Posted: Aug 16, 2012 5:55 PM by Andrew Masuda
Updated: Aug 16, 2012 11:05 PM
Calling the move a return to normalcy, Cal Poly football head coach Tim Walsh announced the hiring of Neil Fendall as his defensive backs coach on Thursday.
Fendall replaces Randy Hanson, who resigned, effective Friday. Hanson was suspended indefinitely by Athletic Director Don Oberhelman on August 6 after Hanson was arrested for allegedly hitting someone over the head with a beer bottle during a bar fight in Pismo Beach.
Fendall played safety under coach Walsh at Portland State in the mid-1990's. He played on three NCAA playoff squads during his time with the Vikings. Walsh said he knew then that Fendall would make a great college coach. He offered Fendall a position as a graduate assistant after his college career ended, but Fendall turned him down. More than a decade later, Fendall couldn't pass on the opportunity to join the Mustangs. "He understood the game. He had a knack, an instinct for the game of football. He's the all-time leading interception guy at Portland State, he was team captain. And I think he did it by his intelligence and his ability to learn the game. I knew back then, that's why I tried to keep him way back in 1996," said Walsh.
Fendall spent the last six years as an assistant coach at Linfield College in Oregon, a Division III program. Linfield went 10-1 last year for its 56th-straight winning season and made the playoffs.
The 38 year old Fendall said he arrived in San Luis Obispo last Saturday and started attending practices Monday as a volunteer assistant. He will be the official defensive backs coach on Monday, August 20. "I'm pretty excited. It's been obviously kind of a crazy week. But I was just talking to the guys about we're in the middle of it now. It's just coaching football and we're in a routine," said Fendall, who added that he noticed his group of players includes several playmakers and all-around athletes.
He says being reunited with Walsh is great because they already have a relationship built on trust. He says Walsh is also comfortable enough to be straight-forward with him just like in his playing days at Portland State.
Fendall and his wife have three children ranging in age from 4 to 10.
The Mustangs end the second week of preseason camp on Saturday with a scrimmage around 11 am in Spanos Stadium. The season opener is September 1 at home against the University of San Diego.
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