Cotton Bowl

California has officially announced the hiring of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox as its new head coach, replacing Sonny Dykes

BERKELEY -- Cal has officially announced the hiring of former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox as the Golden Bears' next head coach.

Who's on Wilcox's Staff? (Members)

BERKELEY -- California's new head football coach Justin Wilcox has been on campus since Wednesday, interviewing for and then and negotiating with athletic director Mike Williams. It's taken a bit longer than either side would have liked, but on Saturday, after the Cal basketball team's 58-54 win over Washington State, Wilcox was officially announced as the 33rd head coach in the Golden Bears' history.

Wilcox agreed to a term sheet that included a five-year contract length, and wants to speak with his new players before speaking with media, which he will do on Tuesday, at 11 a.m., in the Field Club at California Memorial Stadium. "I couldn't be more excited to become head football coach at the University of California," Wilcox said in a statement. "It has been a dream of mine to lead a college football program, and there's no better place than here at Cal, where I got my start, and at a school that means so much to me."

Defensively, multiple sources have said that Wilcox will pursue former Bears defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi as his defensive coordinator, who he met while coaching Cal linebackers from 2003-05 in his first positional coaching job.

Wilcox, 40, is a native of Eugene, Ore., and played for Oregon as a defensive back from 1996-99, before becoming a graduate assistant at Boise State.

"At an early age since his playing days at Oregon, I could tell that Justin had a very high football IQ," said former Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, in a statement. "I've watched him grow as a defensive coordinator over the last decade, most recently with the tremendous job he did at Wisconsin last year, and I've certainly been very impressed. it was no surprise to me that a bright, young mind at an early age has become the head football coach at the University of California."

Former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti said of Wilcox, "Justin was one of the most competitive and knowledgable players that I've ever had the opportunity to coach. It never surprised me that he has become a great coach because he understands football, he understands the student-athletes and he can coach 'em up. His understanding of the game and his willingness to prepare will make Cal a better football program."

Following his stint with the Broncos, Wilcox coached the Bears' linebackers, on defenses that ranked among some of the best in the nation.

In 2003, Cal was No. 68 in total defense (384.86 ypg) and No. 54 the nation in scoring defense (24.4 ypg). In 2004, the Bears were No. 24 in total defense (320.92 ypg) and No. 8 in scoring defense (16.0 ppg).  In 2005, Cal was 46th in total defense (359.58 ypg) and 26th in scoring defense (21.2 ppg).

Wilcox, after a 2006-09 stint as Boise State's defensive coordinator, and a 2010-11 stop as the Volunteers' DC, was the Washington's defensive coordinator when Lupoi left Berkeley for Washington in 2012. During his time at Washington, 

In 2014, Wilcox followed Steve Sarkisian to USC, and guided the Trojans' defense into the top 20 in turnover margin, red zone defense and third-down conversion defense. In his last season in Los Angeles, Wilcox had the Trojans leading the Pac-12 in third-down conversion defense and scored five defensive touchdowns, good for third-best in the country. While at Washington, Wilcox had the Huskies in the top 40 nationally in total defense, scoring defense and pass defense a year after finishing lower than 105th in each category. In 2013, Wilcox's defense as 29th nationally, with passer efficiency defense jumping 60 spots to No. 27 in 2012, and then No. 10 in 2013. Wilcox's defense in Madison this year was No. 7 in the nation in total defense, allowing 301.4 yards per game. The Badgers were second in the nation in interceptions (22), No. 3 in rushing defense (98.8 ypg), No. 30 in passing defense (202.6 ypg), and No. 4 in scoring defense (15.6 ppg).

"I'm truly very thankful for all that Justin did for our program, and how he did it," said Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst. "In one year, he had a big impact on our players, our staff and our families. He's very deserving of this opportunity. I'm extremely happy for him and wish him all the best."

WIlcox will immediately set about forming his staff, and one of the first tasks will be replacing dynamic spread-oriented Jake Spavital at offensive coordinator, after he departed for West Virginia.

Cal will be rough around the edges next season on offense, having lost quarterback Davis Webb, running back Khalfani Muhammad and top receiver Chad Hansen. He will have a quarterback competition on his hands almost immediately. One source close to Wilcox said that he will likely lean more towards a pro-style system, and former Cal running backs coach Ron Gould's name has been mentioned as a potential fit to return to his former post. Wilcox will also have to replace inside receivers coach Jacob Peeler, who left to coach wide receivers at Mississippi. Two names have emerged as possibilities for the receiver coaching job -- former Cal receivers Burl Toler and Geoff McArthur. No offensive coordinator names have been floated.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know our team and hiring our staff, and we will get to work immediately recruiting student-athletes of high character who are good fits for Cal both academically and athletically," Wilcox said.

Wilcox's father is Dave Wilcox, a former linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers.

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