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Sad Day To Be A Bear

Sep 4, 2020
Bud "Dog" Turner worked for the Cal football program for 50 years. He passed away Thursday at age 84.

Dog Turner Tribute

Anyone who had the good fortune of crossing paths with Bud "Dog" Turner while entering the North Tunnel at California Memorial Stadium undoubtedly was graced with a fist-bump and his usual greeting, "It's a great day to be a Bear."

Friday was a sad day to be a Bear.

Turner, who worked with Cal's football program in a variety of roles for 50 years, passed away Thursday night at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek due to heart failure. He was 84.

"I literally don't know many people alive that remember Cal football before Dog," said Cal Assistant Athletic Director for Football Administration Andrew McGraw, who has worked on Cal's football staff for 22 years. "If you calculate the hours he's given to the program, it's incredible. Over the course of 50 years, if you could find anybody who has had a negative interaction with Dog, it would be shocking."

Dog Turner welcomed Cal
players to practice at
Memorial Stadium 

Turner began working for the Cal football program in 1970 when a neighbor in nearby Lafayette asked if he could help work the field phones for the public address announcer at a Cal home game. He never left.

Turner eventually worked in the equipment room and then with the program's operations staff. But he will always be most known for his interaction with people.

Simply put, anyone even loosely connected to Cal football knew Dog. And Dog knew them.

"Dog embodies the spirit of the Cal fan," said former Cal quarterback J Torchio, who played at Cal from 1980-83 and spoke to Turner by phone Thursday morning. "Everyone that touched him became more positive about being a Cal fan than they already were. You couldn't be around the man without knowing the kind of exuberance he had for Cal. He's part of the culture. I don't think there will be another Dog like that."

Dog Turner celebrates with Tully Banta-Cain
after winning The Axe in 2002

Turner worked the field phones at Cal home games for three years but started taking a more involved role with the program when Mike White was hired as head coach in 1972. Turner and White were classmates at Acalanes High School in Lafayette.

Turner soon became an indispensable, jack-of-all-trades member of the program.

"Dog Turner was a part of Cal football for longer than many of us have been alive," Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said. "He was such a kind and genuine person, and I will miss the welcoming smile he gave to everyone who entered California Memorial Stadium. It's really hard to imagine going to lunch and not seeing him in the football offices, heading to practice and not getting a fist bump from him, or entering the locker room after a game and not seeing him standing there beaming with pride for his team.

"Dog always said, 'It's a great day to be a Bear.' Indeed it is, Dog, just not as great today. We'll miss you, pal, but we'll always remember you and love you. Go Bears."

Operations assistant Norman Mo began working with the Cal football program as a student in 2002 and has been part of the team ever since. Turner took Mo under his wing, serving as a father figure and friend. Mo said he spoke with Turner every day for the past month while he was in the hospital, including Thursday before he passed.

Dog Turner greets Patrick Laird in 2018

"We'd go out to lunch and he wouldn't tolerate anybody talking negatively about the program," Mo said. "We'd be grabbing lunch or dinner and he'd hear a student talking about how bad the game was, and he would turn around and tell the kid he had no idea what those kids and the people inside that building go through every single day. Sometimes, he'd invite them to come see it for themselves, to come check us out. That's how he got people going through the North Tunnel to sit in the stands and watch practice."

Turner passed peacefully Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. with his wife of 55 years, Joan, by his side. Funeral services are pending.