From resurrecting a program to falling short of expectations, from overcoming tree-sitters and lawsuits to suffering his first losing season -- the highs and lows of his 10-year career at Cal put Jeff Tedford over the emotional threshold Saturday.
Ten minutes after Tedford became Cal's all-time winningest football coach with a 63-12 thrashing of Presbyterian College at AT&T Park, his voice cracked, and his eyes welled up as he reflected on his tenure in Berkeley.
"It's very nice," Tedford said before pausing for eight seconds to regain his composure. "It has a lot to do with all the players and coaches over the last nine years and three games. That's who really deserves the credit, all the players who have played the game."
Saturday's win gives Tedford a career record of 75-42. The Sept. 10 win at Colorado moved him into a tie with Andy Smith, who had a record of 74-16-7 coaching Cal's "Wonder Years" teams from 1916-1925.
As Saturday's final seconds ticked down, Cal's Sean Cattouse, Anthony Miller, Ernest Owusu and Bryan Anger tried to corral Tedford for the obligatory ice bath. He got away momentarily but was ultimately drenched. Tedford was then presented with a framed jersey with the number 75 on it and he had his picture taken with athletic director Sandy Barbour. He then sought out his wife, Donna, and received a hug from his younger son, Quinn, who is a Cal wide receiver and just happened to record his first career catch
Besides committing 10 penalties for 94 yards and having a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown, the only other real negative for the Bears was the smallish turnout of 33,952 for Cal's season debut at its new home away from home. Cal is playing its home games at AT&T Park this season while Memorial Stadium is being redone.
"It was odd, to tell you the truth," Tedford said. "I hope next time we come here, it's a little more of a home-field advantage because it was very quiet out there. It felt dead out there today to tell you the truth. I hope we're able to fill it up and create a buzz in there and put some pressure on the opponent with a home-field advantage."
Tedford spent the week downplaying the significance of becoming Cal's all-time win leader, but it was evident by his reaction Saturday that it meant a lot more to him than he had been letting on.
"We were all proud to be a part of it," Cattouse said. "I saw that he was trying to keep composed on the field and everything. I could tell he was pretty happy about it, sharing it with his family and everything."
Cal receiver Marvin Jones said Tedford stood by the door to the locker room after the game and players took turns offering their congratulations.
"He's our coach. He's dear to all of our hearts," Jones said. "He downplayed it, but I'm pretty sure inside he's pretty happy about it."
For Tedford, it was a rare glimpse at a human side that he rarely shows publicly. He said recently that he also got emotional when Memorial Stadium started to get demolished for renovations.
"To have such a spectacular achievement, you reflect on the ups and downs that got you there," Barbour said. "He's poured his heart and soul into the this program. He loves this place. I love that it's really special to him."
The record-breaker turned out to be the third-most lopsided win in Tedford's career. Presbyterian (1-2) is a Football Championship Subdivision team from Clinton, S.C., that earned a $400,000 guarantee for making the cross-country trip.
The Bears also scored the third-most points in the Tedford era, and also outgained the Blue Hose 581-48 in total yardage. By the end, Cal had used almost every player on its roster. That included heralded freshman Brendan Bigelow, who made his college debut and returned the second half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.
Quarterback Zach Maynard threw three touchdown passes and Jones caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Cattouse recorded two interceptions to give him seven for his career.
Cal finished its nonconference slate 3-0, putting itself in optimal position to begin Pac-12 play next Saturday at Washington.
"We wanted to knock these three games out and not take any of them for granted," Cattouse said. "From here on out, it's going to be a dogfight every week. We're aware of it and really looking forward to it, going into next week and the rest of this season."