RIP to one of the truest sons of California.
"The Bear will not quit, The Bear will not die" RIP, coach!
I attended several Cal football camps with Kapp as the head coach. We will NEVER have another HC who loved Cal football more than him. Unlike the head coaches that would follow him, he didn't speak "coach speak". He spoke from the heart as to what it took to be better football players. He valued taking personal responsibility for improving yourself physically, dedication to being a student of the mental parts, and playing through pain ("are you hurt or are you injured?"). Coach Kapp helped give Cal some of its greatest Big Game victories and I will always remember that.
I remember sitting next to him at a USC game in some nosebleed-ish seats sometime after I graduated (Update: found the photo. November 18, 2006). He offered us some of his kettle corn. It was an honor to meet and just chill with this Cal legend.
RIP Joe. More than any other athlete or figure, Joe created an identity for Cal athletics. He was also rare in that he spanned generations as both a player and coach, and then again for future generations through The Play. I know I got to hear stories about Joe from my dad and then got to root for him as a coach. Those inter-generational connections are rare and powerful. Thanks Joe.
The very definition of a Sturdy Golden Bear! Well he is now watching us from the sky. I had hoped to see him drinking that tequila... I was at that 1986 Big Game, and it is my favorite Big Game experience, although I must say last year and 2002 were pretty up there too. 1986 was the only year in a run of 9 years that Cal got the Axe- a pretty dismal run during my undergraduate years, but boy did it make it all the sweeter.
Kapp had actually been fired already, but they let him coach that one last Big Game. Nice summary on a website I didn't even know existed: https://calbearshistory.com/2021/11/18/1986-the-biggest-big-game-upset-of-them-all/. Thanks Coach Kapp. You were and are a Cal and California original.
Bigger than life; what a character!
I was at a UW game in Seattle with my son when Kapp Jr. was our fullback, and there was Coach Joe in line for the family tickets. I went up and told him I was at The Play and asked if I could bother him to sign my baseball hat. He said no, because it was never a bother! Then signed my cap and laughed with me. Great guy...... My condolences to his family.
What a sad and lovely way to greet the day; sad for the loss of Joe Kapp and lovely for the concise, well-written reminder of what he brought to each of us and all of us. Thank you for this kind and eye-opening tribute, a reminder of a truly accomplished life. And those photos! Perfectly selected and posted in proper order; on the shoulders of his team after a spectacular victory, with our current HC and smiling to beat the band, and as a young lion with all of this before him. Rest in Peace, Coach Kapp. Today's rosary is for you and the happy repose of your soul.
Rest In Power - The Toughest Chicano from Salinas!
I got Mr. Kapp's autograph on a picture of The Play and he inscribed that awesome saying, "The Bear will not quit, The Bear will not die". Also, I had the chance opportunity to bump into him at the 2018 Big Game and was lucky to get a picture with him. It's moments like these in the fandom. Seeing, larger than life legends who are so down to earth that I cherish. It is truly a sad thing though that he never got to drink that tequila again... :(
Very sad to hear that. I had the privilege of meeting him way back when I was younger and I still have his autographed magazine cover up on my wall. Talk about priceless. RIP Coach!
My condolences to his friends and family. Thank you, Coach.
I grew up hearing about the great Joe Kapp from my parents and later had the privilege of meeting him. He coached two of the best Big Games I've ever seen, '82 and '86. He epitomized the spirt of California. Go Bears!!!
RIP Coach. Condolences sent to the Kapp family from here in his old stomping grounds of Monterey County.
Very sad :( Obviously I was not around for any of his games as a player or a coach, but his legend was every where from The Play to his tequila-less vigil of the Rose Bowl. RIP Coach Kapp!