• aggie6thman
    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 Medium post 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 Segundo DC, visited Shields Library, met students in the Coffee House, and 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.

    On AggieSportsTalk.com, 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.”
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