Justin Wilcox Reportedly Hired as Cal Head Coach

Timothy RappFeatured Columnist

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2013, file photo, Washington's defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox wears a sweatshirt and cap with a special team logo to honor veterans as he coaches against Colorado in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Seattle. Wisconsin and coach Paul Chryst formally introduced Wilcox as the Badgers' new defensive coordinator on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Associated Press

California was pursuing a new head coach after firing Sonny Dykes following a 5-7 season, but it appears they have found their man.

Continue for updates.

Wilcox, Cal Reportedly Agree to Deal

Friday, Jan. 13

Former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has agreed to a five-year contract to become Cal's next head coach, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports initially reported the sides were in negotiations on Thursday. Feldman reported Wilcox interviewed for the job on Jan. 11.

Mason Comments on Cal Rumors

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Feldman reported the Bears may have had interest in Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason.

Niumatalolo Reportedly Among Cal's Targets

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo is among the candidates Cal is considering to fill its head coaching vacancy, according to FootballScoop.

Musgrave Could Potentially Be a Target for Cal

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Feldman reported Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave "may get a look" for the Cal job.

Cal Targeting Multiple Names

Wednesday, Jan. 11

Feldman speculated that in addition to Mason, Southern California offensive coordinator Tee Martin, Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, Washington co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake and former Oregon, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly could also be names of interest for the team.

Feldman also reported that, along with Mason, "one other sitting head coach is in the mix."

David Lombardi of ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported Spavital—who is serving as the interim head coach—would indeed interview for the position.

As for Kelly, Jon Wilner of the Mercury News broke down the pros and cons of making such a splashy hire:

First off: Cal can afford him. Thanks to the guaranteed money Kelly is collecting from the Eagles and 49ers, the Bears could pay market rate without having to actually pay market rate — they could structure the deal in a manner that forces the NFL teams to shell out millions per year, at least in the short term.

Also, the Bears want a coach who can energize the fans and donors, and Kelly would do that.

But Cal also wants a coach who wants to be at Cal, who won't cast a wandering eye at the first point of success, and Kelly surely has larger ambitions.

Does Kelly even want to return to college, where he would have to recruit, deal with boosters and bureaucracy and have limited time with the players?

Those are all fair points. Kelly would put Cal on the map in a way that the other candidates wouldn't, but he'd also come with plenty of other complications.

Next Head Coach Will Have to Turn Around Struggling Program

The task will be turning around a program that has had just one winning season in the past five years and was a disappointing 19-30 under Dykes. The Golden Bears also have just one bowl win since 2009.

Certainly, reinvigorating the program and competing consistently with the likes of USC, UCLA, Washington, Oregon and Utah, among others, in the competitive Pac-12 will be a challenge for the next head coach. Getting this hire right is paramount for Cal.


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