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Cal Football

Knowlton Hits the Ground Running With Meetings and Road Trip for LA Summer Huddle

May 23, 2018

On just his second official day on the job, new Cal Athletic Director JIm Knowlton met with hundreds of coaches and department staff Monday then took to the road Tuesday with head football coach Justin Wilcox in the first of two Summer Huddle Celebrations with SoCal Bear fans.

Tonight's LA event, held in the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Los Angeles, was hosted by Cal radio personality Todd McKim and featured comments and Q&A's with both Knowlton and Wilcox. The event also saw some familiar faces in attendance, including former players Todd Huber, Kevin Moen, Ryan Foltz, Jason Welborn -all Cal football alums- and John McMahon, a former two sport athlete at Cal.

"I come from a family of educators," said Knowlton. "My parent were educators and I taught civil engineering midway through my career as a civil engineer and when the opportunity to go to the best public school in the world opened up, that's where I wanted to be.

"When you can have students that do the work they do and also participate in premier athletics at the same time, we're developing men and women that will be really successful because some of the lessons they've learned (at Cal).

Knowlton got a start to his tenure at Cal by hosting 300+ in the athletic department at Cal yesterday morning in his first steps towards getting and up close and personal view of the department he'll manage.

Knowlton noted the overlap in dealing with the types of bureaucratic issues and problem solving in his prior positions and what he'll be dealing with at Cal have a fair share of similarities and he expects his tenacity and unwillingness to settle for anything but solutions to road blocks faced will serve him well at Cal.

"I don't mind being told no two, three, four, five times," said Knowlton. "I'll just keep coming back for more till we can find a way to make it work. I think that skill set will be very helpful as we try to negotiate the bureaucracy that we all know is at both the federal and the state level."

Knowlton's initial game plan for his first three months will be sitting down with every head coach and their staff and every business unit in the department to do analysis about the short, mid and longterm goals for each program and the department and how they'll define success.

Knowlton noted that the department will be moving to Prong 1 of Title 9. The percentage of female students on campus is 52% but only 41% of the roster spots are going towards female athletes -largely because of the sheer volume of scholarship and walk-on players in the football program, at @135. Knowlton stated that there are 6-7 ways to get there, including roster management.

Head Coach Justin Wilcox also played a large role in the event as he moves into his 17th month as head Coach at Cal.

Wilcox noted that the players had a couple weeks to prepare for finals after spring ball ended and then another two weeks off before summer session begins, with some starting class yesterday and mandatory workouts starting next Monday.

"It's a huge time for us for building chemistry," said Wilcox. "Obviously the strength part of it -the conditioning and agility- is such a big part of things along with the chemistry.

"The coaches are still on the road recruiting. We'll be recruiting right up till June 1st.

"It's been a really good month of recruiting. We've gotten a lot of players in for unofficial visits this spring. We've had almost 70-80 players on campus that we've offered scholarships to and that's a really big deal for us. A lot of that has to do with location and it's easy to get to. And a lot of our recruiting areas are nearby.

"It's an exciting time and having Jim here, I know everyone in the university is really energized by that and we're looking forward to working with him here."

Wilcox noted on the recruiting front that recruiting offensive linemen and defensive ends was a big priority, with less of an emphasis on receiver, with an already loaded rotation.

17 of the 24 signees are from California, 21 of the 24 are 3.0+ gpa's and 14 were regional or state champions and many were multi-sport athletes, which is something the Cal staff likes to see. Wilcox also noted that more skill position recruits would comprise the 2019 class than last year.


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