No one could see it coming, not even UC Davis’ head football coach Bob Biggs himself. Heading into his 20th year as the head coach, Biggs is ranked second all-time in UC Davis history with a 140-78-1 record trailing only his mentor Jim Sochor.
When asked if he ever knew if he wanted to coach he replied, “No, I thought I was going to law school; I took the LSAT. Although I didn’t apply to any schools because I was playing pro ball in Canada, I thought that was what I was going to do.”
Fast forward over 40 years later, including his time at UC Davis as a quarterback and assistant coach, Biggs announced that he would step down from his position as head coach after this year.
“Last year I was disappointed and down at end of season and the first thing you do is look yourself in mirror and ask am I doing the best job that I can be doing preparing this team and making sure we do all the right things,” he said. “After taking a good look in the mirror I thought I did, but I didn’t want last year to be my last year.”
Biggs started his coaching tenure when he was offered a coaching position with the freshman team by his coach, Jim Sochor.
“One of my best friends, an old teammate of mine, a guy named Mike Bellotti, who went on to coach at Oregon, was coaching the freshman team, so the two of us ended up coaching the freshman team together that year,” Biggs said. “Then I started working for the department of water resources and then a position came open as the head men’s tennis coach and assistant football coach.”
While Biggs was assistant football coach he also led the tennis team to five NCAA Division II championships. Biggs’ success on the football field, as a player and a coach, was more publicized. During his senior year as the quarterback for the Aggies, Biggs averaged 272.8 yards per game in total offense and was the leading passer in the nation at the Division II level. That year he became the first player in Aggie history to throw for over 2,000 yards in a season.
Biggs also coached some well known quarterbacks himself during his tenure, sending four of his signal callers into the professional ranks. Mark Grieb, Khari Jones, Kevin Daft and J.T. O’Sullivan all went on to professional careers after their tutelage with Biggs.
Players today still appreciate coach Biggs for the legend he has become in Davis football and what he has done for the program.
“He knows what he is doing,” said senior safety Kevyn Lewis. “The easiest thing to do is when you have a leader who knows what he is doing and you can just hop on his coattail.”
It also provides more motivation for the players to send their coach out as a winner this year.
“Coach Biggs is the guy that gave us a chance. He’s the guy who allowed us to go to school, play ball and live a dream. So this is my last chance and his last chance too so I want to make sure he comes out of football on a good note,” said senior Ray Wilburn.
“We’re just not playing for ourselves, we’re playing for a person and this is how he is going to remember his last year. This is what he is going to hold on to last and we have a part in deciding how that feels for him,” Lewis said.
When asked what he would miss most about coaching football, Biggs said it was the team itself.
“Unquestionably, the players and relationships and just feeling you’re having some impact on some people’s lives and trying to find ways to help them complete their goals both personally and as a football player,” he said.
JASON MIN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.