Justin Wilcox demonstrated last month his intention to stay at Cal long-term when he turned down the opportunity to coach at Oregon, his alma mater.
The university reciprocated on Thursday, announcing Wilcox has signed a contract extension that will keep him in Berkeley through the 2027 season. The agreement also increases the salary pool for Cal’s assistant coaches, something Wilcox has said is important for the health of the program.
The two parties have been negotiating a new contract since mid-December when Wilcox said no thanks to the Ducks, who could have provided him a bigger salary and a great opportunity to win on a national level.
Wilcox said at the time, "If we continue along this path, we can do some great things here, and things that haven't been done before.”
He reiterated on Thursday that he’s excited to be in Berkeley.
"I appreciate the opportunity to be the head football coach at Cal and am excited about the future of our program," Wilcox said in a statement released by the school. "I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute I have spent with the extraordinary young men who have been in our program. We are in a great position and strongly aligned with our university thanks to the leadership of Chancellor Carol Christ and Jim Knowlton.
"We have very high expectations. I think we've earned the right to expect more, and that's exactly what we're going to do.”
No financial terms were announced. Wilcox was scheduled to earn $3,344,996 in 2021, which ranked just seventh in the Pac-12, 43rd-highest in the country.
If Wilcox completes the next six years through the duration of the new deal, he will have spent 11 seasons as the Bears’ head coach, matching the most by anyone in Cal history.
Jeff Tedford also coached 11 seasons (2002-12), winning a school-record 82 games. Andy Smith (1916-25), Stub Allison (1935-44) and Pappy Waldorf (1947-56) each ran the program for 10 seasons.
“Justin Wilcox is a football coach who shares our values and vision, and we want to ensure that he is the leader of our program for the long term," Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a statement released by the school. "He is a great fit for Cal Athletics and our university, with a philosophy that places an emphasis on developing young men on the field, in the classroom and as people.
“I am confident our fans and alumni share my enthusiasm for the direction of our program, and the level of success we have seen to date has set a foundation for sustained excellence in the future."
Wilcox is just 26-28 over five seasons, but took Cal to bowl games after the 2018 and 19 campaigns, when the program compiled a combined record of 15-11.
Cal was 1-3 a year ago during the pandemic-interrupted season and finished 5-7 in 2021, winning four of its final six games after a 1-5 start. One of the two defeats in the second half of the season was a 10-3 road loss to previously winless Arizona when two dozen Cal players were ruled out of the game due to COVID-19 protocols.
Wilcox’s teams have won the Big Game twice in the past three seasons, and have beaten USC (2018 & 2021), Oregon (2020), Washington (2018 & 2019) and UCLA (2019).
Against non-conference opponents, Wilcox owns two victories vs. North Carolina and Ole Miss and one each over Illinois and BYU.
Cal chancellor Christ praised Wilcox, saying, "Since the beginning of his tenure, I have been impressed by Justin Wilcox’s leadership, and his commitment to enabling our student-athletes to take full advantage of the academic and athletic opportunities we offer.
”He is, in my opinion, the quintessential Berkeley coach who understands the university's values, as well as the value his program brings to the campus as a rallying point for Cal's global community. College football is a highly competitive environment, and the investment represented in Justin's new contract is commensurate with all that I know he will contribute to our university in the years ahead.”
Cal is pleased with the academic performance of Wilcox’s athletes, evidenced by its program-record 84 percent Graduation Success Rate, announced by the NCAA in December.
Cover photo of Cal coach Justin Wilcox by Darren Yamashita, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo