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Tim Plough (UC Davis Athletics)

Get to Know the New Football Coach

by | May 21, 2024 | Sports, Summer 2024

For Tim Plough ’08, taking the head coach position for UC Davis football was a full-circle moment he never questioned.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to Davis, because of what they gave to me,” he said. “So I take that with a lot of honor.”

Plough majored in history and played quarterback at UC Davis. After graduation he stayed on with the team as a student assistant. By 25, he had become an offensive coordinator, the youngest to have that position in Division I. He was most recently an assistant coach at UC Berkeley but took on the head coach role at UC Davis in December, when Dan Hawkins stepped down.

This season, he said the team will play well, entering Shredville, a term he coined to hype the players.

“To shred, is to operate that skill at the highest form, and then the ville is where we do it — in that stadium,” he said. “When we enter, we are going to use our skillset to the highest form and perform the best we can. We believe when we walk in there we’ll be the best version of us in Shredville.”

UC Davis Magazine spoke with Plough a few months into the job. Here are a few things to know about him.

He almost didn’t attend UC Davis.

As a high schooler, Plough played both football and baseball, and for college he looked for a place where he could continue to play both, signing with San Diego State. But when his scholarship was pulled due to staffing changes there, he had to make a new plan. A connection at University of Oregon pointed him to UC Davis. “I got a call from Mike Moroski, who was the offensive coordinator, and [head coach] Bob Biggs, and I basically chose to come here sight unseen,” Plough said. “Davis kind of found me. I never found it.”

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Plough with wife Christine and sons Jackson, Camden and Bodie. (UC Davis Athletics)

His coaches saw his potential to become a coach.

Plough’s playing career at UC Davis was marred by injury. While he didn’t end up playing baseball, he was quarterback, lettering for four years. But when he was injured, he’d stand by Biggs during games.

“It was Coach Biggs who said coaching is teaching because everyone sees how good of a teacher you are by how well your students perform,” Plough said. “Once I thought of it that way, it became something I really [wanted].” He obtained his master’s in coaching education from Ohio University in 2012.

He had a connection with UC Davis former head coach Jim Sochor.

“When I graduated, I had a six- to 12-month period when I was struggling with mental health,” Plough recalled. “I didn’t realize at the time that I was struggling that much.” Plough said that Moroski and Biggs could see that he was having a hard time figuring out what he was going to do with his life and helped organize a meeting. “I got a text message from Jim Sochor one night: ‘If you want to find joy, meet me at Peet’s Coffee tomorrow at 6:30am.’ I’m maybe 22, and I’m thinking, ‘That’s pretty early.’”

Plough did go and continued to meet Sochor every Monday for four years. He said the legendary coach became a mentor to him, inspiring him ultimately to pursue a coaching career.

Finding joy every day is a major goal.

In those early days, Sochor talked to Plough about finding something to be happy about every day. Plough said it’s become a mantra and a big part of the way he coaches. “I think it’s about being grateful and thankful for what we have,” he said. “I think that especially in sports, especially nowadays, we are a result-oriented world. And I want to win more than anybody. But I focus more on the process it takes to win, and I’m not going to define myself by the result.”

His family — wife Christine and three sons under the age of 10 — is also starting fresh in Davis.

Plough met his wife, Christine, at UC Davis, and they have three sons under the age of 10: Jackson, Camden and Bodie. All seem to enjoy life in Davis, he said.

“I was in my office the other day looking out at the field and two of my sons were out there throwing the football to each other and messing around,” Plough said. “I called my wife and said, ‘This is joy.’ This is what we’ve sought forever — a place where you can do what you love and involve your family. It was a cool moment for me.”