It was welcome news amidst all the doom and gloom to hear that Cal football had hired 4-time Pro Bowler Wes Chandler as the new wide receiver coach.
As a collegiate player, he was a two-time 1st team All-American as well as a 1st team Academic All-American at the University of Florida.
After being selected with the 3rd pick in the 1978 draft, Chandler went on to an 11-year NFL career that featured four Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro honors. As part of the "Air Coryell" offense with Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow, he still holds the NFL record for most receiving yards per game in a season. He was named to the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1991.
He has 20 years of experience coaching wide receivers including time spent with the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Cleveland Browns. He also spent seven years coaching in NFL Europe with time spent as a position coach, offensive coordinator, and head coach.
During his time with the Browns, he was credited with turning around the careers of previously troubled players Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, Jr.
Most recently, he coached at Football University, an invitation-only and position-specific training camp for 6th to 11th graders.
In the official Cal press release, Coach Chandler stated,
"I'm excited about this opportunity at Cal," Chandler said. "It starts at the top and coach Tedford and I share a lot of the same sentiments regarding what the game of football is all about. It's more than just football, it's also about the players and their well-being in the classroom and off the football field. It's about teaching them basic fundamentals so they will be able to maximize their potential when they walk on the field, making them students of the game. We share that goal so it was a perfect marriage for me."
Coach Tedford added: "I'm very excited to announce the hiring of Wes Chandler," Tedford said. "Wes is a quality person who brings all of the things to the table that Cal stands for. He's a great football coach who is an outstanding technician. Just as importantly, he cares about the kids off the field and will be able to help them reach their full potential in all areas of their life. It's a great day for our program, and we're really happy to have him as part of our staff."
Time will tell, but this hire looks to be an upgrade with regards to coaching the wide receivers. Wes Chandler was known as a smart player and a technician; he was savvy enough to extend his career and remain productive even as he lost his elite speed and quickness.
Although playing ability doesn't always translate to coaching, he has the reputation for being an excellent teacher and a mentor on and off the field. In a time of uncertainty, he offers the stability and maturity of an experienced professional player and coach. He's also known for his community involvement and charity work. We're not just getting a good coach; we're getting a good man.
Welcome to Cal, Coach Chandler!