LOS ANGELES — Bill Redell '64, a member of the National College Football Hall of Fame and former Occidental College football star, was named as his alma mater's head football coach on Friday, ending Oxy's search for a new coach just more than a week after it began, while providing a storybook last stop to Redell's remarkable football career.
Redell, 71, replaces 30-year Oxy head coach Dale Widolff, who was terminated on May 9 amid recruiting violation allegations. Widolff won 11 SCIAC championships in 30 seasons at Oxy, but a second NCAA investigation into the program in two years prompted a change.
Eric Bergstrom, the Tigers offensive coordinator who led Oxy to a 3-1 record as the interim head coach when Widolff was suspended in 2010, has been promoted to associate head coach.
Redell won eight CIF Southern Section championships and has a career record of 233-65-3 as a high school coach. He had been the coach at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village since 2000 where he won seven CIF-SS championships, and led the Lions to a record nine consecutive CIF championship games and a 48-game winning streak.
"We are extremely fortunate to attract an alumnus and hall of fame coach to lead our football program into a new era," Occidental athletic director Jaime Hoffman said. "Bill's record speaks for itself."
He was set to retire in 2012 before accepting the job at Oxy, a place he said he's always wanted to coach at if the opportunity ever presented itself.
"I've always really wanted to coach at Occidental, but the timing was never there," Redell said. "I'm excited to go back. I understand the environment, I understand the academics, and I understand the student-athlete we're looking for.
"I tell students, 'you want to go to an Ivy League school, look at Occidental. It's the same caliber academically and almost athletically. … And it's in Southern California.' It's an ideal place to go to school."
Redell turned Oaks Christian into a perennial power, after starting the program in 2000. In 2006, the Lions finished sixth in the final USA Today Prep Football Super 25 ranking. He won his first CIF championship with Crespi Carmelite HS in 1982, and then coached with the Portland Breakers in the United States Football League.
His time at and after Oxy, make him one of the school's most recognizable figures. When it comes to the Mount Rushmore of Occidental College football, Redell is next to the likes of Jack Kemp, Jim Mora and Vance Mueller as one of Oxy's greatest and most prominent football people.
Redell earned a scholarship to USC, but later transferred to Oxy where he was considered one of college football's last "triple threats", excelling on offense, defense and special teams. He passed for 1,567 yards and ran for 1,583 yards as an All-Pacific Coast quarterback and was selected as an All-American defensive back during his two seasons at Oxy (1962-63).
He was drafted by the NFL's Los Angeles Rams and AFL's Denver Broncos in 1963, but had most of his success as a professional football player in the Canadian Football League. He led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup Championship— the CFL equivalent to America's Super Bowl — in 1967 and set the pass percentage record in 1965.
Redell grew up in Pasadena, attending San Marino High School where he was a three-sport standout and an All-CIF athlete in baseball and football.
In 2011, Oxy went 5-4 overall and 3-3 in SCIAC play, finishing third in the conference.