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Sandy Barbour Talks Sonny Dykes, Cal Football Coaches, Athletic Upgrades

The Cal athletic director sat down to talk about the state of Bear Territory. In Part I, we discussed the Cal football program and the upgrades ahead for various athletic structures.

Avinash Kunnath

Sandy Barbour talks Cal football, Sonny Dykes (via Lindsay Brauner)

Lindsay Brauner (LB): Hi there, it's Lindsay Brauner; I'm here with Cal Athletic Director, Sandy Barbour. Sandy, thanks for taking the time to join me

Sandy Barbour (SB): My pleasure.

LB: So, it sounds like Sonny Dykes had a fantastic interview with you. Can you tell me what about him in particular stood out to you compared to other candidates?

SB: Well, certainly from the beginning, even as I looked at his credentials. He's been a successful head coach for years at Louisiana Tech; they ran an exciting offense--the country's most prolific offense last year. He had experience within the Pac-12 as the offensive coordinator at Arizona and my network, my contacts, just said great things about him personally.

More Lindsay interviews: Brennan Scarlett Bryce Treggs Zach Kline

Then, from the first interview, just his style; his comfort; his ability to just talk about his values and what was important to him; and the young men in his program and how he cared about what he calls "winning everywhere," which is about winning in the classroom, winning in the community, winning in the development of their character, and certainly winning on the field is an important part of that.

I was just really struck from minute one by the ease of which he talked about that, the openness with which he talked about how he would run the program and, frankly, he talked very specifically about Cal and about the Berkeley community and what it was that attracted him and Kate, his wife, and family to that and the intervening six months have proven that out in terms of him being attracted to what's here for him and his family and for his staff and the young men in this football program.

LB: In regards to the position coaches, can you tell us what unique qualities you think each is going to be bringing to support Sonny's coaching philosophy?

SB: Certainly, there are a number of them that he brought with him from Louisiana Tech, so they're familiar with the system, they're familiar with the offense that he runs as well as familiar with how he wants a football program run. I will tell you this--from having gotten to know them a little bit, what I am struck by is their breadth of interests. They're not singularly football coaches.

Again, they're attracted to Cal and attracted to this area and attracted to the kind of student-athlete who comes to Cal because it's beyond football. It's about the community, it's about the arts, it's about all that's available here from an educational standpoint, and yet, at the same time, they're very highly skilled football coaches who are going to produce great results not only on the field, but in these young men's lives.

LB: Can you talk to me a little bit about programs like tennis and aquatics and the upgrades that have happened within their structures?

SB: Absolutely. We've talked a lot here about our needs from an infrastructure standpoint, from a capital standpoint, the facilities and the upgrades that have been needed to the physical plant of intercollegiate athletics for many, many years. Certainly since I arrived on the campus in the fall of 2004. The Memorial Stadium project has kind of, I use the phrase "blocked out the sun" for us and it was incredibly important not just to football, but to Cal athletics [to complete] the Simpson Center and all that it means to our student-athletes and to our coaches.

With that substantially behind us (in terms of those projects being all but finished--we're still doing some checklist things), but with those things done, now we have an opportunity to move onto some of the specific needs of the other programs and certainly aquatics and the need for water, which will assist the entire campus because the Spieker Pool, for the most part, services five intercollegiate programs--the men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's water polo--and that pool also services physical education, fitness, rec sports, club sports. So, for us to have more additional water [allows us] to move predominantly practices and events, too. Spieker will still serve as the main competition pool, but whatever we move to the new aquatic center will free up time in Spieker for our entire community to have more water time as well.

Coming up in Part II: Memorial Stadium reaction and further renovation