yards) leader Ezra Butler, who also paced the WAC in per-game tackles for loss (1.23 tflpg). He also coached Nick Fuhr, who led the team in sacks (6.0, -58 yards) and tied for second in tackles for loss (11.5, -79 yards), ranking tied sixth in the WAC in both on a per-game basis (.46 spg, .88 tflpg).
Sacks spent three seasons as Nevada's co-defensive coordinator from 2004-06, helping the Wolf Pack rank 30th in the nation in 2006 in scoring defense (19.15 ppg) and post the country's 21st-ranked passing defense (190.33 ypg) in 2004.
During his first year at Nevada in 2002, Sacks coached CoSIDA first-team Academic All-America and All-WAC tight end Erick Streelman. He moved over to the other side of the ball to work with the defensive line in 2003 and helped tutor two all-WAC selections in Jorge Cordova (the team's MVP in 2003 and school's career sacks leader) and Derek Kennard, Jr. (the team's defensive MVP in 2003).
Sacks is also a tireless and effective recruiter who consistently cultivated his area. Among those Sacks recruited in recent years to Nevada were current NFL players Isaiah Frey (Chicago Bears' cornerback), Virgil Green (Denver Broncos' tight end), James Michael-Johnson (Cleveland Browns' linebacker), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback) and Rishard Matthews (Miami Dolphins' wide receiver).
Sacks has a total of 33 seasons in the coaching profession with 27 in the collegiate ranks.
His coaching career started with seven seasons as the defensive line coach at Portland State (1986-92), followed by four as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Boise State (1993-96). He also spent one campaign as the defensive coordinator at Adams State (1997) and three as defensive line coach at San Jose State (1998-2000) and one as the defensive coordinator for the San Jose Sabercats (2001), where he helped his team to an Arena Football League Division title before beginning his stint at Nevada.
The Ephrata, Wash., native played four seasons of football at Montana (1976-79) before graduating from the school with a bachelor's degree in health education and physical education in 1980.
Sacks and his wife, Teresa, have two children: Alexandra, 24, and Philip, 21.