Cal Golden Bears Coaching Staff 2023

Justin Wilcox returns for a seventh season in Berkeley, but there's some fresh faces on the Cal coaching staff for the 2023 college football campaign.

The Cal Golden Bears head into the upcoming college football campaign with Justin Wilcox at the helm for the seventh consecutive season. Who else makes up the Cal coaching staff for the 2023 college football season?

Cal Golden Bears Coaching Staff

Head Coach, Justin Wilcox

After establishing himself as one of the top defensive coordinators in college football, Wilcox was named the Cal head coach ahead of the 2017 season. In his first head coach role at any level, he guided the Golden Bears to winning seasons in two of his first three seasons in Berkeley. In the third of those campaigns, he took Cal to their highest AP Poll rank since 2009.

While Wilcox’s overall record at Cal might not immediately grab the attention — 30-36 in his six seasons — his tenure has seen plenty of individual high points for the program. He is only the fifth Cal head coach to win consecutive road games at bitter rival Stanford. Meanwhile, he has led the Golden Bears to wins over their biggest Pac-12 opponents, including two wins over USC.

MORE: Pac-12 WR Rankings 2023

Wilcox was a DB at Oregon before embarking on his coaching journey, continuing a family tradition led by father Dave — a Hall of Fame linebacker. Following the end of his playing career, he landed a role at Boise State as his first venture into coaching, with his full college football coaching résumé listed below.

  • Boise State (graduate assistant, 2001-2002)
  • Cal (LB coach, 2003-2005)
  • Boise State (DC, 2006-2009)
  • Tennessee (DC, 2010-2011)
  • Washington (DC, 2012-2013)
  • USC (DC, 2014-2015)
  • Wisconsin (DC, ILB coach, 2016)
  • Cal (HC, 2017-2023)

Offensive Coordinator, Jake Spavital

Jake Spavital returns to Berkeley for his second stint on the Cal coaching staff, reprising a role he held for the Golden Bears in 2016. In addition to being the offensive coordinator for head coach Wilcox, Spavital will serve as the QB coach. The last time he coached QBs in Berkeley, Davis Webb broke multiple school records while emerging as one of the best passers in the nation.

While he has spent the last four seasons as the head coach of Texas State, Spavital is best known for his work with quarterbacks. In a dual role at multiple programs, he has coached some of the most productive passers in college football history, including Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith, Brandon Weeden, and Kyler Murray.

A standout QB at Union High School in Tulsa, Spavital played both quarterback and punter at the college level for Missouri State. Finishing his playing career in 2007, he got his first college coaching role as offensive quality control at Tulsa, before quickly climbing the ranks. His full college coaching résumé can be found below.

  • Tulsa (offensive quality control, 2008)
  • Houston (graduate assistant, 2009)
  • Oklahoma State (graduate assistant, 2010)
  • West Virginia (QB coach, 2011-2012)
  • Texas A&M (co-offensive coordinator, QB coach, 2013; QB coach and OC, 2014-2015)
  • Cal (OC and QB coach, 2016)
  • West Virginia (OC and QB coach, 2017-2018)
  • Texas State (HC, 2019-2022)
  • Cal (OC and QB coach)

Defensive Coordinator, Peter Sirmon

Peter Sirmon joined the Cal coaching staff in 2018 as the inside linebackers coach. Since then, he has elevated himself to defensive coordinator for the Golden Bears — a role that he’s held full-time since 2020 — while maintaining control of an ILB group that he’s coached to All-Pac-12 recognition during his time in Berkeley.

The Cal defensive coordinator was a standout linebacker in his own right. Sirmon was a four-year starter for now-Pac-12 rivals Oregon, earning all-conference honors in 1999 while playing alongside HC Wilcox. He parlayed a strong college career into a seven-year NFL career, making 54 starts for the Tennessee Titans.

MORE: Pac-12 RB Rankings 2023 

In addition to playing alongside the Cal head coach, Sirmon has worked on the same coaching staffs at both Tennessee and USC. He got his first coaching role at DII Central Washington in 2008, and you can find the Cal defensive coordinator’s full college coaching résumé listed below.

  • Central Washington (LB coach, 2008)
  • Oregon (graduate assistant, 2009)
  • Tennessee (graduate assistant, 2010; LB coach, 2011)
  • Washington (LB coach, 2012-2013; recruiting coordinator, 2013)
  • USC (LB coach, assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator, 2014-2015)
  • Mississippi State (DC and LB coach, 2016)
  • Louisville (DC and OLB coach, 2017)
  • Cal (associate head coach and ILB coach, 2018; co-DC, associate head coach, ILB coach, recruiting coordinator, 2019; DC, ILB coach, recruiting coordinator, 2021; DC and ILB coach, 2022-2023)

Offensive Line Coach, Mike Bloesch

After forging one of the most impressive ground games in the nation at North Texas, Mike Bloesch joins the Cal coaching staff for the 2023 college football season as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator. A 37-game starter at guard for Houston, Bloesch has worked with O-line units at Tulsa and UNT. He’ll also serve as the run game coordinator for the Bears.

Defensive Back Coach, Terrence Brown and Tre Watson

Terrence Brown and Tre Watson share defensive back coach duties for the Golden Bears. Brown joined the Cal coaching staff from Washington, where he was a DB assistant working with the Huskies’ talented secondary. Watson joined the Golden Bears from UNLV in 2021. Viewed as one of the best young coaches in the nation, he has worked with top-tier NFL talent like Budda Baker.

Defensive Line Coach, Andrew Browning

Like head coach Wilcox, Andrew Browning began his coaching career at Boise State, spending three seasons with the Mountain West program before moving to UTEP as the defensive line coach in 2013. Arriving in Berkeley in 2019 as a quality control coach, Browning has served as the defensive line coach on the Cal coaching staff for the past four seasons.

Tight End Coach, Tim Plough

Tim Plough joins the Cal coaching staff for the 2023 college football season after a long and successful career as an offensive coordinator and QB coach at Boise State, UC Davis, and Northern Arizona. Plough will serve as the TE coach for the Golden Bears. While it’s his first time coaching the position, he has experience working with pass catchers at Northern Arizona.

Outside Linebacker Coach, Vic So’oto

A former standout linebacker at BYU who spent time on several NFL rosters, Vic So’oto began his coaching career with his alma mater before helping Virginia and USC to division titles in successive seasons. After helping multiple Trojans to all-Pac-12 honors, he joined the Cal coaching staff in 2022 where he serves as the program’s outside linebacker coach.

Running Back Coach, Aristotle Thompson

Another member of the Cal coaching staff with links to Boise State, Aristotle Thompson was a four-year back for the Broncos and got his first coaching role with the program in 2001. After spending time at the high school, NAIA, and FCS levels — largely with Cal Poly — he arrived in Berkeley where he’s credited with luring some of the team’s top backs, including Jaydn Ott.

Wide Receiver Coach, Burl Toler III

A Cal graduate who tallied 874 yards and four scores for the Golden Bears, Burl Toler III had a well-traveled professional career with stops in the NFL, Italy, Germany, and the CFL. He returned to Berkeley in 2013, spending three seasons on the Cal coaching staff before a year with Fresno State and UC Davis paved the way for the role of WR coach for his alma mater.