Kevin Daft learned to acclimate to the nomadic lifestyle of a blue-collar, professional quarterback.
The former UC Davis star says he moved 17 times during a pro career that spanned six seasons.
He played in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores and Amsterdam Admirals.
He helped the Claymores to the World Bowl in 2000, and in St. Andrews he proposed to his wife, Kesa, from the St. Rules Tower that overlooks the historic Scottish city.
He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fifth round in 1999 and was with them during their Super Bowl run that season. He had brief stints with the 49ers, San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons. He finished his career playing a couple of seasons of Arena Football in San Jose and Indiana.
"My wife was great," Daft said. "She handled everything. She'd say, 'Tomorrow this is where we're moving. Here's where you get the U-Haul.' "
But in coming full circle as a player and now an Aggies assistant coach with two young daughters, Daft isn't planning to load up a rental anytime soon.
"I have a lot of love for this university," Daft said. "It's a special place. People who have been here who have been a part of it understand the Aggie pride and everything that goes with it."
Daft, 37, is in his second year as an Aggies assistant (he was a volunteer assistant in 2003) and first as the team's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
He's also the thread linking new Aggies coach Ron Gould, with whom Daft worked when Gould was an assistant at Cal, to UC Davis' long history of football success.
Last season, Daft worked as an assistant offensive coordinator under Bob Biggs, Daft's mentor when he played quarterback for the Aggies. Biggs retired at the end of last season after 20 years as head coach.
"I was fortunate enough to coach with coach Biggs last season he's been a huge influence on me and to also be part of this transition," Daft said.
"Coach Gould is a great fit. He definitely follows the same values and mindset as the previous coaches we have had, coach (Jim) Sochor, coach (Bob) Foster and coach Biggs."
Gould said he couldn't ask for a better partner as he makes the transition from longtime assistant to first-time head coach.
"He's probably one of the greatest people I've been around," Gould said. "He's a guy you can truly say is a brother. He's the consummate pro. Very smart, very creative. He's a perfectionist, like I am."
Working his first three years as a graduate assistant at Cal, Daft shared an office with Gould, who coached running backs. Daft marveled at how Gould bonded with his players.
"He's very passionate, very fiery," said Daft, who coached seven seasons at Cal. "He really cares about the players. You can see that in how he deals with them, and how they come back and keep in touch with him."
Gould said Daft's biggest upside is his attention to detail.
"At Cal, even as a graduate assistant, he did an unbelievable job as far as everyone crossing their T's and dotting their I's," Gould said. "His attention to detail is amazing and he's a competitor."
Those are traits not lost on senior quarterback Randy Wright. He's working with Daft for the first time after being under Biggs' wing his first three seasons.
"Any little thing that is wrong, you know you are going to hear about it," Wright said. "He cleaned up our offense, and our focus is sharper. He's brought an intensity to our quarterback group."
Wright said spring film sessions were edgy as Daft hammered on mistakes and weaknesses.
"We butted heads a little during the spring," Wright said. "But now we're seeing more eye to eye. We're getting used to each other."
Enough that the serious-minded Daft occasionally lets down his guard for a moment.
"The other day I dropped the ball, and he picked it up and fired it back, then said, 'I would shred you guys today.' " Wright said. "We laughed and told him he should bring out his cleats.
"But since we've been practicing, I've seen him only throw two passes. Yet he's still got it."
While Wright knew about Daft and UCD's quarterback legacy even before he arrived in Davis from Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, he said Daft doesn't talk about his past.
As an Aggie, Daft set five NCAA Division II records and passed for 7,601 yards and 68 touchdowns. He was a two-time All-American and a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, the Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He was inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
A native of Tustin in Southern California, Daft marvels at how much he has evolved since he first loaded up his gear and trekked to Davis.
"I didn't have any scholarship offers, and I thought maybe about walking on at UCLA," Daft said. "But once I came up here, I enjoyed every moment I was here. It was a great fit athletically and academically."
Just as Biggs mentored him and helped him to mature, Daft is trying to be the same kind of role model to today's Aggies.
"Players of this age are kind of in a transitional point in their lives," Daft said. "It's fun to coach these guys. They work hard, and they're good people, too.
"They are guys you are going to stay in touch with in the future because they are going to be doing good, positive things in their lives."
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.