By Kent Larsen
Holmoe Resigns: Cal Coach Out After 11-game Losing Streak
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA -- Tom Holmoe, one of just three Mormon NCAA Divsion I
head coaches, has resigned from the UC Berkeley Goldon Bears effective the
end of the season. Holmoe's resignation caps a 12-year coaching career that
included a fast seven-year rise to head coach, but also a declinging record
over the past three seasons. "It's with deep regret that I arrived at this
decision," Holmoe said in a statement. "We had great dreams when we took
over the reins here five years ago, and it's unfortunate that many of those
dreams were not realized."
Holmoe will continue coaching the Bears for the last three games of the
season, hoping that he can help Cal (0-8, 0-6 in Pac 10 Conference) avoid
its worst season since 1894, the last time it had a winless record. The best
chance the Bears have to avoid a winless record comes November 23rd, when
they play Rutgers (2-6).
The decline of the Bears under Holmoe came almost as quick as his rise to
head coach. Holmoe peaked in his second year as head coach, earning a 5-6
record and falling just one game short of a bowl berth. But in subsequent
years Cal fell to 4-7 and then 3-8, including straight losses the last three
games of the season. The team hasn't won since, and Holmoe has accumulated a
15-37 record as head coach.
A graduate of BYU, Holmoe was a fourth round draft pick into the NFL in
1983, joining the San Francisco 49ers as a cornerback where over the next
seven years he won three Superbowl rings. He then wen back to BYU where he
was a graduate assistant coach under LaVell Edwards for 1990 and 1991.
Stanford next brought Holmoe in as its secondary coach, and after a couple
years he again returned, this time to San Francisco as the 49ers secondary
coach. Then in 1996 Cal brought him in as Defensive Coordinator to Steve
Mariucci. The next year Mariucci unexpectedly resigned to become head coach
of the 49ers, and Cal promoted Holmoe. Before that time, Holmoe had never
been head coach at any level.
In announcing his resignation, Holmoe largely blamed himself for the team's
disappointing record, "I do take full responsibility for the failures of the
team this year and in past years. I had a plan, some things went wrong that
we couldn't correct, and ultimately every coach that's in the business long
enough knows that he usually pays a price for a poor won-loss record."
But despite the record, Holmoe has won the respect of his players, who have
maintained their support for the coach, ""I try not to listen to [the
criticism]," linebacker Matt Nixon told the press a few weeks ago, "because
if you start thinking about it, you start questioning yourself, you start
questioning what's going on." Freshman tailback Terrell Williams excused the
record, saying, "We're a young team -- and all a young team can do is get
Sunday Holmoe called a team meeting to tell them the news, "It was
emotional. I poured out my feelings for them." And the team responded,
junior quarterback Kyle Boller said, "He cares a lot for us and that's hard
to find." But Holmoe explains that they had all known that the announcement
was coming, "The reason I made the announcement now was to take some
pressure off the players," he said. "They knew the writing was on the wall.
It was a formality."
But rival USC coach Pete Carroll sees another possible motive for the
announcement, "He may have thought this will give his boys a charge to come
after us," Carroll said. "I'm sure they will rally and play a heck of a game
Holmoe Has a Blank Check
Los Angeles Times 7Nov01 S2
By David Wharton: Times Staff Writer
Holmoe to leave Cal at end of season
San Francisco CA Examiner 5Nov01 S2
By Ron Thomas: Examiner Staff
Cal coach Holmoe announces resignation at end of season
Sporting News (AP) 4Nov01 S2