Only One Assistant Remains from Justin Wilcox's Original Cal Staff

Is that amount of turnover of Bears assistant coaches since 2017 a good thing or a bad thing?
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Charlie Ragle

He is the only current member of Justin Wilcox's Cal football coaching staff who was on the Bears' staff in Wilcox's first season of 2017.

With the reported departure of Cal tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo to become Rice's offensive coordinator, nine out of the 10 assistant coaching positions, including strength coach, are occupied by different people than they were five years ago.

Is all that turnover a troubling trend? Is it a positive sign? Does it matter?

Coaches who have maintained much of the same coaching staff for several years love to evoke the word "continuity," suggesting that having the same coaches year after year helps create a consistent approach and close personal relationships with the players as they develop. That theory implies that change causes disruption and inhibits progress.

But change in coaching staffs is more common these days than ever before. Keeping a staff together for a long time is a major challenge.

And the coaches that left Cal recently accepted jobs that were a step up in prestige. Outside linebackers coach Tim DeRuyter left to become defensive coordinator at Oregon, the 2020 Pac-12 champion. Strength coach Torre Becton took a job at football powerhouse Texas. Tight ends coach Tuiasosopo is accepting a job as offensive coordinator at Rice. And it's difficult to question Marshall Cherrington's decision to exit as Cal's director of recruiting strategy to take a similar job at USC, his alma mater and a presumed football power.

In fact, every 2017 Cal assistant coach either retired or left for what would be perceived as a better job, with the possible exception of Beau Baldwin, who was Cal's offensive coordinator before becoming head coach at FCS school Cal Poly.

So there is the argument that the positive reputations assistants have built under Wilcox at Cal have made them attractive to other schools for higher-profile positions.

Nick Saban has had five of his 10 assistant coaches leave for other jobs after the Tide's 2020 national championship season.  Bill O'Brien becomes the seventh Alabama offensive coordinator in the last 11 seasons, and when Pete Golding became the Tide's defensive coordinator in 2019 he was the fourth person in five years to hold that critical position.

And does anyone doubt that that Alabama will challenge for its sixth national title in the 11 years in 2021?

So much for the continuity theory.

So only Charlie Ragle remains from Wilcox's original Cal staff, and even his role has been modified slightly. The tight ends coach as well as the special teams coordinator in 2017, Ragle is now solely the special teams coordinator. At least for now.


Cal's 2017 coaching staff, Justin Wilcox's first season with the Bears:

Beau Baldwin -- offensive coordinator, running back coach

Tim DeRuyter -- defensive coordinator, inside linebackers coach

Gerald Alexander -- defensive backs coach

Jerry Azzinaro -- defensive line coach

Steve Greatwood -- offensive line coach

Marques Tuiasosopo -- quarterbacks coach, passing game coordinator, recruiting coordinator

Nicholas Edwards -- wide receivers coach

Charlie Ragle -- special teams coordinator, tight ends coach

Tony Tuioti -- outside linebackers coach

Torre Becton -- strength and conditioning coach


Cal's current coaching staff, as Wilcox heads into his fifth season at Cal

Bill Musgrave -- offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach

Peter Sirmon -- defensive coordinator, inside linebackers coach, recruiting coordinator

Charlie Ragle -- special teams coordinator

Andrew Browning -- defensive line coach

Keith Heyward -- outside linebackers coach

Angus McClure -- offensive line coach

Aristotle Thompson -- running backs coach

Burl Toler II -- wide receivers

Marcel Yates -- defensive backs coach

To be announced -- tight ends coach (Tuiasosopo has not yet been officially hired by Rice)

Brian Johnson -- Strength and conditioning coach


Cover photo of Justin Wilcox by Darren Yamashita, USA TODAY Sports


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