Dec. 1, 2011
DAVIS, Calif. - Bob Biggs, who owns the second-most wins in the history of UC Davis football and whose playing and coaching career has spanned six decades, will retire from coaching at the end of the 2012 season, Nona Richardson, the university's interim director of athletics, announced on Thursday.
Biggs, who will retire from the university in June 2013, was a first-team Little All-American quarterback by the Associated Press before later returning as an assistant coach in 1978. Next season marks Biggs' 35th on the football coaching staff and his 20th as head coach.
"UC Davis is a very special place where a student-athlete can truly strive for success both on and off the field," said Biggs. "I've been very fortunate to have been associated with the university as both a player and a coach for nearly 40 years. I'm proud of everything we've accomplished over that period and I look forward to our first year in the Big Sky Conference, and then stepping away to help the program transition into new leadership."
Under Biggs, the Aggies have enjoyed tremendous success on the gridiron and in the classroom. In his 19 years as head coach, three players have earned Academic All-America honors, and defensive tackle Chris Jones (2004) and quarterback Matt Engle (2008) each received the prestigious V. Glenn Winslow Award as the university's outstanding graduating male senior. Jones also received the University Medal, awarded to the top graduating senior.
Most recently, the Aggie football team posted an Academic Progress Rate that led not only the Great West Conference but also was higher than any football program in the Big Sky Conference, the league the UC Davis football team will join in 2012.
"Bob embodies the kind of excellence and leadership we value at UC Davis," said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. "He is a tremendous coach with a stunning record. But he is also an outstanding mentor for all our student-athletes and a wonderful ambassador for our university. He has set a standard for others to follow."
With a career record of 140-78-1, Biggs trails only his mentor, College Football Hall of Fame coach Jim Sochor, who had 156 Aggie wins from 1970-88, for most victories in school history. Biggs, who took over as head coach in 1993, led UC Davis to eight NCAA Division II playoff berths including seven straight before it began its reclassification to Div. I status.
He has also led UC Davis to three championships in nine years of conference membership - the football program did not have a league affiliation from 1994-2003 - as well as five seasons with 10 or more wins.
Biggs was also the architect of one of the biggest upsets in college football history in 2005 when he directed UC Davis - which at the time was still officially a member of NCAA Division II - to a monumental 20-17 road win over Stanford.
Biggs joined the UC Davis football program in 1969, embarking on a playing career that eventually earned him induction into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame. He was the Aggies' first-ever 2,000-yard passer, had four 300-yard passing games and cemented his name in program lore when he directed UC Davis' improbable last-second 30-29 comeback against Cal State Hayward in 1971, a game dubbed "The Miracle Game" which celebrated its 40-year anniversary this year.
Biggs returned to UC Davis as an assistant football coach and head men's tennis coach in 1978 after a brief professional playing career. In 1993, he took over as head coach for Bob Foster. In his first season, he led the Aggies to a 10-2 record and a share of the America West Conference championship.
He also continued a streak of winning seasons started by Sochor in 1970 that would eventually reach a record 37 straight. Biggs led UC Davis to an amazing 42-8 record from 1998-2001 and postseason berths each year, including a 12-1 record in 2000 when the Aggies reached the NCAA Division II semifinals behind a high-powered offense that averaged nearly 520 yards per game.
His mentoring of quarterbacks since becoming head coach has turned out several outstanding signal-callers who went on to play professionally, including Khari Jones (1991-93) in the Canadian Football League, Mark Grieb (1994-96) in the Arena Football League, and Kevin Daft (1996-98) and J.T. O'Sullivan (1999-2001) who were each drafted into the NFL.
"Bob is among a select group of individuals who have not only played for UC Davis but have returned to coach future generations of Aggies as well," said Richardson. "He's synonymous with UC Davis football and we're appreciative of everything he's accomplished."
Biggs guided the UC Davis football program through the challenging reclassification from Div. II to I, highlighting the transition with that improbable 20-17 win at Stanford on Sept. 17, 2005. The Aggies came back from a 17-point deficit in that game to stun the Cardinal, sending shockwaves through the college football world. It was a win also noted for the fact that UC Davis was still officially Division II.
Success also followed Biggs once the Aggies officially reached Div. I, in 2007. He led UC Davis to its second Great West Conference championship in 2009 and was named the league's coach of the year. Biggs has enjoyed particular success in the Causeway Classic against rival Sacramento State, compiling a 15-4 record as head coach. He also owns an 11-8 record against longtime rival Cal Poly.