Bears Hire Jeff Genyk as New Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach

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Jeff Genyk, who served as the head coach at Eastern Michigan from 2004-08, has been named the Cal football team's new special teams coordinator/tight ends coach, Bears coach Jeff Tedford announced on Saturday. Genyk takes over for former coach Pete Alamar, whose contract was not renewed for the 2010 season after he held the position from 2003-09.

"We are excited about bringing in an experienced coach with Jeff's high level of expertise, energy and passion," Tedford said in a statement. "He is a versatile and well-rounded coach that has all the qualities we are looking for in members of our coaching staff."

Genyk returns to the sidelines after working as a television color analyst for ESPN during the 2009 season. He has 18 years of coaching experience, most of which came in 12 seasons at Northwestern from 1992-2003. During his final eight seasons with the Wildcats, Genyk was responsible for the special teams units.

Cal's special teams came under heavy criticism in 2009, when the kickoff coverage unit ranked ninth in the Pac-10 and the Bears finished last in conference in field goal percentage by making just 15 of their 24 attempts. Just five days after a decisive loss to Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23, Tedford announced that Alamar would not be returning in 2010.

Genyk inherits an all-conference punter in Bryan Anger and a puzzling situation with his new place kickers. Although Giorgio Tavecchio handled kickoffs for the majority of the 2009 season, he and Vince D'Amato were in a constant competition over field-goal duties, which were often assigned on a game-by-game basis just minutes before kickoff based on which kicker performed better in pre-game warmups.

Neither player was particularly accurate -- D'Amato was 7-of-12, while Tavecchio went 8-of-12. They were a combined 3-of-8 on kicks from 40-49 yards. Meanwhile, although Tavecchio would constantly land his kickoffs around the five-yard line in practice, his kicks during games would often be fielded at or outside the 10-yard line.

Tedford stressed throughout the season that his kickers just needed to be more consistent -- the responsibility for which will now fall on Genyk, who coached a Lou Groza Award finalist in kicker Andrew Wellock in 2004 and a punt coverage unit that ranked third in the nation in 2006, both at Eastern Michigan.

"I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the Cal football family," Genyk said in a statement. "I will work relentlessly to do everything I can to help the program continue to be successful and reach an even higher level."

Contact Matt Kawahara at [email protected]

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