New football coach
Cal welcomed Justin Wilcox back to UC Berkeley when he was named head coach of the Golden Bear football program on Jan. 14. A former linebackers coach at Cal in the mid-2000s, Wilcox served as a defensive coordinator for the next 11 seasons, directing some of the top units in the country during that time.
Throughout his stint as linebackers coach from 2003-05, the Bears posted a combined 26-12 record and advanced to three bowl games. Since then, he’s helped Boise State, Tennessee, USC, Washington and Wisconsin to another 10 bowl appearances.
“Cal Athletics is about high academics, it’s about a comprehensive student athlete experience, and it’s about winning championships,” said Director of Athletics Mike Williams. “We have found a coach in Justin Wilcox who embodies all of those principles. Justin is a smart, driven person of high character with a proven record of success at the highest levels of college football.”
Fans will get their first chance to see Wilcox’s Bears in action at the spring game starting at 11 a.m. on Cal Day (April 22) at California Memorial Stadium. Admission is free.
Golden Bears Spring Action
The Golden Bears are going strong with the vast majority of teams in action, giving Cal fans the opportunity to see them in action on campus.
Both the men’s and women’s basketball programs jumped out to strong starts to the year and close out their home slates at the end of February before heading toward the postseason.
Men’s preseason first-team All-American Ivan Rabb paces the men, while last year’s National Freshman of the Year Kristine Anigwe leads the women’s squad.
Men’s and women’s gymnastics are ranked among the top 10 in the country, while the men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams, with a number of Olympians on both rosters, are once again in the hunt for national titles.
Baseball, softball and rugby are just some of the many options for the spring, with complete schedules, team information and student-athlete features available on calbears.com.
Golden Bear and Olympic champion swimmer Dana Vollmer knows a lot about winning — and losing — and getting back in the pool to try again.
So when she took the Winter Commencement stage at Haas Pavilion Sunday and faced a crowd of some 500 about-to-be-new-graduates — and their beaming friends and families — she had a lot to tell them about how to face their futures:
“I challenge you to tackle the unknown, be open to learn from everything and everyone, and whatever you do, stay positive,” Vollmer said, relating examples from her own life. “Your dream life is out there. You just have to be brave enough to create it.”
Vollmer, who led the Golden Bears to their first NCAA team championship in 2009, was a four-time Olympic gold medalist before having a baby, Arlen, last year. Then, she came back and won another three medals in last summer’s Olympics in Rio. Her keynote commencement speech followed remarks by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and other dignitaries.
Spring commencement will be held on Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m. in California Memorial Stadium. For more information on spring commencement, go to commencementberkeley.edu.
New vice chancellor appointments at Berkeley
Some exciting administrative changes were made at UC Berkeley this semester: Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D., began serving as interim vice chancellor of student affairs. He will replace Harry LeGrande, who retired after more than 35 years at Berkeley. Steve previously served as associate vice chancellor for Residential & Student Service Programs (RSSP). In his stead, David A. Surratt, Ed.D., agreed to serve as interim associate vice chancellor for RSSP. David was previously the associate dean of students.
“It is such an honor to step into this new role and continue advocating on behalf of our students,” Sutton said. “Watching each student develop into a global citizen who will use their unique leadership capacity to affect positive change beyond Berkeley is a distinct privilege.”
Surratt was equally excited about opportunities in his new role.
“Working within the residential and student services program has been an opportunity for me to contribute to Berkeley in a new way since arriving to campus nearly four years ago and starting out within the dean of students office. I’m excited about the opportunity to help shape the student experience not only in how we serve our students’ housing and dining needs but also how we shape their informal learning outside of the traditional classroom setting.”
Chancellor search continues
Following Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ announcement at the beginning of the fall semester that he will be stepping down, University of California President Janet Napolitano continues in the search for UC Berkeley’s next chancellor alongside 12 other members of the search advisory committee. The committee represents UC Berkeley staff, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, Regents, and the UC Berkeley Foundation. Napolitano intends to make her final recommendation early this year to the University of California Board of Regents, the state governing body that decides chancellor appointments for the UC system.