Feb. 19, 2010
BERKELEY - Clancy Pendergast has been named the defensive coordinator at Cal, head coach Jeff Tedford announced Friday. Pendergast brings 19 seasons of NFL and collegiate coaching experience to the position, including the past six campaigns as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs (2009) and Arizona Cardinals (2004-08). Pendergast was the defensive coordinator in Arizona when the Cardinals captured the 2008 NFC title to earn a berth in Super Bowl XLIII.
"We are extremely pleased and excited to be able to hire a football coach with Clancy Pendergast's experience and credentials," said Cal head coach Jeff Tedford. "He has been a defensive coordinator on football's biggest stage and will be a tremendous asset to Cal football."
"I'm excited to have an opportunity to work here at a Cal with its tradition rich program," said Pendergast. "I'm also excited to work with a high-profile college football coach like Jeff Tedford. Hopefully, I can bring the ability to be a very good teacher of the game, give our players direction and put them in position to use their strengths along with their talent to make plays."
The signature of Pendergast's defenses during his tenure as an NFL defensive coordinator was the ability to force turnovers, with his six squads racking up a combined 176 total takeaways (92 interceptions, 84 fumble recoveries). For the five-year period from 2004-08, his Arizona teams ranked eighth in the NFL by forcing 148 turnovers (77 interceptions, 71 fumbles).
"We want to play smart, tough and aggressive," said Pendergast. "Those will be the three keys."
During Arizona's Super Bowl run following the 2008 regular season, the Cardinals led all NFL teams by forcing 13 turnovers in the playoffs. The performance of the Arizona defense played a key role in post-season victories over Atlanta, Carolina and Philadelphia as the Cardinals limited the three highly-regarded offenses to an average of 20.7 points per game. During the 2008 regular season, Arizona led the NFL with 17 fumble recoveries and ranked tied for fifth in the league with 30 takeaways. Arizona was also third in the NFL with opponents facing an average of 8.16 yards to go on second down and sixth by permitting 4.97 yards per play on first down.
The 2007 edition of the Cardinals ranked ninth in the NFL in run defense, allowing only 97.9 yards per game. On November 11, 2007, Arizona set a modern-day NFL record by holding the Detroit Lions to -18 rushing yards. The 2007 team also set single-season franchise records with six interception returns for touchdowns and 551 interception return yards. The club's 18 total interceptions tied for 10th in the league.
In 2006, Pendergast's defense forced 33 turnovers (16 interceptions, 17 fumbles), the most by the Cardinals since 1998 and tied for fifth in the NFL. The 17 fumble recoveries ranked fourth in the league.
The Cardinals were eighth in the NFL in total defense (295.6 ypg) in 2005, as well as fourth in third-down efficiency (34.2%), seventh in first downs allowed (272) and tied for 10th in fumble recoveries (13).
In Pendergast's first season with Arizona in 2004, the Cardinals improved to 12th in the NFL in both total defense and scoring defense after being ranked 26th and 32nd in those two respective categories the year before Pendergast arrived. In addition, the team forced 30 turnovers to rank tied for 13th in the NFL, compiling seven more takeaways than the season before his arrival when the Cardinals were 24th in the league with 23 takeaways. The 2004 squad was also second in the NFL in red zone TD percentage (45.0%), fourth in third-down defense (31.6%) and tied for fifth in fumble recoveries (15).
During his tenure in Arizona, Pendergast also worked with the secondary and coached Arizona safety Adrian Wilson to a pair of Pro Bowls in 2006 and 2008. Defensive end Bertrand Berry (2004) and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (2007) also earned their first Pro Bowl selections playing in Pendergast's defense.
Pendergast spent the 2003 season as the linebackers coach with the Cleveland Browns. Prior to his one campaign in Cleveland, Pendergast was a member of a Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff that won two NFC East titles (1996, '98) and made three NFC Playoff appearances (1996, '98, '99) during his seven-year tenure from 1996-2002. Pendergast spent his first four seasons in Dallas (1996-99) as a defensive assistant and quality control coach. He oversaw the club's defensive nickel packages in 2000 before coaching the defensive backs in his final two campaigns (2001-02) with the Cowboys. Dallas ranked third in the NFL in pass defense in both 2000 (168.3 ypg) and 2001 (180.6 ypg). In 2002, Pendergast tutored safety Roy Williams, who was a consensus all-rookie selection and led Dallas with five interceptions.
Pendergast began his NFL coaching career in 1995 with one season as a defensive assistant/quality control coach for the Houston Oilers.
Prior to his 15 years in the NFL, Pendergast spent four seasons as an assistant coach at the collegiate level. He served as a graduate assistant with Mississippi State in 1991, before working on coaching staffs at USC as a defensive assistant in 1992 and Oklahoma as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach from 1993-94.
Pendergast graduated from Arizona in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture.