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Manusamoa Luuga finished with 118 yards on 15 carries
Sept. 17, 2016
A 16-year veteran of the California Golden Bears’ coaching staff, Ron Gould became just the 16th head coach in the 100-year history of UC Davis football when he was named to the Aggies’ top position on Dec. 17, 2012. He replaced Bob Biggs who finished his 20-year career as head coach following the 2012 season.
Gould’s short tenure with the Aggies has been marked by highly respected recruiting classes, high academic achievements by his team and two wins in the Causeway Classic against rival Sacramento State.
One of the most highly regarded running back coaches in the country, Gould has mentored some of the top runners in the game. In fact, the last three Super Bowl winners have each had one of his proteges: C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos), Shane Vereen (New England Patriots) and Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks). Additionally, Jahvid Best, who played for the Detroit Lions before retiring from the NFL, showcased his speed this summer in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics while competing in the 100-meters for Saint Lucia.
Recruiting is the cornerstone to every successful football program and Gould has already established himself as one of the top recruiters at the Football Championship Subdivision level after earning similar respect while at the Football Bowl Subdivision level at Cal.
That was evidenced by his most recent recruiting class in 2016, which was ranked No. 10 among all FCS teams (and tops in the Big Sky Conference) by Saturday Blitz, and No. 17 by Hero Sports (third-highest in the Big Sky). That came two years after his 15-player 2014 class was comprised of 12 players rated two stars by Scout.com.
Former Cal head coach Tom Holmoe (1997-2001) said, “He is one of the best, if not the best, recruiters that I have ever been around.”
“My philosophy as a coach is to create an environment where each and every young man can optimize their potential in the classroom, in the community and on the field,” Gould says. “We achieve this together through trust, accountability, structure, discipline and hard work.
While his leadership in recruiting is helping to establish an exciting future, his emphasis on academic achievement has yielded similar results in two measurements by the NCAA: Academic Progress Rate (APR) and Graduation Success Rate (GSR). For the past four years, UC Davis has led the Big Sky in APR. It’s the second-longest active streak in the FCS. The Aggies also had a GSR of 83 percent in the most recent data released by the NCAA, marking the second straight year they’ve led the Big Sky in that area.
On the field, UC Davis has put together one of the most disciplined teams in the FCS. In 2015, the Aggies ranked third nationally in fewest penalties (45), fewest penalties per game (4.09), fewest penalty yards (382) and fewest penalty yards per game (34.7). Additionally, ball control moving the ball close to the goal line were strengths for UC Davis, which was ranked second in time of possession (34:37) and tied for fifth in red-zone efficiency (.906).
Gould’s first season with the Aggies produced a tie for fourth place in the powerful Big Sky Conference, a run of five victories over UC Davis’ final eight games, and a convincing 34-7 win over rival Sacramento State in Gould’s first Causeway Classic. He highlighted his second year by reclaiming the Golden Horseshoe with a 48-35 win over rival Cal Poly.
Gould, 50, joined the Aggies after an impressive career Cal where he developed several of college football’s top tailbacks over the past decade, a list that includes NFL players Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), Best (Detroit Lions), Vereen (New England Patriots), Justin Forsett (Houston Texans) and Will Ta’ufo’ou (Jacksonville Jaguars). Other players who got their start with Gould and later signed NFL contracts include Chris Manderino (Cincinnnati) and Tarik Smith (Dallas Cowboys).
He didn’t take long to place his stamp on the UC Davis running backs, helping guide transfer Gabe Manzanares to the program’s best rushing total (1,285 yards) in more than a decade in 2013.
Manzanares went on to win Big Sky Newcomer of the Year honors while ranking among the conference and NCAA Div. I FCS leaders in several statistical categories. Manzanared was named to the All-Big Sky third team in 2014 while finishing with 2,116 career yards in just two seasons.
Thirteen players were named to All-Big Sky Conference teams in 2013 and 10 more in 2014. UC Davis has 27 over Gould's first three seasons. Additionally, he put together highly touted recruiting classes each of the past three years.
Gould began his playing and coaching career on the defensive side of the ball, starting as a defensive back for the University of Oregon, his alma mater, in 1987 and then moving into a graduate assistant role coaching that position group from 1990-91. He continued coaching defensive backs as an assistant coach at both Portland State (1992) and Boise State (1993-96) before moving on to Cal.
From 1997-2007, he was the running back coach before being elevated to associate head coach in 2008. He added running game coordinator duties beginning in 2011.
His proteges in the Bears’ backfield produced impressive achievements. Nine of the program’s top 11 individual rushing seasons and six of Cal’s all-time top rushers were coached directly by Gould. Lynch was the 2006 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, J.J. Arrington was eighth in the 2006 Heisman Trophy voting after leading the country with 2,018 yards, and Best who was a two-time All-Pac-10 first-team player between 2008-10.
Arrington, Lynch, Forsett and Vereen were each all-conference honoreers as well. Lynch (2007) and Best (2010) were later first-round picks in the NFL Draft while Arrington was a second-round selection.
Cal enjoyed its best rushing season in more than a half-century in 2004 when it averaged 256.8 ypg while scoring a school-record 30 touchdowns on the ground. The 2005 season brought much of the same with the Bears averaging 235.3 ypg.
Gould was a candidate for the 2010 American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Award and has served NFL internships with the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams.
A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Gould played at defensive back at Scottsdale Community College in 1984-85 before earning an athletics scholarship to Wichita State. The Shockers later discontinued their program, leading him to Oregon where he played for the Ducks and earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology.
Gould and his wife Teresa are parents to sons Tevin (21) and Trae (18).
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