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ESPN: How Cal prepares its football players for life after college

The #CalFamily puts players on the right path early.

One of the biggest perks the California Golden Bears can provide to prospective football players is how successful their alumni tend to go onto become. No, we’re not just talking about overall alumni (who are of course the best in the world!), but our football alumni, who have gone onto tackle a wide variety of successful careers.

ESPN’s David Hale ran a great feature today on how Cal football’s staff does an important job of getting players set up on a pathway to success post-football. Most prominently mentioned is Ron Coccimiglio, the director of career development and assistant director of football operations at Cal. Coccimiglio is also in charge of life skills coaching and job placement programs for the summer.

From the feature:

Cal's program is focused on mining its own resources, which include an impressive array of football alums now leading big companies around the Bay Area. Coccimiglio started hosting on-campus roundtables to let players meet professionals ranging from tech CEOs to a captain at a local fire department. During the spring, players come straight from practice, often still in sweatshirts and shorts, to network with executives in expensive suits, but given the demands of football, that's the way business has to be done. And it works.

With so many other programs coming up with robust recruiting strategies to land the best players out there, professional development has to start becoming a key selling point for Cal. You can see how current players like Ray Davison and Matt Anderson take advantage of those additional opportunities in the hopes of finding stable careers if they have to hang up the cleats.

The Bears have the best group of alumni out there—connecting alumni with students (not just athletes, but all students) seems like it can only be a positive and important experience for Cal graduates in the future.

It's a win-win arrangement, really. Cal's players get a taste of the world outside football, building networks for their Plan B. The alumni get first crack at young talent they hope to hire in a year or two. The school builds its alumni network, with the interactions with the football players in a professional setting helping to drive fundraising from donors.

The feature is well-worth a read. Click here and check out how programs like Cal (and Clemson) do their best to develop their athletes!