Cal Names Justin Wilcox As Head Coach

    Cal has hired Justin Wilcox as its new head football coach. The former Wisconsin defensive coordinator has returned to Berkeley for his first head gig.

    January 15, 2017

    Cal has hired Justin Wilcox as its new head football coach. The former Wisconsin defensive coordinator has returned to Berkeley for his first head gig.


    Cal has hired a familiar face to be its next head football coach.

    Wisconsin defensive coordinator and former Golden Bears assistant Justin Wilcox is taking over the program, as the school made the hiring official on Saturday. He replaces Sonny Dykes, who was fired last Sunday after going 19-30 in four seasons.

    With this move, Wilcox is going back to his roots, as he was the linebackers coach at Cal from 2003-05 under Jeff Tedford before moving on to his first defensive coordinator job at Boise State in 2006. Wilcox was also defensive coordinator at Tennessee (2010-11), Washington (2012-13) and USC (2014-15) before overseeing Wisconsin’s physical and speedy defense this past season.

    Wilcox played defensive back at Oregon from 1996-99 before getting his first coaching job as a graduate assistant at Boise State.

    USC head coach Clay Helton dismissed Wilcox following the 2015 season after the Trojans finished 65th in the nation in total defense. But the Badgers hired him when Dave Aranda left for LSU, and they finished 7th in the country allowing 301.4 yards per game. Wisconsin finished this past season with a win over Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl.

    Cal is in desperate need of a defensive overhaul, as the Golden Bears finished last season 125th nationally in total defense giving up an average of 518.3 yards per game. The Bears were also 123rd in tackles for loss and 107th in sacks.

    Wilcox has Pac-12 ties and is familiar with recruiting on the West Coast, so the move makes a lot of sense for the Bears as they look to gain traction in the Pac-12.

    MORE: 4-Star WR Tyjon Lindsey Commits To Nebraska

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