March 28, 2014
DAVIS, Calif.- UC Davis head football coach Ron Gould has added Dan Finn and Paul Creighton as assistant coaches while former Aggie receiver Anthony Soto has joined as a quality control assistant for the offense, it's been announced.
The new staff members are in place and ready for the start of spring practices which begin next week. The two newest Aggie assistant coaches replace former assistants Ben Steele and Matt Wiegand who joined the coaching staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Finn will coach the offensive line while Creighton will coach the tight ends.
"We lost two good coaches in Matt Wiegand and Ben Steele who both went to the NFL," said head coach Ron Gould. "But every situation is an opportunity to grow and build and we're so fortunate that we were able to land two new coaches who bring a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience. We're excited to have them a part of our family."
Finn brings a decade of coaching experience to the Aggies. He spent the past two seasons directing the offensive line at Utah where he coached three Utes that earned All-Pac-12 recognition, including left tackle Sam Brenner who was a second-team pick in 2012 and is now a center with the Miami Dolphins.
Finn was a graduate assistant with Utah in 2004 before moving on to Idaho (2007-10) and San Diego State (2011). He's been on the coaching staff with four teams that have played in four bowl games - the 2005 Emerald Bowl, 2006 Armed Forces Bowl, 2009 Humanitarian Bowl and 2011 New Orleans Bowl.
He's also gained coaching experience at Mesa College (2002), Phoenix College (2003) and Southern Utah (2004). Finn was a three-time All-Big Sky first-team offensive lineman for Northern Arizona University, serving as a two-year captain and earning team MVP honors in 1997.
Finn later played professionally for NFL Europe after spending a year with the Denver Brocks in 1998. He earned his bachelor's degree in liberal studies from NAU in 2002.
"He's played the position at a very high level," Gould said. "He's very technical and has great attention to detail. He cares about the young men, he really wants them to do great and is a great mentor for the players on and off the field."
Creighton joins the UC Davis coaching staff where he will work with the tight ends after three years at Colorado State University-Pueblo. He was the defensive line coach during his tenure with the ThunderWolves, helping them allow just 108 rushing yards per game and only eight TDs on the ground in 2012.
Creighton, a walk-on at Colorado who later earned a scholarship while playing tight end and fullback, earned his undergraduate degree in psychology in 2006. He moved on to Auburn after graduation where he served two years as graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach during the Tigers' national championship year in 2010.
He returned to his alma mater in 2009 where he was the defensive graduate assistant for two seasons.
"One of the things I love about him is his character," said Gould. "He's really professional in his craft and he's a tireless worker. If he doesn't know something, he's going to turn over every rock until he gets it figured out."
Soto, who will assist the offensive coaches in film breakdown and game-planning, is a familiar name to many UC Davis football fans after catching 107 passes for 1,269 yards and 10 touchdowns while playing for the Aggies from 2009-2012.
He had a career-high 44 catches for 551 yards during his junior season in 2011, including scoring two touchdowns against South Dakota. Soto followed that outstanding season with 27 receptions for 312 yards and a team-high four touchdowns as a senior.
Soto graduated from UC Davis last June with his bachelor's degree in community and regional development. He coached high school football in Fresno during the fall.
"When the opportunity came up for Anthony to be a part our family, I jumped at the opportunity," said Gould. "When I met with him I was very impressed. I didn't know him before he came in but I had the opportunity to watch him on film and saw that he was very competitive.
"One of the things I wanted to do was change his name and see if we could get him to come back and play for us again," joked Gould. "He's very passionate about the game and knows it inside and out."
Soto replaces quality control staff member Quinn Tedford
who also joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff.
UC Davis will open spring practices on Tuesday morning.