Eric Kiesau has been named the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach at Cal, head coach Jeff Tedford announced on Friday. Kiesau was previously the Bears' wide receivers coach for four seasons (2002-05) before spending the past five campaigns (2006-10) on the Colorado coaching staff.
"We're excited to have Eric rejoin the Cal football family," Tedford said in a statement on Friday. "He did a tremendous job in all aspects of coaching our wide receivers during his first stint at Cal, and he understands what we expect of both our coaches and players. Eric has a strong work ethic, and is an excellent teacher of the wide receiver position and all aspects of the game of football."
Rumors had flow earlier this week that the former Buffs offensive coordinator under fired head coach Dan Hawkins had been interested in the wide receivers job at Boise State, but instead, Kiesau decided to return to Berkeley.
"I feel fortunate to be able to return to a place that provided some of my fondest football memories," said Kiesau. "I am committed to helping Cal consistently remain one of the nation's top football programs on the field, in the classroom and in the community."
The Bears compiled a 33-17 overall record, posted four consecutive winning seasons and won three bowl games while Kiesau coached wide receivers during his four previous seasons in Strawberry Canyon.
Cal's receiving core consistently put up strong numbers in a passing game during that time and for two of those seasons (2003-04) provided reliable targets for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is now one of the top QBsin the NFL.
In 2003-Kiesau's second season at Cal-the Bears broke a school record with 278 catches, averaging 264.6 passing yards per game to rank fourth in school history.
Cal receiver Geoff McArthur-who was another possibility for the vacant wideouts coaching slot-earned second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 honors as the nation's second-leading pass catcher under Kiesau in 2003, tallying 115.69 receiving yards per game.
McArthur set a pair of school records that still stand today during that season, breaking the team's all-time mark for receiving yards in a single season (1,504) on 85 catches (17.7 ypc) and establishing a single-game record with 16 catches for 245 yards in the Big Game at Stanford. The 85 catches in a season and 245 yards receiving in a game are both second on their respective all-time Cal lists, while his 10 touchdown receptions during the same season are tied for third.
The Bears passing game-which will likely feature Buffalo transfer Zach Maynard and redshirt freshman Austin Hinder under center in 2010-was at its strongest under Kiesau.
In the seasons both prior to and following the school-record campaign, with per-game passing averages of 247.6 yards in 2002 and 235.7 yards in 2004. McArthur also posted strong 2002 and 2004 seasons, and finished his collegiate career after the 2004 campaign as Cal's all-time leader in both receptions (202) and receiving yards (3,188), with both marks remaining school records today. McArthur's career average of 17.7 yards per catch is also the best among all Cal receivers on the school's career top-10 list for receptions.
Kiesau was also Cal's wide receivers coach in 2005 during DeSean Jackson's first season with the Bears when the future NFL All-Pro and Pro Bowler set the school's true freshman record for both receptions (38) and receiving yards (601), with the latter still standing. Jackson also picked up the mark for the most receiving yards in a game by a true freshman at Cal when he totaled 130 at New Mexico State, a record that stood until Keenan Allen broke the mark in 2010. Kiesau also tutored a pair of young receivers in Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan in 2005 that along with Jackson formed the core of a solid Cal receiving group that would lead the Bears through the end of their collegiate careers in 2007.
Prior to his arrival at Cal, Kiesau served as Colorado's passing game coordinator and receivers coach for three seasons (2006-08) before being promoted to offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, and working with the quarterbacks during his final two campaigns in Boulder (2009-10).
At Colorado, Kiesau was largely responsible for the development of receiver Scotty McKnight from a walk-on as a true freshman in 2006 to the top receiver in school history by the time he finished his collegiate career in 2010. McKnight's final receiving numbers for the Buffs were 219 catches for 2,588 yards with 22 touchdown grabs - all school records. He also caught at least one pass in all 49 of the collegiate games he played in from 2007-10, earning him another school record and giving him the longest string of consecutive games played with a catch among all NCAA players active during the 2010 season. In addition, he was the only player in the history of Colorado football to lead his team in receptions for four consecutive campaigns.
Kiesau's first full-time coaching position came in 2000 when he began a two-year stint as the running backs and receivers coach at Utah State. He tutored third-team All-American Emmitt White, who led the nation in all-purpose yards and ranked 13th nationally in rushing in 2000. In his second season at USU in 2001, he coached wide receiver Kevin Curtis to an All-American season in which he led the nation with 100 receptions while ranking third in receiving yards per game (139.2).
Kiesau earned his bachelor's degree in business communications from Portland State in 1996, where he lettered at quarterback and was his school's starter at the position during his 1995 senior campaign. He was also an All-American junior college quarterback at Glendale Community College as a sophomore in 1992.
Upon graduation from PSU, Kiesau worked the better part of five years in private business, for Corporate America in Portland, and then Eclipse Specialties, Inc. in North Hollywood. He began his collegiate coaching career at his junior college alma mater in 1998 and had a brief stint as the teamwork coordinator at Oregon in the winter and spring of 2000, before moving on to Utah State.
Kiesau graduated in 1991 from Glendale High School, where he lettered in football and baseball. He is married to the former Wendy Kanan. The couple has two children - daughter, Tayler (13) and son, Blake (7).
BearTerritory will be speaking with Kiesau soon for a full rundown of exactly how this all came to be, and just what his duties will be as the new passing game coordinator.