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January 18, 2012
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As of 7:30 PM, a source close to the program has confirmed to BearTerritory that the California football team has replaced former wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Eric Kiesau with 10-year NFL veteran Wes Chandler.
Chandler, taken in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft out of Florida, played for the New Orleans Saints from 1978-1981, the San Diego Chargers from 1981-1987 and the San Francisco 49ers in 1988. He was named a first-team All-American for the Gators in 1976 and 1977, as well as first-team All-SEC. He was named an Academic All-American in 1977.
A member of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame - as well as the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame - Chandler compiled 559 catches for 8,966 yards and 67 touchdowns, en route to being named to the Pro Bowl in 1979, 1982, 1983 and 1985, as well as an All-Pro in 1979 and 1982.
After retirement, Chandler worked his way up the coaching ranks and took his first NFL job with the Dallas Cowboys in 2000. He spent two years in Dallas before coaching wide receivers for the Minnesota Vikings in 2005 and the Cleveland Browns from 2007-2008, before serving as the offensive coordinator of the UFL's New York Sentinels in 2009.
His ability to coach receivers -- and perform the same tasks that Kiesau did as one of a three-headed-monster offensive coordinator play-calling conglomerate -- make him a big get for the Bears. He is currently coaching alongside another candidate for the position -- Charlie Collins -- at Football University (FBU).
RELEASE from Cal Athletics at 9:30 PM:
BERKELEY - Former NFL standout Wes Chandler has been named wide receivers coach at California, Golden Bear head coach Jeff Tedford announced Wednesday. Chandler has spent 26 years in professional football, including stints as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings.
"I'm very excited to announce the hiring of Wes Chandler," Tedford said. "Wes is a quality person who brings all of the things to the table that Cal stands for. He's a great football coach who is an outstanding technician. Just as importantly, he cares about the kids off the field and will be able to help them reach their full potential in all areas of their life. It's a great day for our program, and we're really happy to have him as part of our staff."
"I'm excited about this opportunity at Cal," Chandler said. "It starts at the top and coach Tedford and I share a lot of the same sentiments regarding what the game of football is all about. It's more than just football, it's also about the players and their well-being in the classroom and off the football field. It's about teaching them basic fundamentals so they will be able to maximize their potential when they walk on the field, making them students of the game. We share that goal so it was a perfect marriage for me."
Chandler was the wide receivers coach with the Cleveland Browns for two seasons from 2007-08. In his first campaign, the Browns posted a six-game turnaround and recorded a 10-6 record but failed to make the playoffs, losing a head-to-head tiebreaker with AFC North champion Pittsburgh.
During his one season in Minnesota in 2005, the Vikings finished 9-7 and were second in the NFL North. He spent three campaigns in Dallas from 2000-02. Chandler's first coaching position in the professional ranks was a two-year tenure as the offensive coordinator with the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football (1991-92).
With the WLAF morphing into NFL Europe, Chandler coached for two seasons at Central Florida (1993-94) before NFL Europe began in the spring of 1995. Chandler rejoined the league overseas and was the offensive coordinator for five seasons with the Rhein Fire, before one year as the offensive coordinator with the Frankfurt Galaxy and one as the head coach of the Berlin Thunder.
Chandler's coaching career began with three seasons (1988-90) at Father Lopez High School in Daytona Beach, Fla., serving the first campaign as the offensive coordinator and his final two years as head coach and athletic director.
Chandler has also spent time running personal businesses and been a staff member for Football University, a premier educational camp for an elite class of football players. In 11 seasons as an NFL player with the New Orleans Saints (1978-81), San Diego Chargers (1981-87) and San Francisco 49ers (1988), he registered 559 receptions for 8,966 yards and 56 touchdowns. Chandler was named to four Pro Bowl teams, once selected an All-Pro, and inducted into the Chargers' Hall of Fame in 2001.
Chandler was the third overall pick out of Florida in the 1978 NFL Draft by New Orleans and was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his second season in the league with 65 receptions, 1,069 yards receiving and six touchdown catches. After being traded to San Diego during the 1981 season, Chandler would come back the following year and lead the NFL in receiving yards (1,032) and receiving touchdowns (9) during the strike-shortened 1982 campaign for an NFL record 129.0 yards receiving per game. He would have one more 1,000-yard receiving season in 1985 with the Chargers when he posted career-high totals of 67 catches and 1,199 yards receiving. Chandler retired as a professional player after one season with the 49ers in 1988.
Chandler caught 92 passes for 1,963 yards and 22 touchdowns collegiately in a run-oriented offense Florida, while adding another six scores on rushes and kick returns. Chandler earned All-America honors in both 1976 and '77.
More from BearTerritory.net on the status of the recruiting class and coaching staff shake-ups: