Outside of a pair of SEC coaches, there’s likely not a hotter coaching seat in the country than Cal’s Jeff Tedford.
For better or worse for both the coach and the program, the beginning of a resolution could come as early as this coming weekend.
According to the Contra Costa Times, Tedford and athletic director Sandy Barbour could meet as early as this Sunday to discuss the future of the football program. The Bears’ final game of the 2012 season is this Saturday against Oregon State, and Barbour doesn’t sound like an individual who will shuffle her feet when it comes to the most important financial piece of the athletic department’s puzzle.
“We need to resolve quickly what are the solutions to getting Cal football moving in the right direction,” she said. “My first and foremost driver in any decision I will make is what’s right for Cal.”
Whether Tedford continuing on in his current position is the right direction moving forward remains to be seen.
Since leading Cal to a 28-9 record from 2004-06, Tedford has gone just 39-36 in the subsequent five-plus seasons. The last three, the record has tumbled to 15-21, including a 3-8 mark this season that’s easily the worst of Tedford’s 11 seasons at Cal.
Even more distressing for the alumni and fan base is how far the Bears have lagged behind their bitter rivals. As Cal has struggled mightily the past three years, Stanford has gone 31-5 and turned the Big Game into the Big Rout — the Cardinal has won the last three by an average of 18 points per game.
For a university that just took on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt renovating the football stadium, that level of performance on all fronts is far from acceptable, even for a coach who resurrected the program from the ashes just a decade ago.
Another factor when it comes to Tedford’s future at Cal: Tedford’s buyout if he’s fired after the season would be $6.9 million, minus whatever he would make as a head coach or assistant at either the collegiate or NFL level over the next three years. On that point, and as the great Jon Wilner of the Times put it earlier this month…
The $6.9 million is a pittance compared to the $66 million Cal collected from donors for an upfront payment on the high-performance training center.
So if you’re wondering whether the Bears can afford it, the answer is: Of course they can afford it.