Ron Gould, a 16-year veteran of the University of California, Berkeley coaching staff who was most recently the Golden Bears’ associate head coach, has been named UC Davis’ new head football coach, Director of Athletics Terry Tumey announced at a campus news conference on Monday morning.
Gould, 47, is just the 16th head coach in the nearly 100-year history of the Aggie football program. He replaces Bob Biggs who retired from coaching after the 2012 season.
“It is a dream come true for me to be the head coach at UC Davis and I am honored to be entrusted with the leadership of the football program at such an outstanding university,” Gould said. “Under my leadership, we will provide a rich student-athlete experience, and compete in the classroom and on the playing field toward the pursuit of excellence. We will proudly represent this great student body and commit ourselves to the right balance of academics and athletics.
“The future is bright for Aggie football,” he added. “I look forward to experiencing that great Aggie Pride that defines this wonderful community.”
Tumey said Gould is a perfect fit for UC Davis.
“This is an important and exciting day for our football program,” Tumey said. “UC Davis values excellence on and off the playing field, and Ron Gould clearly shares those values, particularly with his commitment to the academic, athletic and social well-being of student-athletes. His selection culminates a long and thorough search to fill an important position for our athletics program and also for our university. I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Ron to our Aggie Family.”
Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi applauded the choice, saying, “Ron is known as a coach who invests in his players so they will succeed with football and with their studies. He will not only be an outstanding coach. In the UC Davis tradition, Ron will be an outstanding mentor and teacher, too.”
Gould was a candidate for the 2010 American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Award and has served internships with six NFL teams, including the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. He brings extensive coaching experience, particularly in the running game. As Cal’s run game coordinator, he helped the team feature one of the most potent rushing attacks in the Pac-12 Conference while developing nine 1,000-yard rushers during the last 11 years of his tenure.
After helping lead a ground game that led the Pac-10 with a 168.3 yards-per-game (ypg) average and 28 touchdowns in 2003, Gould oversaw a historic rushing effort a year later when Cal averaged 256.8 ypg. It was the Bears’ highest average in more than 50 years, they’re fourth-best ever, and was sixth-best nationally.
In all, he’s also overseen nine of the Bears’ top 11 individual rushing seasons and mentored six of the program’s top 10 all-time rushers. Gould has been a part of eight bowl teams, including a pair of Holiday Bowls with Cal in 2004 and 2006.
Gould is a 1988 graduate of the University of Oregon, where he majored in criminology. He played football for the Ducks, starting in their defensive backfield in 1987. Originally from Tucson, Ariz., Gould began his collegiate playing career in 1984-85 at Scottsdale Community College, before transferring on scholarship to Wichita State. The Shockers later discontinued their program, leading him to Oregon.
After working alongside Aggie alum Mike Bellotti and serving as a graduate assistant at Oregon in 1990-91, Gould was the defensive backs coach at Portland State (1992) and Boise State (1993-96). He then went on to Cal, where he served as running backs coach from 1997-2007, became associate head coach a year later and, finally, the run game coordinator for the past two seasons.
“I had an opportunity to coach with him for five years, and it was a great five years (1997-2001) working beside him,” said former Cal head coach Tom Holmoe, now the athletics director at BYU. “He is an incredibly diligent coach who is thorough in every sense of the word. He is one of the best, if not the best, recruiters that I have ever been around. Position mastery is something that he excels in; he knows the running back position like the back of his hand.”
Gould has coached several outstanding running backs at Cal that are currently in the NFL, including Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), Jahvid Best (Detroit Lions), Shane Vereen (New England Patriots), Justin Forsett (Houston Texans) and Will Ta’ufo’ou (Jacksonville Jaguars).
“The way he works, and how he is, it just resonates when you first meet him,” said Vereen. “Through my four years at Cal, what he taught me is hard to put into words because he did so much for me, both on and off the field, to help me become a better football player on the field and a better man off it it.”
Best echoed those sentiments.
“He not only instilled the proper values to help us become the best football player we could be, he also challenged us to become the best person we could be,” he said. “I know if he could inspire a group of running backs, he will definitely create a great atmosphere for the entire team.”
Best (2008), J.J. Arrington (2004), Lynch (2006) all led the Pac-10 in rushing under Gould’s tutelage while Best, Lynch and Forsett each earned All-Pac-10 first-team honors. Lynch went on to be named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 while Arrington was a consensus All-American and finished eighth in voting for the 2004 Heisman Trophy after gaining a school-record 2,018 yards.
“Coach Gould is a people person and a player’s coach,” said former Aggie head coach Bob Foster (1989-92) who was also an assistant coach at Cal (2002, 2006) with Gould. “He does things the right way, and that’s the Davis way. He is very interested in the academics; he always was at Cal – he had to be. He was always on his players to go to class and do the right things. He’s the kind of guy you want at Davis. I think he’s an excellent choice. I feel enthusiastic about him because I think he will fit perfectly. The people at UC Davis will really like him.”
Gould and his wife Teresa are the parents of sons Tevin and Trae.
He will take over an Aggie program that recently completed its 20th season under Biggs, the second-winningest coach (144-85-1) in program history. The Aggies completed their first year in the highly regarded Big Sky Conference in 2012 and will be entering their 95th season of football in 2013.
Gould will be paid an annual base salary of $235,000.