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Wilcox Has Little to Say About Rejecting Oregon Offer

December 15, 2021
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Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox had been doing other things besides recruiting since the season ended last month.

He had been interviewing for the head coaching job at his alma mater Oregon.

He was offered the job, but in a surprise move turned it down. Wednesday’s signing day press conference was the first time he could be asked by the media about the decision. He was hardly forthcoming about why he said no to the Ducks. 

“I really enjoy being here at Cal working with our players and our staff,” he said. "We feel like we have unfinished business here. We are very optimistic about our future.

“Obviously the past season we had five games where one play could have made a huge difference. If we can find those margins in our offseason and how we coach and how we play, we feel like we can do some special things here."

He admitted moving to Eugene was tempting especially given the Ducks’ recent run of success. But he wants to do similar things in Berkeley.

"They're the reigning Pac-12 North champions and that's where we want to get to," he said. "If we continue with increased support, which we've gotten from [athletic director] Jim Knowlton and our chancellor (Carol Christ), if we continue along this path, we can do some great things here and things that haven't been done before."

Wilcox said his contract runs through 2025, which is a couple of years longer than has been reported previously. He said he and Knowlton are in conversation about an extension beyond that. 

One individual who is leaving Cal is quarterback Chase Garbers. Although he has one more year of eligibility remaining, Garbers has chosen to enter the NFL draft.

“I talked to Chase right after we closed out the season,”  Wilcox said. “I had a good discussion with him. I had a feeling which way he was leaning. I wish Chase nothing but the best. He gave us everything he had for a number of years. I really appreciate what he did for our program. 

“We are actively talking to a number of different candidates at that position, and we feel strongly that we will be adding somebody to the quarterback room sooner or later.”

Both returning Cal QBs, Zach Johnson and Kai Milner have virtually no game experience. Wilcox said it was possible the Bears might bring aboard somebody who does.

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “We feel good about the guys in there. Again, with where we’re at in college football and the transfer portal there are a number of good football players out there that for one reason or another are looking for a new opportunity and we’ll explore all those.”

He spoke highly of the returnees. “Both of them improved a great deal since they’ve been here, different styles of play,” he said. “We think both of them have bright futures. They just don’t have a lot of experience. And there is no substitute for that. And we expect those guys to have a great offseason. And continue to learn under Bill (Musgrave) and the offense and be comfortable in the system. Spring ball will be extremely important for those guys.”

”He was asked specifically about each. 

“Kai can really throw the ball, gets the ball out quick,” he said. “I think the receivers really like the way it travels. He is a smooth operator when it comes to throwing the ball. He can also run. Again, at that position, experience can make a huge difference, learning the offense and being comfortable in it.

“Zach has a little bit different style. He will get out on the perimeter. He will make some plays with his feet. He can throw the ball. He is not the tallest guy (6-1) in the world at the quarterback position., He is kind of a point guard playing that position. He can make some plays, he’s a competitor, he’s got a lot of intangible qualities that can help him as a football player.”

Wilcox also must replace special teams coach Charlie Ragle, who is leaving to become head coach at Idaho State. Wilcox said he might not hire a new ST coach, but rather move that responsibility to someone already on the defensive staff and hire a defensive assistant. 

 

 

 


 

Discussion from...

Wilcox Has Little to Say About Rejecting Oregon Offer

1,951 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by 71Bear
GMP
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I don't understand this notion that he didn't say much. He said plenty, and you quoted it. He chose to stay at Cal because he likes it here and has unfinished business here.
Sebastabear
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Yup. Has a four year deal now. Extension is one (or two) years beyond that. Clearly believes he can build something here. Say what you will but the guy wants to win. Badly. If he didn't believe he could accomplish that at Cal he would have moved on. He didn't.
HungryCalBear
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I hope he hires a "recruiting" assistant. Oregon seems to have a coaching position dedicated just for that (Johnson). But yeah I am happy Wilcox is our coach.
71Bear
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Sebastabear said:

Yup. Has a four year deal now. Extension is one (or two) years beyond that. Clearly believes he can build something here. Say what you will but the guy wants to win. Badly. If he didn't believe he could accomplish that at Cal he would have moved on. He didn't.
No one has ever doubted for a moment that he wants to win. Otherwise, he wouldn't be in the profession (only highly competitive people need apply).

To date, his recruiting has been up and down and his assistant coach selection has been spotty. He needs to up his game in both areas to be successful. Whether he can address both those areas in 2022 will tell us much about his future at Cal. The jury is deep in their deliberations. Look for a verdict by next Thanksgiving…..

As for the contract, Cal is well known for extending coaches who ended up being fired with years left on their contracts. The extension doesn't mean anything to me…..
Sebastabear
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71Bear said:

Sebastabear said:

Yup. Has a four year deal now. Extension is one (or two) years beyond that. Clearly believes he can build something here. Say what you will but the guy wants to win. Badly. If he didn't believe he could accomplish that at Cal he would have moved on. He didn't.
No one has ever doubted for a moment that he wants to win. Otherwise, he wouldn't be in the profession (only highly competitive people need apply).

To date, his recruiting has been up and down and his assistant coach selection has been spotty. He needs to up his game in both areas to be successful. Whether he can address both those areas in 2022 will tell us much about his future at Cal. The jury is deep in their deliberations. Look for a verdict by next Thanksgiving…..

As for the contract, Cal is well known for extending coaches who ended up being fired with years left on their contracts. The extension doesn't mean anything to me…..
I probably shorthanded this too much. This was discussed extensively on the insider board and probably not as much on Growls. So the point I was making is there was some confusion (and I'll be generous with that term) as to whether his contract had two or four years left. The four years hadn't previously been publicly reported. People thought his contract only ran through 2023. There was accordingly a lot of FUD around what an extension meant or why Cal was doing it. The point is JW's four year deal was signed before the season even started. So whether there's an extension here or not (jury is still out) was never the main point of this negotiation between Wilcox and Cal and he didn't use the Oregon offer to shake down Cal for more years. His negotiation has instead centered around getting additional administrative support, removing bureaucratic roadblocks and getting more money for his assistant coaches. In other words almost entirely things he thought could help him win at Cal.

So of course he wants to win. He's a professional football coach. All football coaches want to win. But Wilcox is going to the mat on his contract not to line his pockets (although he'll probably get some modest bump here) but rather to make Cal more competitive on the field. That's pretty different from any other negotiation with a college football coach I've ever heard of.

And of course to go back to a favorite topic, he turned down Oregon's offer. He didn't do that to "prolong the Cal gravy train" or whatever. He did that because he believes he has unfinished business here and can win HERE. I'm very much pulling for him to be right.
1CalFan
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I cringed that he said "Wilcox said he might not hire a new ST coach,".
71Bear
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Sebastabear said:

71Bear said:

Sebastabear said:

Yup. Has a four year deal now. Extension is one (or two) years beyond that. Clearly believes he can build something here. Say what you will but the guy wants to win. Badly. If he didn't believe he could accomplish that at Cal he would have moved on. He didn't.
No one has ever doubted for a moment that he wants to win. Otherwise, he wouldn't be in the profession (only highly competitive people need apply).

To date, his recruiting has been up and down and his assistant coach selection has been spotty. He needs to up his game in both areas to be successful. Whether he can address both those areas in 2022 will tell us much about his future at Cal. The jury is deep in their deliberations. Look for a verdict by next Thanksgiving…..

As for the contract, Cal is well known for extending coaches who ended up being fired with years left on their contracts. The extension doesn't mean anything to me…..
I probably shorthanded this too much. This was discussed extensively on the insider board and probably not as much on Growls. So the point I was making is there was some confusion (and I'll be generous with that term) as to whether his contract had two or four years left. The four years hadn't previously been publicly reported. People thought his contract only ran through 2023. There was accordingly a lot of FUD around what an extension meant or why Cal was doing it. The point is JW's four year deal was signed before the season even started. So whether there's an extension here or not (jury is still out) was never the main point of this negotiation between Wilcox and Cal and he didn't use the Oregon offer to shake down Cal for more years. His negotiation has instead centered around getting additional administrative support, removing bureaucratic roadblocks and getting more money for his assistant coaches. In other words almost entirely things he thought could help him win at Cal.

So of course he wants to win. He's a professional football coach. All football coaches want to win. But Wilcox is going to the mat on his contract not to line his pockets (although he'll probably get some modest bump here) but rather to make Cal more competitive on the field. That's pretty different from any other negotiation with a college football coach I've ever heard of.

And of course to go back to a favorite topic, he turned down Oregon's offer. He didn't do that to "prolong the Cal gravy train" or whatever. He did that because he believes he has unfinished business here and can win HERE. I'm very much pulling for him to be right.
Fair enough. Now it is time to turn talk into action. I hope he does. We shall see…..

As for his contract, it is public information. Anyone in the media could file a request to take a look if they were so inclined. I suspect that we might see a copy that includes any new language once the dust settles…..
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