ArmchairGM Wiki

University of California History

Category page

12,202pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Add New Page Talk0

Cal-logo.gif The California Golden Bears is the nickname used for 27 varsity athletic programs of the University of California, Berkeley. Often referred to as California or Cal, the university competes in the NCAA's Division I primarily as a member of the Pacific Ten Conference, and for a limited number of sports as a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Over the course of the school's history, California has won national titles in 16 different sports and 66 team titles overall. Cal athletes have also competed in the Olympics for a host of different countries. Notable facilities used by the Bears include Memorial Stadium and Haas Pavilion. Cal finished the 2005-2006 athletic season with 865.5 points, despite not recieving points for their national championships in rugby and men's crew, landing them a seventh place finish in the Director's Cup standings, their highest ever.[1]

Current sports program

[Big Game]


The Golden Bears football team plays its home games at picturesque Memorial Stadium. Built to honor Berkeley alumni, students, and other Californians who died in World War I, and modeled after the Colosseum in Rome, Memorial Stadium was picked as one of the 40 best college football stadiums by the Sporting News.[2][3] The current head coach is Jeff Tedford, who began his tenure in 2002 and has brought success to the program after years of mediocrity.


Football was first played on the Berkeley campus in 1882, albeit in a form that resembled rugby. It was not until 1886 that American football began play. Football was put on hiatus in 1906 when it was decided by the administration that American football was too dangerous a sport and rugby once again took over the scene. Football returned for good in 1915 and Cal has fielded a team in every year since.

The 1920s saw the first golden age of California football, as the Bears went 50 straight games without a defeat from 1920 to 1925, for a record of 46 wins and 4 ties. As of 2004, this is the 3rd longest unbeaten (not to be confused with winning) streak in NCAA history. The 1920 squad was so dominant that it was nicknamed "The Wonder Team." Cal won four conference championships and made three trips to the Rose Bowl during this decade, in 1921 (28-0 win over Ohio State), 1922 (0-0 tie with Washington and Jefferson College), and 1929 (8-7 loss to Georgia Tech). One of the most famous (or infamous) moments in college football history would occur in the 1929 Rose Bowl Game. In the second quarter, Cal's defense was able to force a Georgia Tech fumble on their own 30 yard line, and the loose ball was subsequently scooped up by Cal center Roy Riegels. He began to run towards the Georgia Tech end zone for a score, but then inexplicably turned around and headed in the other direction. Riegels advanced all the way to the Cal one yard line before he was spun around by teammate Benny Lom, only to be immediately tackled by Georgia Tech. Cal would have a punt blocked soon afterwards for a safety, giving Georgia Tech a 2-0 lead.

File:1938 Rose Bowl Program Cover.jpg

California football also achieved success in the 1930s, winning the conference championship three times and appearing in the Rose Bowl in 1938, where they beat Alabama 13-0. Because of it's staunch defense, the 1937 squad that went to the Rose Bowl was coined "The Thunder Team." In 11 games, Cal limited its opponents to only 33 points and 1,126 yards gained.

The early 1940s witnessed average success, but 1947 saw a dramatic turnaround as Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf became the head coach. Known as "Pappy's Boys," the Cal teams of 1947-1950 won 33 consecutive regular season games, earning three conference championships and three Rose Bowl berths. Unfortunately, Cal lost all three Rose Bowls (20-14 to Northwestern in 1949, 17-14 to Ohio State in 1950, and 14-6 to Michigan in 1951).

Pappy Waldorf would leave Cal after the 1956 season, compiling a record of 67-32-4. Cal once again earned a conference title in 1958 and subsequently played in the 1959 Rose Bowl, where it lost to Iowa 38-12. As of 2006, this is the last time California has played in the Rose Bowl.

The 1960s and 1970s was a period of relative mediocrity, as Cal posted few winning records. There were, however, a few exceptions. In 1975, behind an NCAA leading offense anchored by All Americans Chuck Muncie, Joe Roth, Wesley Walker, Steve Rivera and Ted Albrecht, it was co-Champions of the Pacific 8, but UCLA went to the Rose Bowl based on winning their annual matchup. In 1979, Cal played in the Garden State Bowl losing to Temple 28-17.

The 1980s saw most of the same, with Cal posting only one winning season in the entire decade. Of note, however, was the 1982 Big Game versus Stanford, which became famous for The Play.

Cal football had a good amount of success in the early 1990s, earning three postseason bowl berths and winning all three. Cal beat Wyoming 17-15 in the Copper Bowl of 1990, Clemson 37-13 in the 1992 Citrus Bowl, and Iowa 37-3 in the 1993 Alamo Bowl. However, the late 1990s saw little success, and the down period continued through 2001 when the Bears could only manage to win one game the entire season. After this season, much-maligned coach Tom Holmoe was fired and replaced with Jeff Tedford, who had been the offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks.

2002 was the first season under new head coach Tedford, who dramatically turned around the once faltering program. Under Tedford, California defeated Baylor 70-22 in the season opener and went on to finish 7-5, their first winning season since 1993. There were myriad other accomplishments as well, as the 2002 Golden Bears defeated three nationally ranked opponents on the road for the first time in school history, beat Washington for the first time in 19 years, and won the annual Big Game against Stanfurd after seven consecutive losses. Tedford's Bears have since posted four consecutive winning seasons, a feat that hadn't been accomplished since the days of Pappy Waldorf. After being ruled ineligible for a bowl game in 2002 due to academic infractions under the previous administration, Cal has also appeared in three straight bowls.

File:Cal 2004 post-season cover.jpg

The first was the 2003 Insight Bowl, where the Bears beat Virginia Tech 52-49 to finish the season with an 8-6 record, including an upset victory over eventual national co-champion USC.

In 2004, the Bears lost to Texas Tech 45-31 in the Holiday Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 9 after posting a 10-2 record, with their only regular season loss coming against the eventual Pac-10 and national champion, USC. California finished the regular season ranked No. 4 according to polls, and appeared to have a very good chance of becoming eligible for an at-large BCS bowl berth, most likely in the Rose Bowl. However, in a somewhat controversial case, Texas received an increase in votes in the last Coaches Poll of the season, despite the fact that the Bears defeated its opponent, Southern Mississippi, and Texas did not play. Although the boost in votes was not enough to move Texas past California in either the AP and Coaches Poll, it did allow Texas to pass the Bears into the No. 4 spot in the BCS rankings, guaranteeing Texas a BCS berth. The Bears dropped to No. 5, but BCS rules gave an automatic berth to the lower-ranked Utah, a non-BCS school that finished in the top six. [4] However, there are some that argue that Cal's drop in votes was justified, as the victory against Southern Mississippi wasn't as convincing as expected, and because Cal, relegated to a non-BCS bowl, lost to lower-ranked Texas Tech, while Texas went on to win the Rose Bowl. This controversy, along with many other previous ones, led to significant changes in the BCS, as the AP demanded that its poll no longer be used in the BCS rankings. ESPN also removed its sponsorship of the Coaches Poll after the BCS refused full disclosure of the votes in the poll.

The next year, despite inconsistent quarterback play and an overall inexperienced roster, Cal managed to finish 8-4 and earned a berth in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl, beating BYU 35-28.

Due to such continued success, Jeff Tedford has become regarded as one of the top football coaches in the country. He has also become a celebrity on the California campus. He was in attendance at a Cal-Stanford basketball game and the student section began a chant of "We love Tedford!" T-shirts with slogans such as "Ted Head," "Tedford for President," and "Tedford is God" can now be seen quite frequently.

Template:Cal football



Cal basketball's home court is Haas Pavilion, which was built on top of the old Harmon Gymnasium using money donated in part by the owners of Levi-Straus. Haas Pavilion is considered one of the most intimidating environments in the Pac-10, owing in large part to the boisterous student section near courtside called "The Bench." [5] The current head coach of men's basketball is Ben Braun.

Men's basketball history

The Golden Bears first played basketball intercollegiately in 1907 and began full conference play in 1915. The 1920s was the dominant decade for Cal basketball, as the Bears won 6 conference titles under coaches E.H. Wright and Nibs Price.

Nibs Price would coach Cal with great success for 30 years from 1924 to 1954, earning a 449-294 total record, many single season winning records, and an additional 3 conference titles in the 1930s and 1940s.

Cal reached the pinnacle of the sport during the tenure of Pete Newell, who was head coach from 1955 to 1960. The Golden Bears earned the conference title four out of his five years and in 1959, won the NCAA title. In his last year, Cal came close to another NCAA title, but lost to Ohio State in the final.

The fortunes of Cal men's basketball would never be the same after Pete Newell, for Cal has not won a conference title since 1960. The 1970s and 1980s were for the most part down years for the program, despite having players such as Kevin Johnson.

Cal achieved much better success in the 1990s, qualifying for the NCAA tournament five times with future NBA players Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray in the early '90s and Sean Lampley and Shareef Abdur-Rahim in the late '90s.

In 2006, the Golden Bears reached their first Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament championship game. Power forward Leon Powe scored a tournament-record 41 points in a double-overtime victory versus Oregon in Game 8, and made another tournament-record 20 rebounds against USC in Game 5. Despite California's 71-52 loss to UCLA in the final game, Powe received Most Valuable Player recognition for the tournament.

The current Cal head coach is Ben Braun, who has guided the Bears since 1996 with success. Under Braun, Cal qualified for the NCAA tournament three straight times in the 2000s and six times overall.

Women's basketball history

The first season of women's basketball at Cal was played from 1973-1974. The longest tenured coach in Cal history was Gooch Foster, who captained the team from 1979 to 1996. Cal was quite successful during this period; it won the conference twice in a row, and had 11 winning seasons. Since the early 1990s, however, success has been hard to come by, as the Bears have had only three winning seasons, including the recently completed 2005-2006 season.

Template:Cal basketball

Rugby Union

Cal Rugby's home is at 5000-seat Witter Rugby Field, located near California Memorial Stadium in Strawberry Canyon. The Golden Bears are the reigning collegiate national champion, which (as Cal's 22 total championships can attest to) is a situation that has become very familiar in Berkeley.


Rugby union began play at Cal in 1882 and continued until 1886, when it was ditched in favor of American Football. Rugby would make a return in 1906 after football was deemed too dangerous to play. From 1906 to 1914, Cal rugby garnered a respectable 78-21-10 record. 1914, however, saw the return of football and Cal would not field a rugby team for almost 20 years. In 1931, rugby returned under alumnus Ed Graff. It was during this time that Cal began to compete for the World Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the annual series between Cal and the University of British Columbia.

1938 began the era of Miles "Doc" Hudson, who guided the Bears for 37 years and an incredible record of 339-84-23. His successor would be Ned Anderson, an alumnus and former rugger for the Bears.

National collegiate championships for rugby union began in 1980 and Cal has been utterly dominant, winning 22 titles out of a possible 27.[6] Under Andersen, Cal reeled off four consecutive titles from 1980 to 1983. Current head coach and Cal alumnus Jack Clark took over the team in 1984 and has achieved even greater success, leading the Bears to 18 national titles including a string of 12 consecutive championships from 1991 to 2002.

Template:Cal rugby


Founded in the same year as the university in 1868, crew was the very first sport played at UC Berkeley. Since then it has become one of the most consistently successful Cal varsity programs. Women's crew began in 1974 and it has also become a perennial contender.

Unlike most other sports at Cal where Stanford is considered their chief rival, the Crew team's traditional rival is the University of Washington Huskies which year in and year out field some of the best crews in the country.

Men's Crew History

The first significant coach in Cal men's crew was Carroll "Ky" Ebright, who guided the Bears for 36 years from 1924 to 1959. During his tenure, Cal crew became known for success not only on the collegiate level, but also on the international level. In 1928, Cal fielded one of the most dominant crew teams in history, as the Bears went undefeated in the United States to win the national championship, earned the right to compete as the United States entry in the Amsterdam Olympics, and subsequently won the gold medal. Cal would represent the United States two more times at the 1932 and 1948 Summer Games, coming away with the gold on both occasions. Ebright ultimately led the Bears to nine conference championships and six Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships, with the 1939 squad being arguably the best by setting the still-standing (as of 2006) four mile course record at the IRA.

Cal maintained its success during the 1960s under coach Jim Lemmon, who in seven years, led the Bears to three more conference and national championships. Cal's success faded a little in the 1970s and 1980s, but the Bears did win another national title and three more conference titles.

Steve Gladstone's second stint as coach (his first was from 1973-1980) began in 1997 and he has resurrected the men's crew program. The Bears have won seven conference titles five straight conference championships from 1998-2002 along with 2005 and 2006. They have also won and five Intercollegiate Rowing Association titles, four in a row in 1999-2002, and again in 2006.

Women's Crew History

Women's crew began at Cal with a bang, as the Bears won four straight conference titles under Daig O'Connell followed with a national championship in 1980 under Pat Sweeney. However, Cal could not keep up its early success and saw average success for almost the next 20 years. Cal's second renaissance began in the late 1990s, when current coach Dave O'Neill took over the program. Cal has been invited to the NCAA Rowing Championship six straight times and won back to back national championships in 2005 and 2006. In 2005 Cal also took the Varsity 8 race, the premier event at the championship.

Template:Cal crew


Since 1906, Cal students and alumni have participated in the Olympics in a variety of different sports and have represented a diverse group of nations, despite the fact that the university is located in the United States. In the first half of the 20th century, Cal's Olympics presence was felt mainly in the sports of rugby and crew. The gold medal winning American rugby teams of the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics were made up of many Cal players who were displaced following the school's decision to support American football, rather than rugby[7]. In men's crew, Cal's team won gold for the United States three times - at the 1928, 1932, and 1948 Summer Olympics. To date, this is more than any other college or university in the world. [8]

From the second half of the 20th century and through to the 21st Century, Cal has been a huge presence in the water sports of swimming, diving, and water Polo. Cal swimmers have represented an eclectic group of nations, including Thailand, Croatia, and Sweden. Two of the most well-known Cal Olympic swimmers in the past 20 years are Matt Biondi and Natalie Coughlin. Matt Biondi began his Olympic career with a gold as a member of the 400 free relay team at the 1984 Summer Olympics, but became an outright star four years later when he garnered an amazing seven medals (five gold, one silver, and one bronze) at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He would follow up that effort with four medals (2 gold, one silver, and one bronze) at the 1992 games for a career total of 11 medals, 8 of them gold. Over a decade later, Natalie Coughlin would become another Olympic swimming icon with Cal heritage after an impressive performance at the 2004 Athens Games. Individually and in relays, she won five medals (2 gold, 2 silver, one bronze) as a United States representative.


Template:UC Berkeley Athletics

This category currently contains no pages or media.

Also on Fandom

Random Wiki