Story Poster
Photo by The Register Guard
Cal Football

Report: Former Oregon Coach Keith Heyward Likely to Replace DeRuyter

January 26, 2021

Maybe Tim DeRuyter and Keith Heyward should trade houses. Apparently they are swapping  job locations.

DeRuyter, a member of Cal’s coaching staff the last four years, has been hired as Oregon’s defensive coordinator. Heyward, who has been the Ducks’ co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, has left the school and is expected to take DeRuyter’s spot, if not his exact assignment, on the Cal staff. The Bears have made no announcement about DeRuyter’s replacement, but Heyward’s selection has been widely reported..

A 2000 graduate of Oregon State where he was a star cornerback, Heyward has been an assistant coach the last 14 seasons, the last four at Oregon. In addition to his co-coordinator duties, he was in charge of safeties.

Cal would be Heyward’s fifth Pac-12 stop. He previously served at his alma mater, Washington and USC. At the latter two stops, he worked with Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon.

Heyward has the reputation as a top-flight mentor to defensive backs. HIs tenure at Oregon certainly bears that out. According to Phil Steel's Pass Defense Rating system:  Oregon was rated 105 out of 122 teams in 2016, the year before Heyward’s arrival. The Ducks moved up to 19 in 2017, were 26 in 2018, and fourth in 2019. The 2020 secondary was projected to be the nation’s best before two of their safeties chose to opt out. In 13 seasons, 21 of Heyward’s players have been drafted including five in the first round and three more in the second..

He is also an excellent recruiter.  His impressive list of signees over the years includes:

5 star DE Kayvon Thibodeaux 

5 star WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

4 star RB Sean Dollars

4 star safety Daymon David

4 star WR Bryan Addison 

4 star safety Steve Stephens 

4 star WR Jevon Holland

4 star WR Isaiah Crocker

4 star safety Russ Yeast 

4 star safety CJ Pollard

4 star safety Marvell Tell

4 star CB Isaiah Langley 

4 star CB Jonathan Lockett 

4 star CB Jermaine Kelly 

Heyward reportedly had aspirations to be the Ducks’ defensive coordinator when Mario Cristobal replaced Willie Taggert as head coach two years ago. He did not get the job then, nor when 2020 coordinator Andy Avalos left to become head coach at Boise State. Avalos’ job went to DeRuyter. That’s when Heyward left.

On Twitter, Heyward posted the notice of his departure from Eugene, saying “Thank you Oregon for a great 4 years,” he said at the beginning of an emotional outpouring of gratitude.

Daily Cal / Lianne Frick
Cal’s former defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter

DeRuyter had been Cal’s defensive coordinator for four seasons under Wilcox, overseeing a dramatic improvement in a unit that had been among the nation’s worst before his arrival. Last year his title was changed to co-defensive coordinator. It was seen as somewhat of a demotion, no matter what spin the Bears tried to put on it. Sirmon took over the play-calling and became the spokesman for the defense in media sessions.

Heyward’s addition will cause some shuffling of the Cal staff. DeRuyter had been in charge of outside linebackers, with Marcel Yates handling the secondary. Yates has coached linebackers during his career, so he could move to that assignment with Heyward handling the DBs. Or the secondary duties could be split with one coach in charge of corners and the other safeties; 

Stay tuned for more updates on the potential hire in the coming days.

Other stories:

Movement Marks Cal's Offseason

Bears Have Their QB for 2022 in Martin

Discussion from...

Report: Former Oregon Coach Keith Heyward Likely to Replace DeRuyter

5,068 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by harebear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Looking forward to welcoming coach Heyward to Berkeley! Go Bears!
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Glad to see him come to Cal, but doesn't this whole DC swap between the two schools seem really odd? Lot of coziness between the two programs.

As far as Cal's defense, we lose the advantage on X's and O's But a huge upgrade in recruiting, as TDR didn't recruit much at all. The swap seems to serve each program's needs. Which makes it even more... interesting.
Big C
How long do you want to ignore this user?

As ever with this staff, the concern is greater on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Looking at the comments on recent Twitter anouncement Heyward is also clearly very good at building relationships with recruits and players. There was an outpouring of support for him. It would be great to have him here.
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.