One of the most highly regarded running back coaches in the country, Ron Gould has joined the Stanford football coaching staff, as announced Thursday.
"Ron is a great teacher. He brings an impressive resume of working with and developing some outstanding players," said David Shaw, Stanford's Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. "As important to me, he is a great mentor and determined to push young men to achievements in life beyond football."
Gould has mentored some of the top runners in the game, including Super Bowl champions C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos), Shane Vereen (New England Patriots) and Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks). He also coached Jahvid Best, the former Detroit Lions back who showcased his speed while running the 100 meters for Saint Lucia in the 2016 Summer Olympics. The illustrious list of Gould-coached backs includes seven NFL Pro Bowl selections, two All-America first team choices -- including Lynch and J.J. Arrington -- and five All-Pac-10 first team performers.
"I want to thank head coach David Shaw for giving me an opportunity to be part of such an extraordinary program," Gould said. "I am honored that they chose me to join the Stanford football family and that they believe in my ability to add value to an already successful program. I have always had a ton of respect for Coach Shaw both as a person and a coach, and look forward to growing under his tutelage. Stanford is one of the preeminent universities in the world, and Stanford football is a model program for everything I believe in. It is a program that consistently wins championships, always operates with integrity, and supports world-class academics, while at the same time developing student-athletes both on and off the field."
His tenure with the Aggies was marked by notable recruiting classes, remarkable academic achievements by his team and three wins in the Causeway Classic against rival Sacramento State. Gould's emphasis on academic achievement yielded the Big Sky Conference's highest Academic Progress Rate from the NCAA for four straight years, and two consecutive Graduation Success Rates that paced the conference.
He didn't take long to place his stamp on the UC Davis running backs, helping guide Gabe Manzanares to the program's best rushing total (1,285 yards) in more than a decade in 2013. Manzanares went on to win Big Sky Newcomer of the Year honors while ranking among the conference and FCS leaders in several statistical categories. Manzanares was named to the All-Big Sky third team in 2014 while finishing with 2,116 career yards in two seasons.
In 2015, UC Davis ranked second among FCS programs in time of possession (34:37) and tied for fifth in red-zone efficiency (.906). Gould's first season with the Aggies produced a tie for fourth in the powerful Big Sky, a run of five victories over UC Davis' final eight games, and a convincing 34-7 win over rival Sacramento State in Gould's first Causeway Classic. He highlighted his second year by reclaiming the Golden Horseshoe with a 48-35 win over rival Cal Poly.
Gould joined the Aggies after an impressive career at Cal, where he developed several of college football's top tailbacks, a list that includes NFL players Lynch (Seattle Seahawks), Best (Detroit Lions), Vereen (New England Patriots), Adimchinobe Echemandu (Houston Texans), Justin Forsett (Houston Texans) and Will Ta'ufo'ou (Jacksonville Jaguars). Other players who got their start with Gould and later signed NFL contracts include Chris Manderino (Cincinnati Bengals) and Tarik Smith (Dallas Cowboys).
Nine of the program's top 11 individual rushing seasons and six of Cal's all-time top rushers were coached by Gould. Lynch was the 2006 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Arrington was eighth in the 2006 Heisman Trophy voting after leading the country with 2,018 yards, and Best, who was a two-time All-Pac-10 first team selection.
Lynch (2007) and Best (2010) were first-round picks in the NFL Draft while Arrington was a second-round choice.
Cal enjoyed its best rushing season in more than a half century in 2004 when it averaged 256.8 rushing yards/game while scoring a school-record 30 touchdowns on the ground. The 2005 season brought much of the same with the Bears averaging 235.3 yards/game.
Gould played football at Oregon, where he graduated in 1988. He was a graduate assistant at Oregon before stops at Portland State (1992) and Boise State (1993-96) before landing at Cal.
From 1997-2007, he was the running backs coach for the Golden Bears before being elevated to associate head coach in 2008. He added running game coordinator duties beginning in 2011.
Gould was a candidate for the 2010 American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Award and served NFL internships with the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams.
A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Gould played defensive back at Scottsdale Community College from 1984-85, later to earn a scholarship to Wichita State. The Shockers would discontinue their program, leading him to Oregon, where he played for the Ducks and earned his bachelor's degree in criminology.