Cal Hires Offensive Guru Al Borges as New Offensive Coordinator

Jan. 4, 2001

Head coach Tom Holmoe and the Cal Football program took a giant step toward establishing national credibility on the offensive side of the ball with the announcement today that Al Borges has accepted the position of offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Cal.

Borges comes to Cal after establishing a reputation as one of the nation's premier offensive strategists while serving as offensive coordinator at four different schools the past 14 seasons.

He is well known in Pac-10 circles, having served the past five years as offensive coordinator at UCLA (1996-2000), following one season (1995) in the same capacity for Oregon. During that time, his teams have averaged 31.9 points a game, including twice averaging over 40 points a game at UCLA in 1997 (40.7 ppg) and '98 (40.5 ppg).

He seems to be the missing link for a Cal program that boosts what many consider the Pac-10's top defensive coordinator in Lyle Setencich.

Twice in the last four seasons, Borges has been named one of five finalists for the prestigious Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year Award, having been accorded that honor in both 1997 and '98.

'Having Al Borges join our football staff is a major development, a move that will have a huge impact on our program,' said head coach Tom Holmoe. 'There's a strong consensus in football circles that he is one of the best offensive coordinators in the game and I certainly agree with that assessment. He's imaginative and creative while also being fundamentally sound.

'We have a lot of tools on offense, and I believe he's the person who can put it all together for us. When I found out that he may be receptive to hearing an offer to join our staff, he immediately became my number one choice. I'm just thrilled to have him come on board.'

Borges agreed to a two-year contract that ties him to the Golden Bears through the 2002 season.

'People may be surprised at my moving to Cal, but I really believe it makes a lot of sense,' said Borges. 'Cal is a place with incredible potential and I think I can help. They have a lot of athletes, in particular on offense, who are champing at the bit to be successful. I think Kyle Boller has a chance in the right system, and with the right discipline, to be as good as anybody in the conference. The same goes with Joe Igber and the running backs. I wouldn't have made this move if I didn't think we could win at Cal right away.

'The other thing is I'm a Bay Area guy. I grew up in Salinas. I'm still a big (San Francisco) Giants and (SF) 49ers fan and I started my coaching career at Cal. In fact, the last play when I was at Cal was when we ran through the Stanford Band for the winning touchdown in the 1982 Big Game. That has to be some type of omen.

'Ultimately, I think the timing is good for me to come to Cal and I'm excited as heck to get started.'

Borges had an incredible impact at UCLA with an offense that was clearly one of the most explosive in the nation. This past season, the Bruins averaged 30.3 points a game, despite having to split time between two quarterbacks (Corey Paus and Ryan McCann) due to injuries to both players and losing standout tailback DeShaun Foster for most of two games and having him at less than full strength for most of the season.

In both 1997 and '98, UCLA was one of the most feared offenses in college football. The Bruins were third nationally in scoring offense in 1997 rolling up 40.7 points a game and ranked 13th in NCAA total offense, averaging 433.0 yards a contest. Tailback Skip Hicks set a Pac-10 record with 25 touchdowns in the regular season, helping the Bruins to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Cotton Bowl.

It was more of the same the next season, as UCLA led the Pac-10 in both total offense (482.6 ypg) and scoring (40.5 ppg). Cade McNown won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for the nation's top quarterback, while becoming the Pac-10's all-time total offense leader with 11,285 yards. Receiver Danny Farmer also set a school record with 1274 receiving yards in 1998.Borges had similar results in his one season at Oregon, helping the Ducks to a Cotton Bowl berth following the 1995 season. His offense led the Pac-10 in passing offense (263.8 ypg), while averaging 406.3 yards per game and 29.1 points per contest. Quarterback Tony Granziani led the Pac-10 in total offense and passing that year.

Borges first began to establish a reputation as an offensive strategist while working as Pokey Allen's offensive coordinator at Portland State (1986-92) and Boise State (1993-94).In 1992, his Portland State offense averaged 361.1 yards a game through the air, ranking second nationally in that category. The same year, the Vikings were fourth nationally in total offense (489.2 ypg) and seventh in scoring (36.9). Portland State was always an offensive powerhouse during his tenure there and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs five different times, playing for the national championship in 1987 and '88.

The same fireworks erupted at Boise State as he helped the Broncos to a 13-2 record in 1994, while ranking 19th nationally in total offense. Quarterback Tony Hilde ranked eighth in total offense and 16th in passing efficiency in '94.Borges actually began his college coaching career as a part-time assistant at Cal in 1982 and '83 under Joe Kapp. He then became a full-time assistant coach at Diablo Valley College from 1983-85. He also spent two seasons in 1984 and '85 as a defensive assistant with the Oakland Invaders of the USFL.

His first coaching stint came as an assistant coach at Salinas High School (1975-78) and Pleasant Valley HS (1979-80).

Born October 8, 1955, Borges is one of seven children who grew up in the Salinas area. He earned a bachelor's degree from Cal State Chico in 1981. He is married to the former Nikki Federico.


Year Team Offensive Notes2000 UCLA Averaged 30.3 ppg, led Pac-10 in passing efficiency (136.0), coached
first team All-American receiver Freddie Mitchell and first team All- Pac-10 tailback DeShaun Foster, Sun Bowl berth

1999 UCLA Averaged 20.9 ppg on an injury-plagued team that had 45 different players make at least one start during the season.

1998 UCLA Set new UCLA records in total offense (482.6), passing offense (294.5) and points scored (40.5), Cade McNown third in Heisman voting, Danny Farmer new UCLA record with 1274 receiving yards, Finished Regular season ranked No. 6 nationally, Rose Bowl berth.

1997 UCLA Third in NCAA scoring (40.7), ranked 13th nationally in total offense (433.0 ypg), Skip Hicks new Pac-10 record with 25 regular-season touchdowns, Cotton Bowl berth.

1996 UCLA Averaged 30.3 points a game, the second highest total at UCLA since the 1988 season, Skip Hicks school record 20 touchdowns.

1995 OREGON Led Pac-10 in passing offense (263.8), second in league in scoring (29.1) and total offense (406.3), QB Tony Graziani led Pac-10 in total offense (272.9) and passing (249.1), Ricky Whittle led Pac-10 in all-purpose rushing (164.0), Cotton Bowl berth.

1993-94 BOISE ST. Offense ranked 19th nationally in 1994 while leading Vandals to a 13-2 record and the Division I-AA championship game.

1986-92 PORTLAND ST. Earned Division II NCAA playoff berth five of his seven years as offensive coordinator, Averaged 361.1 passing yards and 36.9 points in 1992, Coached three All-American quarterbacks in John Charles (`92), Darren Del'Andrae ('89) and Chris Crawford ('88)

Now on Pac-12 Network
12:00 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network