Bronco Beat

Former Boise State assistant Justin Wilcox named head coach at Cal

Former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was named the head coach at Cal on Saturday.
Former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was named the head coach at Cal on Saturday.

For the second time this offseason, a former Boise State football coordinator has earned his first head coaching job.

Justin Wilcox,a graduate assistant in 2001 and 2002 and the Broncos’ defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009, was named the head coach at Cal on Saturday. Wilcox served as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator this past season. The Badgers were No. 7 in total defense and No. 4 in scoring defense in 2016. Cal was 125th and 127th, respectively, in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which has 128 teams.

“At an early age since his playing days at Oregon I could tell that Justin had a very high football IQ,” former Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said in a statement. “I’ve watched him grow as a defensive coordinator over the last decade most recently with the tremendous job he did at Wisconsin last year, and I've certainly been very impressed. It was no surprise to me that a bright, young mind at an early age has become the head football coach at the University of California.”

Wilcox has plenty of knowledge of the Pac-12 North, having played at Oregon, serving as Cal’s linebackers coach from 2003 to 2005, and Washington’s defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013.

In his final two seasons in Boise, the defense finished in the top 15 in scoring, and he capped off his tenure with a win over TCU in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, in which the Broncos forced three Andy Dalton interceptions and employed a new look on defense with starters like Shea McClellin, Kyle Wilson and Jeron Johnson playing in new spots. Wilcox interviewed for the Boise State head coaching job in 2013 after Chris Petersen left for Washington.

Part of Petersen’s first staff in Boise, he’s the latest in a staff that has gone on to some big things. Four assistants on that staff are now head coaches. Mike Sanford, who played quarterback for the Broncos from 2000 to 2004 and was the offensive coordinator in 2014, was named Western Kentucky’s coach in December. Wilcox, 40, is the son of former Boise State Junior College great Dave Wilcox, an NFL Hall of Famer.


Former Boise State running back Cory Young tweeted that he has chosen his transfer destination: Northern Arizona.

Young will be able to play immediately for the Lumberjacks in 2017 as a redshirt junior. He rushed 27 times for 138 yards in two seasons at Boise State, carrying 10 times for 48 yards this past season in five games.


The first staff Boise State coach Chris Petersen put in place in the unbeaten 2006 season has continued to thrive. In addition to Petersen, who led Washington to the College Football Playoff this past season, here’s a look at where the staff is now.

Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin - head coach at Boise State

Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox - head coach at Cal

Special teams coordinator/running backs coach Jeff Choate - head coach at Montana State

Offensive line/assistant head coach Sean Kugler - head coach at UTEP

Wide receivers coach Brent Pease - offensive coordinator at UTEP

Tight ends coach Scott Huff - co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Boise State

Defensive line coach Pete Kwiatkowski - defensive coordinator at Washington

Secondary coach Marcel Yates - defensive coordinator at Arizona

Linebackers coach Viliami Tuivai - out of coaching

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