Cal officially announced on Thursday what had been reported earlier this week -- that Oregon co-defensive coordinator Keith Heyward has agreed to become a Golden Bears assistant coach.
What had not been reported earlier is that Heyward will be an outside linebackers coach at Cal. In the past Heyward had worked primarily with defensive backs, specifically safeties, but this will be his first opportunity at the FBS level to work with the outside linebackers position group.
He replaces Tim DeRuyter in that regard. DeRuyter, who was Cal's outside linebackers coach the past four seasons, left Cal to become Oregon's defensive coordinator.
Cal has some talented outside linebacker in Cameron Goode, Braxten Croteua and Tevin Paul, although the latter opted out of the 2020 season.
Heyward has spent 14 of his 16 seasons as a collegiate coach in the Pac-12 with four different conference programs, including his most recent position as the assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach for back-to-back Pac-12 champions Oregon. He was the Ducks' safeties coach for four seasons (2017-20) while adding co-defensive coordinator duties for his last three campaigns at Oregon and assistant head coach for the final two.
Heyward started his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the ball at his alma mater Oregon State (2005-06) as he worked with the defensive line in his first season and cornerbacks in his second before taking his first full-time coaching job as the linebackers coach at Cal Poly (2007). He came back to Oregon State as the defensive backs coach for four seasons (2008-11) before back-to-back two-year jobs in the same position at Washington (2012-13) and USC (2014-15). Heyward also had a passing game coordinator title on the defensive staff with the Trojans.
Wilcox was the defensive coordinator at both Washington and USC during Heyward's stints, while Wilcox and Heyward played against each other collegiately in each of Heyward's first three campaigns with the Beavers and Wilcox's final three with Oregon (1997-99).
"Keith has tremendous experience and deep roots in the Pac-12 both as a coach and former player," Wilcox said in a statement provided by Cal. "He has played an important role coaching and recruiting for many successful programs throughout his career and knows what it takes to win. The players he has coached have consistently been well-prepared, productive and played aggressively. Keith is a humble and smart guy who relates well to players and his fellow coaches, and he will be an outstanding fit at Cal. We are excited that he is joining our staff."
"I'm extremely excited to join the terrific staff has assembled at Cal," Heyward said in a statement. "I am looking forward to working alongside Justin and others on the staff that I have had the chance to be colleagues and friends with for many years while working in the Pac-12. I'm humbled by the opportunity to continue growing as a coach and ready to be able to teach, mentor and develop the young men in the Cal football program."