Dec. 2, 2002
BERKELEY - Jeff Tedford, the man who directed the California Golden Bears to its first winning football season (7-5) in nine years and the second-biggest turnaround in school history, has been named Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year as voted by the Pac-10 head football coaches, it was announced today.
Tedford, who inherited a 1-10 team and orchestrated victories over UCLA, Washington, Michigan State and Arizona State in his first season at the helm, is the third Cal coach to receive conference coach of the year honors since the award's inception in 1975. Joe Kapp won the award in 1982, while Bruce Snyder shared co-coach of the year accolades with Washington's Don James in 1990.
"I am very honored to receive this award, especially considering the quality of head coaches in this conference," said Tedford. "This is a reflection of our coaching staff and players, whose efforts in turning around our program made this honor possible. They should also take pride in this award."
Several Cal players also were cited by the Pac-10 today. Heading the list were defensive end Tully Banta-Cain and kickoff return specialist LaShaun Ward, who both earned first team All-Pac-10 honors. Banta-Cain finished second in the conference in both sacks (13) and tackles for loss (22), and climbed to No. 3 on Cal's career sack list with 26.5. Ward, who unleashed returns of 94, 56 and 55 yards this season, ranked first in the Pac-10 and third in the nation with a 28.9 yards-per-return average.
Bears' quarterback Kyle Boller, who passed for 2,815 yards and 28 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions in 2002, earned second team honors, along with guard Scott Tercero, cornerback Jemeel Powell and special teams standout Mike McGrath.
Boller completed his career as Cal's record-holder in career TD passes with 64 and ranked No. 2 in all-time passing yards with 7,980. Tercero was the leader on a Bears' offensive line that allowed only 25 sacks to rank third-best in the conference, while McGrath racked up 21 tackles and one forced fumble on special teams. Powell tied for the league lead with five interceptions, and finished among Cal's career Top 10 in both passes broken up (2nd with 32) and interceptions (tied for 7th with 10).
Under Tedford's direction, the Bears enjoyed a 5.5-game improvement from last year. Only Pappy Waldorf's 1947 team produced a larger one-year turnaround, posting a 9-1 mark after the team finished 2-7 the previous season.
The 2002 Bears also won six more games than last year, which equaled the biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I-A football this season. It was a year of monumental achievements for Cal, as Tedford's club:
-beat three nationally-ranked teams (Michigan State, Washington and Arizona State) in the same season for the first time in 52 years.
?scored three road victories over nationally-ranked opponents for the first time in school history.
-ended a 19-game Washington winning streak over the Bears that had spanned 26 years, beating the Huskies in Seattle, 34-27.
-halted a 12-year victory drought in Sun Devils Stadium, mowing down Arizona State, 55-38.
-set a modern day school record by scoring 427 points this year, with their 35.6 point scoring average tied for 10th best in the nation.
-capped the season by registering Cal's first Big Game win over Stanford in eight years, throttling the Cardinal, 30-7.
In addition to the six players who earn first or second team honors, five Cal players were named All-Pac-10 honorable mention. They were defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander, defensive end Tom Canada, kicker Mark Jensen, linebacker Matt Nixon and offensive tackle Mark Wilson.