Aggie Sports Talk
Hawkins Makes Several Additions to the Coaching Staff
December 19, 2016
Davis, CA – Aggie football head coach Dan Hawkins seems to be reassembling the old band in Aggie Blue and Gold. Hawkins has hired several of his former assistants from Willamette, Boise State, Colorado, and the USA national football team in addition to keeping several assistants from last year’s team.
Gone are offensive coordinator Kevin Daft, himself an Aggie football alum,
running backs coach Jim Chapin
, and defensive coordinator Bert Watts.
Watts was hired by former boss Jeff Tedford at Fresno State
as their linebackers coach.
(recruiting coordinator and tight ends),
(offensive line), and
(linebackers) all seem to be coming back next year if the activity on their Twitter profiles hold true. All have posted photos or have been tagged in photos from the recruiting trail and are also active in tweeting about new verbal commitments.
The new additions to the UC Davis football staff are new faces to campus, but not to Hawkins.
At Hawkins’ initial press conference he stopped his speech and
brought up longtime friend and former colleague Sam Young
. Young, a UC Davis alumni and former coach under Jim Sochor, accepted a consulting position on the staff in a move that was predicted by posters on
Aggie Sports Talk
. Young will leave Modesto Junior College as the winningest coach in program history.
According to the Modesto Bee
, Hawkins offered Young a job in 2001 at Boise State, one which Young turned down.
On December 14, the
athletic department announced Robert Tucker
had been hired to become the defensive coordinator. Tucker, according to the department release, was the head coach at West Hills College until 2015 when he departed for Los Angeles Valley College compiling a 30-3 overall record along the way. Tucker was at West Hills until 2015, when he
departed for Los Angeles Valley College
. The connection between Hawkins and Tucker lies in the Pacific Northwest at Boise State where
Tucker served as the Broncos recruiting coordinator and safeties
coach while Hawkins was at the helm of the Broncos. Tucker was also a member of the
USA football coaching staff in 2015 as the defensive coordinator
, a team that was led by, you guessed it, Dan Hawkins.
Hawkins also selected Mark Speckman
to replace Jim Chapin as the running backs coach. Speckman worked with Hawkins at
Willamette as the offensive coordinator and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League
as the running backs coach.
The two newest additions who have not been announced by the athletic department are
. Brady, a
graduate of the University of Sioux Falls
by way of American River College, was a defensive lineman
during Tucker’s stint as the Cougars’ defensive coordinator
. According to
Brady’s Twitter page
, he will be the outside linebacker coach.
Jackson served as a graduate assistant on the Sioux Falls football team and was the
Cougars’ assistant defensive line coac
h. He most recently was
part of the staff at West Virginia State University
(Division II) as the linebacker and special teams coach.
Hawkins has put most of the pieces together except for one, offensive coordinator. Tucker has already been named defensive coordinator, Speckman will serve as running backs coach, and Brady and Jackson are not offensive minded coaches as they have primarily stayed on the defensive side of the ball.
One name that might fit the mold and has deep connections with both Hawkins and the city of Davis, is
, the current Sac State Assistant Head Coach, Run Game Coordinator, and Offensive Line coach. Wulff was born in Woodland and attended Davis High School before heading to Washington State to complete his undergraduate education. Wulff was head coach at Big Sky football power Eastern Washington before taking the reins at Washington State where he was released after three years. Since then he has bounced around but has landed back in the region and just completed his first year with the Hornets. Not so coincidentally, Wulff served as the
offensive coordinator for USA football in 2015
with Dan Hawkins.
It is a short drive from J Street to La Rue Road but they are worlds apart, especially when it comes to football. The Aggies are
14-3 against the Hornets this century and 45-19 overall
. Why wouldn’t Wulff want to ditch the green and gold to don Aggie Blue and Gold?
One thing is for sure, Hawkins isn’t straying far from his comfort zone as he assembles a coaching staff with deep roots not only to Hawkins, but to each other.
With 2 months to Signing Day, Hawkins Hits Ground Running
December 18, 2016
Davis, CA – Three weeks ago UC Davis athletic director Kevin Blue named alum Dan Hawkins the 17th head football coach in the history of the Aggie Football program. Hawkins, a UC Davis alum, has been out of the collegiate head coaching ranks for seven years, having last served as the head coach at Colorado in 2010. While Hawkins was not a head coach, he remained close the collegiate game as the head of USA Football and also served as a color analyst for ESPN.
Hired just a little over a week after the Aggies' season ending win over rival Sacramento State in the Causeway Classic, Hawkins hit the ground running. Almost immediately he needed to determine which coaches from former head coach Ron Gould’s staff would stay, which would go, all while also establishing a connection with recruits. There was some concern that Hawkins had lost connections with high school coaches, causing a negative impact on Aggie coaches as they traversed the West Coast looking for the next class of UC Davis football players.
Prior to being released from his position as head football coach, Ron Gould had already received 8 verbal commitments from high school athletes. Hawkins has stepped into his role and has not missed a beat selling UC Davis to student-athletes and their families. The Ags lost 22 seniors to graduation this year.
In the last several days, UC Davis football has received a slew of verbal commitments from some big time recruits, including Westlake High School linebacker
, Ridgeview High School defensive back
, and Orange Coast College offensive lineman
. The Ags have currently received verbal commitments from 12 student-athletes, 10 of whom hail from California - running back Tehran Thomas and defensive end Luka Nixon are from Arizona and Oregon respectively. While verbal commitments are non-binding, many high school and junior college student-athletes announce on Twitter where they have committed to play.
National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing day for football players begins on February 1, giving Hawkins and his staff a month and a half to communicate the value of a UC Davis education to student-athletes and also demonstrate what the opportunity to learn first-hand what Aggie Pride is all about.
To see the list of prospective football players compiled by Aggie Sports Talk posters, including those who have committed to UC Davis, and those who have committed elsewhere,
and be sure to follow
Aggie Sports Talk on Twitter
for the latest recruiting updates.
Did UC Davis Athletics Receive a Multi-Million Dollar Donation?
December 6, 2016
Davis, CA – The past week has been a roller coaster ride of emotion for UC Davis athletics. Athletic Director Kevin Blue hired Aggie football alum Dan Hawkins, UC Davis men’s water polo competed in the NCAA championships, and the women’s basketball team competed against national powerhouse Stanford.
Lost in the excitement was a
radio interview on KTIK
’s Idaho Sports Talk with Caves & Prater and the Aggies’ newly hired head football coach Dan Hawkins, an interview that was initially discovered by
posters on Aggie Sports Talk
. Hawkins, once the head coach at Boise State and still owns a house in Idaho, discussed the future of UC Davis Football. In a wide ranging interview that includes the process that brought him back to UC Davis, an increase in assistant salaries, and Mark Helfrich being fired at Oregon, Hawkins dropped a bombshell.
When asked by KTIK host Jeff Caves what “resource increase (Hawkins) could expect for the 2017 season,” Hawkins had this to say: “…(UC Davis) is trying to raise about $30 million to put a football facility at the stadium of which we got a $5 million gift today […]” He continued to praise UC Davis’ academic standing and how the university deserves a national championship football program.
When pressed on whether or not the university led with their newfound commitment to athletics when offering him a position or if he asked for expanded resources, Hawkins said that it was a mixture of the two. “It was a little bit of both. It really was, it was sort of a mutual agreement…Kevin Blue led with that information.” Hawkins stated that in order to get first class athletes to come to UC Davis, the university must have first-class facilities and staff.
If the $5 million gift and $30 million project are correct, it would be a colossal shift from the way the department has operated. For years under Greg Warzeka and Terry Tumey, the department has not developed a tradition of giving or shown a commitment to raise money from donors. One trip to the Team Aggie tent prior to a football game will reveal a small, tight knit group of donors who have generally been attending Aggie athletic contests for six decades. Missing from the tent are young alums, those who have the ability to donate to the university for the next six decades.
The department did however receive two six-figure donations to assist in building facilities,
one from Ted Schaal
($1 million for the aquatic center) and another from football alum
Bruce Edwards who donated $2 million
for “Aggie Stadium’s maintenance and operations and may be used for future enhancements or expansion.”
on campus field hockey facility opened in 2014
next to the dairy after funds came from a variety of funding sources. Shortly after work at the field hockey facility began, Tumey announced La Rue Field, the home of Aggie softball, would receive a
multi-million dollar facelift
that would was marketed as more of a complete rebuild. According to the Davis Enterprise, La Rue Field would receive, “stadium lights, covered bullpens, upgraded seating with a capacity of at least 500, a new scoreboard, press box and permanent concession stand and restrooms” in time for the following season.
After Tumey was released in 2015, interim athletic director
Teresa Gould told the Davis Enterprise
that the stadium renovation would not be happening in 2016 but still remained on the department’s wish list. Her comments made it seem like Tumey spoke about the renovation before acquiring the funds necessary to complete the upgrades.
During Hawkins’ interview with KTIK, he specifically mentioned that the $30 million building will be used for the football program, but a building that large would almost certainly be used for more than just football. Since the opening of Aggie Stadium in 2007, the athletic department has seen all but track and field move to the southwest corner of central campus. The majority of coach’s offices are located in Hickey Gym, on the other side of campus, making it difficult for coaches to take recruits to facilities and adding travel time during the season. The addition of a new facility would satisfy a dire need by moving offices out of Hickey Gym closer to the playing fields.
An expansion of Aggie Stadium has been in the planning stages for quite some time. On the
athletic department’s website
, Aggie Stadium is listed as having plans for “an eventual build-out to as many as 30,000 (seats).” The stadium was billed as a three phase project. The first being the initial build, the second phase would include an athletic training room, weight room, administrative offices and seating capacity, while the third phase includes the full build out to 30,000 seats.
When emailed about the alleged $5 million donation and $30 million upgrade to Aggie Stadium, outgoing Assistant Athletics Director and football Sports Information Director Mike Robles stated that the athletic department does not disclose the name or names of donors and that the department’s feasibility study is in its early stages.
If the numbers quoted by Hawkins are true it would be a huge shot in the arm for UC Davis Athletics. When will the athletic department release their plan? Aggie fans are waiting with bated breath.
Hawkins Hire Brings UC Davis Athletics Full Circle
December 3, 2016
Davis, CA - When ESPN’s Brett McMurphy
first broke the news
that Dan Hawkins was the next UC Davis head football coach, you could almost feel the excitement building in town. Hawkins, the former Aggie fullback under Jim Sochor, former Boise State and Colorado head coach, and short lived offensive coordinator at Florida International, marks a turning point for Aggie athletics.
UC Davis athletics has been in a state of uncertainty for the better part of two years. It all started in April of last year when then-chancellor
Linda Katehi announced
athletic director Terry Tumey would not return for the final year of his contract. Interim athletic director Teresa Gould, wife of former football coach Ron Gould, was asked to assume the head spot in the department. From the outset of her new position, Theresa Gould maintained that
she would not seek
the permanent post.
Six months after Tumey was released from his contract, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi was
forced to resign
after alleged misuse of student funds and the hiring of firms to boost her online reputation. Then came the search for a new athletic director. Aggie football alum, and former Syracuse athletic director
Daryl Gross threw his hat in the ring
Gross became the immediate front runner among football alums and many in the UC Davis community. However, Gross did not make the final cut, and the
search committee recommended Kevin Blue
. Many football alums were not happy that a former Aggie with an impressive resume was overlooked.
To make matters worse, football was slogging through its sixth straight losing season, almost unheard of in Davis. Interest in the program was dropping, fans were staying home, and a once proud program was struggling for answers.
Then came the expected unexpected. Many in town believed that Ron Gould would return for the fifth and final year of his contract.
Blue wasted no time firing Ron Gould
and wrote a lengthy
outlining his vision for the next football coach. One that was so detailed Blue was either shooting for the moon or had a candidate in mind.
It appears Blue had his sights set on Dan Hawkins before the season ended. Hawkins was the perfect candidate to unite the fan base and generate excitement in the program for the first time in years. Browsing through
Hawkins’ Twitter feed
is like jumping back and forth between a philosophy class and a motivational speaker seminar. He has retweeted Pope Francis, Zen accounts, Native American proverbs, and sports accounts.
But his coaching style is markedly different from past Aggie coaches. Hawkins made national news when
he went on a rant
about an anonymous email he received from a parent regarding the amount of time off their son was receiving while at Colorado. The epic rant, included Hawkins telling the gathered media that Colorado was Division I football and not intramurals. It is hard to imagine Bob Biggs or Jim Sochor yelling at the media about anything, but Hawkins brings a breath of fresh air.
Since Hawkins was officially announced as head coach on Monday morning, he has rode Unitrans, swiped students into the
, met students in the
wished students good luck
on their finals. For the first time, football season tickets are on sale and the department has a home page that allows visitors to the site to donate directly to the football program.
numerous first time posters and message board staples
are describing their excitement for football season. The excitement is real and in the words of Coach Hawkins, “…this train is rolling, and it’s rolling the right way.”
FB: Watch Dan Hawkins Press Conference Right Here at 10 AM
November 29, 2016
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