January 13, 2014

Tandy first full-time football/rugby dual sporter in more than a decade

It's been more than decade.

Cal rugby head coach Jack Clark can hardly believe it.

"There was a time when guys with four Super Bowl rings on their hand were Cal rugby guys," Clark says.

Since Cal's rugby program was founded in 1882, former Golden Bears have contributed 95 years of service to the NFL on 15 different teams as both players and coaches. They've earned seven Super Bowl rings in nine trips, four All-Pro selections, three Pro Bowl nods, and two team captaincies.

Clark says 20ish of his teammates played both football and rugby for Cal in the '70s, including the Golden Bears' rugby patriarch of the last 30 odd years.

Up until the late 1990s, it was woven into the Cal athletic culture like a block C into a Varsity jacket.

"There was a long tradition of iconic football players on this campus, the best of our football players, playing rugby as a second sport."

There was a long tradition.

"I don't think Jeff was too keen on it," Clark said of former Cal football coach Jeff Tedford.

In fact, if you throw out the post-football career rugby converts like Garrett Cross and J.P. Hurrell, no Cal athlete has played the pair simultaneously -- in true two-sport fashion -- in a decade plus.

Enter Edward Tandy.

The 3-star Tustin High linebacker will become the first in forever come Saturday when the Cal rugby team opens its 2014 15s campaign in the All-Cal Tournament at UCLA.

Edward Tandy doesn't walk into rooms.

He lumbers into them.

With tree trunks for legs and shoulders as broad as his athletic ambitions.

"I feel like, honestly, in my mind, I'm only young once," Tandy says, filling out all of his Doc Hudson Fieldhouse chair on a wind-whipped Monday morning in the Strawberry Canyon. "I don't want to pass through college and regret not playing rugby here. I'm only going to be able to do things like this for so long before my body starts to wear down, so I might as well take advantage of it now, and live in the memories later."

One of those memories? Jack Clark's first word to the 6'1", 220-pounder.


Clark stopped Tandy in the weight room (midway through "his little cycling exercises"), and asked him if he'd like to play rugby as a Golden Bear.

"I mean it's Jack Clark inviting me to play. I'm not going to say no. So that's how that all kind of happened."

Well, almost.

That was way back in the summer of 2013, and it was followed by two requests to his current head coach, Sonny Dykes...

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