Cal shows faith in Wilcox with new contract, raise
It took Cal coach Justin Wilcox only two seasons to earn a new contract and a 50 percent hike in pay.
The university announced Thursday that Wilcox has agreed to a fiveyear deal that replaces his existing agreement and will keep Wilcox under contract through the 2023 season.
The Bears went 7- 5 this season, beat No. 15 Washington and ended a 14-game losing streak against USC. Led by a defense that ranks 16th in the country in fewest yards allowed per game, the Bears will play TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 26 in Phoenix. It’s Cal’s first postseason appearance since 2015.
“We are seeing tremendous momentum and increased support and engagement among our faculty, alumni, students and fans,” athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a news release. “With the trajectory of the program, we believe it is important to show a continuing and strengthened commitment to Justin and his staff by providing additional resources. The results of his two years have generated incredible excitement, and we are enthusiastic about the future.”
Wilcox was set to earn an average of $2 million over the course of the five-year contract he signed upon taking the job in the winter of 2017. The new deal pays him an average of $ 3.25 million, according to a source, slotting Wilcox in the middle tier of Pac-12 coaches.
The deal features an increase of approximately $600,000 for the compensation pool for coordinators and assistants. — John Wilner
WORLD CUP WARMUP AT LEVI’S » The top- ranked U.S. women’s soccer team is returning to the Bay Area ahead of another World Cup run.
The Americans will play host to South Africa on May 12 at Levi’s Stadium as part of the buildup to the Wom- en’s World Cup in France, U. S. Soccer announced. Tickets for the game are scheduled to go on sale to the public Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. through ussoccer.com.
The defending champion U.S. team has scheduled 10 games next year ahead of the World Cup, June 7 to July 7.
“This schedule checks a lot of important boxes in our preparation for the World Cup,” coach Jill Ellis said. “We’ll get to experience a variety of teams in regard to their strengths and styles of play and almost all of the countries will be in their World Cup preparation as well.”
Four years ago, the Americans defeated Ireland 3-0 at Avaya Stadium in a tuneup before heading to Canada, where they won their World Cup title. The U. S. women have played four friendlies in the South Bay since the Earthquakes opened Avaya Stadium in 2015.
But this will be the team’s first appearance at 68,500seat Levi’s, one of the stadiums being considered to have a role in the 2026 men’s World Cup.
The Americans are led by former collegiate stars Julie Ertz of Santa Clara, Alex Morgan of Cal and Christian Press, Kelley O’Hara and Andi Sullivan of Stanford. — Elliott Almond
SPARTANS END SKID » San Jose State ended a six-game losing streak by beating Bethune- Cookman 67- 65 at the Event Center. Michael Steadman led the Spartans (2- 6) with 15 points and 13 rebounds. He made a layup with 43 seconds left to give the Spartans a 66- 65 lead. ARIZONA RALLIES FOR WIN » Freshman guard Brandon Williams had his first career double- double and Brandon Randolph scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half when Arizona (7-2) extended its nonconference home winning streak to 52 games with an 80- 69 victory over Utah Valley (6- 4) at McKale Center in Tucson. NO. 23 MARYLAND FALLS » Carsen Edwards scored 20 points and Aaron Wheeler had a season-high 15 to help Purdue (6- 3, 1-1 Big Ten) beat Maryland (7-2, 1-1) in West Lafayette, Ind.
WILLIAMS, OWENS PART OF FFL » Ricky Williams is among 50 former NFL players planning yet another professional football league, the Freedom Football League.
Williams said a 10-team league that also includes Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens and approximately 100 stakeholders will be launched as a spring league. The Alliance of American Football, cofounded by Hall of Famer Bill Polian, starts up in February. The XFL will return the following February.
The FFL, which did not specify what year it would begin play, would be financed by private funding and public offerings, with league players, local franchise operators and fans offered stakes in the teams.
Avoiding some major markets, the FFL plans to have clubs in Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis, Birmingham (Ala.), Oklahoma City, Portland (Ore.), plus in Texas, Florida, Ohio and Connecticut.
EOVALDI STAYS WITH BOSTON » Nathan Eovaldi is staying with the Boston Red Sox, agreeing to a $68 million, four-year contract.
A right-hander who has had a pair of Tommy John surgeries, Eovaldi, 29, was acquired by Boston from Tampa Bay on July 25. He went 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA down the stretch.
In six postseason appearances, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA and a .185 opponent’s batting average. AROUND THE MAJORS » The Indians and Carlos Carrasco agreed to a $47 million, four-year contract, a deal that could keep him in Cleveland through the 2023 season. ... Cubs closer Brandon Morrow likely will miss the start of the season following arthroscopic surgery on his elbow last month. ... Second baseman Jonathan Schoop and the Twins agreed to a $7.5 million, one-year contract. ... The Braves hired pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who served in the same role for NL East rival Philadelphia last season.
FOUR- TIME CHAMPION CLEARED » Iditarod officials have cleared a four-time champion of any wrongdoing in a dog- doping scandal that followed the sled dog race last year. Officials for the 1,000-mile race issued a statement this week absolving musher Dallas Seavey of any involvement in the drugging of his dogs, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Cal coach Justin Wilcox, who received a new five-year deal Thursday, will guide the Bears into the Cheez-It Bowl.