California Golden Bears football coach Roger Theder has died. He was 76 years old.
Theder was the head coach of Cal football from 1977 to 1981, and served as a Cal assistant from 1972 to 1977, where he was the offensive coordinator for Mike White, Joe Roth, Chuck Muncie, and a Cal football squad that shared the Pac-8 conference title in 1975. As the head coach that succeeded Mike White, Theder went 18-27 at Cal, although he did split his four Big Games 2-2. Theder’s second season was his most successful with Cal, as the Bears went 7-5 and went to the 1979 Garden State Bowl. The Bears went 6-5 in his first year but did not replicate that success in his final two seasons.
Recent Cal fans will know Theder for his work in developing former Cal quarterback Zach Kline before his commitment to the Bears. Theder also trained current 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Marshawn Lynch’s cousin (former NFL quarterback) Josh Johnson.
Mr. Theder led the Bears from 1978 through ’81. In his tenure, Cal went 17-28, beating Stanford in twice, in 1979 and ’80.
The 1980 victory probably ranks as the most significant for Mr. Theder. A 2-8 Cal team was using backup quarterback J Torchio in place of injured Rich Campbell, who would be a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1981. Stanford was 6-4 with a quarterback named John Elway and would have gone to the Peach Bowl if it had beaten the Bears.
The final: Cal 28, Stanford 23.
RIP Coach Theder. Go Bears.