The changes in Cal’s offensive coaching staff continued on Saturday when offensive line coach Steve Greatwood announced his retirement after 40 seasons of coaching in college and the NFL.
The Bears will be without three current offensive coaches next year. Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin accepted the head coaching job at Cal Poly, and Cal running backs coach Nick Edwards was hired as Cal Poly’s offensive coordinator.
The 61-year-old Greatwood, Baldwin and Edwards will remain on the Cal staff through Monday’s Redbox Bowl game against Illinois.
Greatwood coached the Bears’ offensive line for three seasons. The Bears suffered a number of injuries to its offensive line this season, but performed well late in the year when some of the injured players returned.
The vacancy left by Greatwood will leave an attractive job for the next offensive line coach, because the Bears will return all of their starting offensive linemen next season, and will add Will Craig and Gentle Williams, who were designated as starters before suffering season-ending injuries. Williams missed the entire season, and Craig was injured in the season opener after making his first start.
The offense in general should be much improved in 2020 with a lot of returning starters.
"I've had the pleasure of doing what I love to do for my entire adult life," Greatwood said in a statement released by Cal. "I've been a pretty lucky guy in that respect and maybe even luckier to have been able to spend so much time with so many tremendous people. It's tough to leave this job that I love so much and a program that is on such an upswing under the leadership of Justin Wilcox, but there comes a time when you know it's just right to move on and that's where I'm at in my life. It's been an unbelievable job for the last 40 years and I'll cherish all of the memories forever."
Wilcox also released a statement on Greatwood:
“Steve Greatwood is one of the best offensive line coaches in the history of our game and an even better person," Wilcox said. "I have the utmost respect for coach Wood and the work he has done over the last four decades. He was the first person I hired at Cal three years ago. The impact he made both on and off the field in the lives of our young men and his fellow coaches during his three seasons with our program will have a positive influence on our program for many years to come. I wish we could keep him around longer because he will be very difficult to replace, but he has built a tremendous foundation for our offensive line unit to build upon in the years ahead. If anyone has earned the right to enjoy his retirement and enjoy life, it's coach Wood."
Greatwood's first two offensive lines at Cal in 2017 and 2018 helped pave the way for running back Patrick Laird, who finished his collegiate career with 2,153 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Greatwood produced some of the top offensive lines in college football history, especially during his 32 seasons over two stints at his alma mater Oregon.
After two seasons with the NFL's St. Louis Rams (1995-96), he returned to collegiate coaching at Maryland (1997) before spending two campaigns at USC (1998-99).
Statement from offensive tackle Jake Curhan:
"Coach Wood has been extremely influential to my football career. He has coached me every year I have played at Cal and has taught me how to slow down and understand the game. He has also watched me and helped me mature into the young man I am today. Wherever football or life takes me, coach Wood has had a substantial role in helping me get there.”
Statement from Cal center Miachael Saffell:
"I always wanted to play for and be taught by coach Wood. I wanted to be part of all the years of great players that he led to become better players and greater men. He has taught our offensive line to be technicians and, more importantly, how to be great teammates and inspire each other in challenging times. We have learned how to become brothers even though we all come from different backgrounds and think differently. My future will be better because I got a chance to be play for coach Wood. The game, offensive line play in general and all the players he crafted into men will miss his mentorship."