Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SF Chronicle: Budget is key to game for Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour

To hone her skills as a field hockey goalie back in college, Sandy Barbour would fend off shots fired by an old tennis ball machine, hoping it would sharpen her reflexes and harden her up for the live action she'd face in upcoming games.

Those weren't soft, fuzzy tennis balls coming at her, however. They were hard, plastic field hockey balls that left their mark on Barbour, both literally and figuratively. The experience helped shape the Wake Forest University undergrad into one tough goalie, and years later, UC Berkeley's athletics director.  "They change color over the course of days," Barbour said, recalling the bruises she received in the name of the Demon Deacons 30 years ago. "It doesn't feel good. It hurts."

In her role today at Cal, a job she started in 2004, the 50-year-old Barbour is still facing shots on goal, albeit those of a metaphorical variety.  The shots are being fired by critics unhappy with the university's spending on intercollegiate sports. Her opposition is especially concerned over yearly deficits in the athletics department as well as the $153 million price tag attached to an athletic center being built adjacent to the school's ancient Memorial Stadium, itself the subject of a $321 million retrofit and renovation.  At a time of severe budget constraints, coupled with ever-rising expectations for Cal sports, such big expenditures have created a contentious atmosphere on a campus with a rich history of dissenting opinions. And Barbour finds herself in the middle, trying to run her department and serve the needs of more than 800 intercollegiate athletes while dealing with a fiscal reality that makes cutbacks inevitable.

With about $6 million in cuts set for an annual intercollegiate athletics budget of $60 million to $65 million, some coaches are nervous about the survival of their individual sports. The recent move by UC Davis to eliminate four varsity sports could be a sign of things to come at Berkeley.  "I'd hate to see us be in a position to have to do that," Barbour said. "We're known for a large and robust program. ... Can you reasonably operate 27 programs or are you better off taking what resources you have and spending them on fewer sports?"  That is the core question facing Berkeley and Barbour, but she is not in a position to make that decision herself. If cutting sports is deemed necessary by an advisory council formed by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to study "financial sustainability" in the athletics department, Barbour said only football, men's and women's basketball, and women's volleyball a requirement for membership in the Pacific 10 Conference are safe.  "If we get to the point of discussion on reduction in sports, it's all fair game," she said, reluctantly.

Uniquely qualified

Barbour is in more of a maelstrom than she ever was as a field hockey goalie. Those who know her best say she's uniquely qualified for the job. "She has a very high intellectual capacity," said Kevin White, the athletic director at Duke University who hired Barbour not once but twice in administrative capacities, at Tulane University and Notre Dame. "She can get her head around practical issues and philosophical issues as well as anyone in our profession. She can easily adjust to any environment and situation. She seems to be able to do that as well as anybody I know."  That's been a necessity at Berkeley, where shortly after taking over, Barbour watched a 20-month drama play out as activists took to the trees outside Memorial Stadium to protest the planned removal of the trees and make way for her department's most ambitious project, the student-athlete center referred to as a "high-performance" center by UC.  The high-performance center will become home to 13 of the university's 27 varsity sports, also serving as a de facto "think tank" for the development of the 21st century athlete, in mind and body.  "I certainly get frustrated when it's described as a gym or it's described as an office building," Barbour said. "It's going to house the heart and soul of elements that contribute to the ability of student-athletes to perform at a high level, which is what we're about with students on campus." The fight to start construction was indicative of Barbour's challenges.  "She does have her hands full," said Warren Hellman, a Berkeley graduate Class of '55 and philanthropist who with three partners endowed the school's Spieker Aquatics Center. "It's never easy at Cal. You never hear about Stanford professors protesting athletics. They seem to get a pass on everything that's controversial at Cal."

Eventually, a number of oak trees were removed so construction on the high-performance center could begin. According to the university, $144 million of the $153 million total is accounted for, either in private donations or facility fees to come from future football ticket sales. But that doesn't stop the criticism.

The opposition view

There is a strident group of professors on campus that believes the university's priorities are in the wrong place at a time when academics are taking a hit. They point out that while the football team stays in a nice hotel the night before home games, recent budget cuts on campus include the elimination of telephones in the offices of English department instructors. "I think sports is important," said Michael O'Hare, a professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy. "A reasonable program of competitive athletics is not a bad thing to have. I don't think we have the scale or balance right. We're talking about a $60 million company that's losing $14 million this year." One professor, who did not want his name used due to a fear of reprisals, lauded Barbour's performance as athletics director - with one caveat. "Sandy's been a breath of fresh air compared to the old regime of former AD Steve Gladstone and the people who preceded him," said this professor, with 15 years' tenure at Berkeley. "The one blemish on her record is letting the budget get away from her. It's a crisis on campus. ... The political climate on campus is not going to tolerate it."    Those unhappy with the role of athletics on campus might do well to listen to a counterpoint from Hellman, the former president of Lehman Bros. and once a director of the Nasdaq Stock Market. My investment group "has donated to Cal academics four times what we gave to Cal aquatics," Hellman said. "If it wasn't for athletics, I don't know if our level of enthusiasm for Cal would be the same."

A private person

Despite her high-profile job, Barbour is at heart a private person in a public role. Of her personal life, she said little in an interview with The Chronicle other than she is single and not currently in a relationship. "When the time is right for some sort of relationship, that will surprise me," she said. Barbour lives in the Montclair district of Oakland in a four-bedroom house built in the aftermath of the devastating Oakland hills fire of 1991. She has no intention of leaving.  "It's got a nice little view of the bay. I love it," she said. "Got great neighbors, it's proximal to school. It's a perfect situation." Born in Annapolis, Md., educated in North Carolina B.A., Wake Forest, Massachusetts master's in science of sports management at UMass and Illinois MBA, Northwestern and employed in Louisiana athletics director, Tulane and Indiana deputy athletics director, Notre Dame, she now considers her little slice of the East Bay home. "This is just such a fabulous area - for everything there is to do," she said. "I've been here six years and I'd be embarrassed to say what I haven't done. Bit by bit, over time, you have an opportunity to experience all that. You've got to make time to go to Napa ... or Stinson Beach." In her neighborhood, Barbour favors local businesses such as the Montclair Bistro, Crogan's, the Sunday farmers' market and "Starbucks sees me with some frequency," she said.  "The guys in Crogan's know who I am and are very hospitable," Barbour said. "We've got a lot of Cal alums in the area. You always run into Cal people, which is great."   Her corner office in Haas Pavilion features a number of bear icons and photos along with a conspicuous bright yellow water dish. That's for those times when Barbour's beloved black Labrador retriever, Deuce, keeps her company on the job. "She comes in when I have a short day, which is not all that often," the AD said. "It's nice to have her here. She loves the campus. She's pretty good off-leash. ... I suppose I shouldn't say that. She gets an opportunity to explore. She is a very loving dog, loves to be around people." Along with her owner, Deuce loves taking walks on campus. One of Barbour's favorites is from Sproul Plaza to the Faculty Glade. "I think it's fabulous," she said. "It's a neat pathway. It's beautiful. I love Memorial Stadium, looking west to the Bay, looking east up Strawberry Canyon." Barbour has earned the respect of the most prominent coach in her department, football's Jeff Tedford, with whom she's worked since coming to Berkeley in 2004.  "She has done a nice job of coming in here trying to figure out Berkeley, which isn't an easy thing to do," Tedford said. "I really enjoy being around her. She has a great sense of humor. She has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I don't know that I've ever caught her on a bad day when she doesn't have enthusiasm."

Goalkeeper to gatekeeper

Barbour readily admits she is where she is today because of the grounding she received from her late father, Henry, an aviator in the Navy and a Naval Academy graduate who died in 2001.  Henry Barbour took the younger of his two daughters to football games, at the Academy and in Baltimore to see the Colts of old, to teach her about the game. Sports was part of her life from an early age. When the time came for college, there was young Sandy, in goal for the field hockey team at Wake Forest. "She was a player that stood out at that time," said her former coach Caroline Price, who first dragged out the tennis ball machine and put it in front of Barbour in goal. "She was a bright kid, determined, with a good work ethic." Price said she's not surprised that her former goalie made a name for herself as an athletic director. Barbour was on that track even in goal, fending off high-speed fire. "I joke that all the credit goes to the tennis ball machine," Price recalled with a laugh.  "She stood out as serious-minded and focused," Price said. "She does have the temperament and focus, the ability to problem-solve. "There she is now, all grown up in the maelstrom there in Berkeley, trying to get all those things done."  The former goalkeeper is now gatekeeper, still taking shots.

Cal Working on Game Against Fresno State

David Bataller of the KFSN (Fresno) News Team writes

“It's been almost a decade since Fresno State and Cal have locked horns on the gridiron, a game won by the Bulldogs, 17-3, back in 2000. But according to Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, the rivalry could be renewed sooner than later.  "We're trying to work on a game actually right now for the 2011 season," said Tedford. "So hopefully that comes together. I think it would be a great game. I have great respect for the Fresno State program and with what Pat Hill's done with this program. It'd be a great game for both fans at a remote site so we're working on that right now and hopefully it comes together."  Speaking at a Cal fundraising party in central Fresno Tuesday evening, the former Bulldog quarterback said he's doing what he can to get a game scheduled between his current employers, and his beloved alma mater.  "I love the people here and it will always be near and dear to my heart being in Fresno," Tedford said. "Hopefully we can get this game together and get it done."  And Coach Tedford has the full backing of his athletic director, Sandy Barbour.  "We've been working on it for a couple years," Barbour said. "So it's something that definitely will happen. It's just what particular year that will happen and what time that remains to be seen."  Like most Red Wavers, Barbour sees plenty of positives in a Golden Bear-Bulldog matchup, either in our valley, or in the East Bay.  "I think from the standpoint of playing in the bay area," said Barbour, "we know that they will travel and bring fans to the area. And I think it would be a great college football game." And that's music to Bulldog fans' ears.”

Note to Cal Fans: Don’t wear shirts that say “My Maid Went to Fresno State.”  That really pissed off the Bull Dogs back in 1992 against USC.

Contra Costa Times: Mitty quarterback Kyle Brohm commits to Cal

Jonathan Okanes


In another example of coach Jeff Tedford's ability to secure top-level quarterback recruits, Cal received an oral commitment from Archbishop Mitty High junior Kyle Boehm on Tuesday.  Boehm, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, is rated by as the No. 20 quarterback prospect in the country for the 2011 recruiting class. His commitment to Cal cannot become binding until national letter of intent day next February. Despite leading a run-first offense, Boehm is considered a pro-style prospect. Last season, he threw for 936 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 877 yards and 14 scores.  Boehm had several offers from major schools, including Pac-10 rivals Washington, Oregon State and Arizona State.

Tedford has brought in at least one highly rated quarterback prospect in each of his past seven recruiting classes. Including incoming freshman Austin Hinder, the Bears' roster features five quarterbacks, four of whom were chosen as Elite 11 prospects, considered the best quarterback recruits in the country. The other, Beau Sweeney, also received several offers from major college powers.  Boehm will come to Cal after the departure of returning starter Kevin Riley but will face competition from Sweeney, Brock Mansion, Allan Bridgford and Hinder. Boehm is a former high school teammate of Cal starting tight end Anthony Miller.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lane Kiffin Makes $4 Million a Year at USC

…and his dad makes around $2 million as his assistant.


Read the article here.

Orange County Register: Pac-10 Spring Wrap Up: California

With spring practices wrapped up around the Pac-10, the Register is taking a look at how the spring went at each of the conference’s schools. Today we take a look at perhaps the Pac-10’s most enigmatic team in recent years, California.


COACH: Jeff Tedford, ninth season, 67-35 overall, 41-27 Pac-10 at WSU.

RETURNING STARTERS: Offense (9), OL Justin Cheadle, Jr.,6-2, 299; OL Chris Guarnero, Sr., 6-2, 281;WR Marvin Jones, Jr., 6-2, 197;TE Anthony Miller, Jr., 6-3, 263; QB Kevin Riley, Sr., 6-2, 223; WR Jeremy Ross,Sr., 5-11, 213; OL Mitchell Schwartz, Jr, 6-6, 331; OL Matt Summers-Gavin, So., 6-4, 290; TB Shane Vereen, Jr., 5-10, 199. Defense (7), DB Sean Cattouse, Jr., 6-2, 208; DB Darian Hagan, Sr., 6-0, 188; DL Derrick Hill, Sr., 6-2, 306; DB Josh Hill, So., 5-11, 197; LB D.J. Holt, Jr., 6-1, 250;

DL Cameron Jordan, Sr., 6-4, 282; LB Mychal Kendricks, Jr., 6-0, 235; LB Mike Mohamed, Sr., 6-3, 238; DB Bryant Nnabuife, Sr., 6-1, 192.

Link to rest of article.


Monday, May 10, 2010

SF Gate: Cal football to temp at AT&T Park

In a three-park race, AT&T was an easy winner over Candlestick and the Oakland Coliseum when it came time for California to find a football home for 2011, while aging Memorial Stadium is being retrofitted and renovated to 21st century standards.  The university reached an agreement with the Giants to play six home games at China Basin next year, deciding the baseball park fit its football needs for a one-year hiatus from Berkeley.  "Overall, AT&T offers us the best facility to meet the needs of our football program, students and fans," athletic director Sandy Barbour said Monday in a news conference on the field at the park. "AT&T provides a perfect bridge for Cal football to the 2012 season, when we return to Memorial Stadium. It provides easy access for our East Bay fans. It has a staff used to hosting college football."

Candlestick and the Coliseum were considered, Barbour said, but had more negatives than positives. Candlestick is the farthest facility from Berkeley and does not have convenient public transportation. The Coliseum provided the scheduling complication of two permanent tenants, the A's and Raiders.  "We've been talking about this for several years," Barbour said. "As it became clear we were going to need to be out (of Memorial Stadium) for a year, we started talking, Larry (Baer) and I, about what coming to AT&T would look like. It came together relatively quickly." Like Barbour, Giants president Baer said Cal's playing at AT&T in 2011 would serve as a bridge for the team and its fans.

"We feel we'd be the best park to provide that bridge to the new stadium," said Baer, a Cal graduate. "As a neighborly act, we think this makes sense for both partners."  The Bears will play six home games in AT&T in 2011: against Oregon State on Sept. 24, Washington State on Oct. 15, Arizona on Oct. 29 and USC on Nov. 12, with two dates yet to be filled.  The university will pay rent to the Giants for the home games. Financial details of the arrangement were not available because a contract between the school and the club has not yet been signed.

The only potential complication is if the Giants reach the postseason in 2011 and have an extended playoff run. That would necessitate another alternative playing site for the Bears.  "There's a possibility in October that we may have to lose a (Cal football) game or two if the Giants qualify for the postseason," Baer said. "We will play up to six games of Cal football here in 2011."  Cal will take a hit on attendance as the China Basin ballpark seats 45,000 for football compared with 71,000 at Memorial Stadium, but the game-day experience for players and fans could be enhanced by a more intimate setting, school officials said.  Bears coach Jeff Tedford was enthused about the one-year foray to AT&T, based on the positive experience the Bears had playing there in the 2008 Emerald Bowl, a 24-17 victory over Miami.  "I'm very, very happy about coming to a place that's so familiar to us," Tedford said. "It felt like home. Such a classy place. I think our kids are going to get jacked up about playing here."

Tedford said the only negative about the bowl game was having both teams on the same side of the field. That won't be the case in 2011, as teams will be on opposite sidelines of a football field stretching from the first baseline to left-center field.

Barbour said Cal's 38,000 season ticket holders will be accommodated at AT&T, although the exact seating arrangements have yet to be made. Barbour said fans who purchased tickets in the school's Endowment Seating Program for Memorial Stadium will have access to the best seats at AT&T, including chair-back seats on the park's west side.

AT&T has been the site of a postseason college football bowl - formerly the Emerald Bowl, now known as Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - since 2003 and has hosted games in two pro football leagues, the now-defunct XFL and the UFL.

Press Conference Highlights

There’s a possibility in October that Cal will lose “a game or two” in October 2011 if the Giants make the post season.  Cal will play at least 6 games at AT&T Park.

The park will hold only 45,000 fans.

Transforming the field to a football field can be done in 24 hours (based on their experience with the XFL).

Cal chose AT&T Park over Candlestick and the Coliseum because AT&T Park has the proximity, ease of transportation, and “fabulous amenities,” making it the clear choice.

The major change from the Emerald Bowl will be that the teams will NOT share sidelines.  Some bleachers will be added.  There will be more space between the end zone and the wall.

Even though there will be much fewer seats, the 45,000 will accommodate current season ticket holders.  Visiting team allotments will be significantly reduced, as will special promotions.

Tedford has no concerns about the locker room situation (it was designed for a baseball team). When they played in the Emerald Bowl it did not feel cramped.

Cal has been working with all three venues for the last 3 or 4 months.

Cal Football to Play 2011 Home Season at San Francisco's AT&T Park

Golden Bears will play 2011 home games at AT&T during the Memorial Stadium retrofit and renovation

While California Memorial Stadium is undergoing its long-awaited retrofit and renovation, Cal Athletics and the San Francisco Giants jointly announced Monday that they have reached an agreement for the Golden Bears to play their 2011 home football season at San Francisco's AT&T Park.

Cal will spend the upcoming 2010 football season in Memorial Stadium before major construction begins after the team's final home game, and the Bears will return to campus for the 2012 campaign. Cal's 2011 schedule is not yet complete and will be released at a later date. A collaborative effort will be made with the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball to accommodate both teams' playing requirements during September and October.

"We are thrilled to be playing our 2011 home games at AT&T Park," Cal football coach Jeff Tedford said. "The facility is one of the finest sports venues in the world and is located in a nearby and desirable location in San Francisco. It is a terrific setting for college football and our team and fans had a fantastic experience there during the 2008 Emerald Bowl victory against the University of Miami. We look forward to our fans helping us create a tremendous home field advantage at AT&T Park in 2011 while enjoying amenities on par with what the renovated Memorial Stadium will feature when we return in 2012."

Many members of the Cal team and staff already have familiarity with San Francisco's AT&T Park, as the Bears defeated Miami (Fla.), 24-17, in the 2008 Emerald Bowl to complete a 9-4 campaign. AT&T Park has been the site for the bowl game - now called the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - since 2003, and the facility has also hosted professional football games in the XFL and UFL, as well as the East-West Shrine Game.

"I am excited to say that we will play our 2011 football games at AT&T Park, one of our country's premier athletic venues," Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. "While our own Memorial Stadium is undergoing much-needed improvements, I believe we have selected the best possible location to support the needs of our players, coaches and fans. Both Cal Athletics and the staff at AT&T Park are committed to work together to make the stadium feel like a true home away from home for the Golden Bears."

Although the Bears and their fans will be at a different location for one season, AT&T Park will provide a host of modern amenities to enjoy, much of it similar to what they will have in the renovated Memorial Stadium. In addition, one of the primary advantages of AT&T Park is its proximity to public transportation, an important factor for Cal's fans in the East Bay. Cal Athletics will also provide bus service for Cal students to attend games to help ensure their continued support for the Bears.

Sideline bleachers will be added in the baseball outfield and an adjusted field alignment will allow for team benches to be on opposite sides of the field (as opposed to the bowl games when both teams were on the same side of the field). Capacity for Cal football games at AT&T Park will be just over 45,000.

"The Giants are honored to welcome Cal football to AT&T Park for the Bears' 2011 season," said Larry Baer, Giants president and chief operating officer. "The opportunity to have two of the Bay Area's most storied institutions share the same playing field is really exciting and will provide a unique experience for both Giants and Cal fans."

The $321 million retrofit and renovation of Memorial Stadium will create a restored facility that will address existing seismic safety issues, modernize gameday facilities and services, and upgrade access for the disabled. Preliminary construction activities will begin this summer, which will include moving the football office and athletic training and weight training facilities to temporary quarters adjacent to Witter Rugby Field. Funding for the interest and principal payments associated with construction financing for the stadium will come out of the Intercollegiate Athletics operating budget, which will be enhanced by revenues generated from and returns on the investment of proceeds from Endowment Seating Program (ESP) sales, future philanthropic contributions to the project as well as revenue generated by new sponsorship opportunities.

ESP makes available long-term rights to approximately 3,000 seats in Memorial Stadium (less than 5 percent of total capacity) and will create an endowment that will provide long-term stability for the Athletic Department's budget while funding the annual operating needs for Cal's more than 800 student-athletes. To date, donors have made commitments for nearly 1,700 of the ESP seats.

Cal season-ticket holders can take advantage of securing the best seats in AT&T Park by participating in ESP. Fans who sign up by June 30 will be guaranteed chairback seats on the west side of AT&T Park and, as a special offer, receive complimentary bowl tickets, should the Bears earn a berth, for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. For more information, visit or call (510) 642-2427.

Since opening its gates in 2000, AT&T Park has become internationally-renowned as a premier venue in the world of both sports and entertainment. AT&T Park was chosen as the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily as part of the inaugural Sports Business Awards program. More than 32 million spectators have watched baseball games at the stadium over the past 10 years, highlighted by the Giants appearance in the 2002 World Series and the 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2007. AT&T Park has also played host to some of music's biggest acts, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, and Green Day.

Cal Bears to Play 2011 Season at AT&T Park

Cal just announced that they will play the 2011 season at the Giants’ stadium.

"Major Announcement" from Cal Football today at 10 a.m.

The Cal football website states that Cal will make a major announcement regarding the 2011 football season during a press conference on Monday, May 10. The event begins at 10 a.m. PT, and will be streamed live on

California Golden Bear 2010 Football Schedule


Sept. 4 UC Davis Berkeley, CA TBA

Sept. 11 Colorado Berkeley, CA TBA

Sept. 17 at Nevada (ESPN2) Reno, NV 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 at Arizona Tucson, AZ TBA

Oct. 9 UCLA Berkeley, CA TBA

Oct. 16 at USC Los Angeles, CA TBA

Oct. 23 Arizona State Berkeley, CA TBA

Oct. 30 at Oregon State Corvallis, OR TBA

Nov. 6 at Washington State Pullman, WA TBA

Nov. 13 Oregon Berkeley, CA TBA

Nov. 20 Stanford Berkeley, CA TBA

Nov. 27 Washington Berkeley, CA TBA

ESPN: California Spring Wrap Up