Rumored to be on his way out as Cal’s head coach leading into this past weekend, it appeared Jeff Tedford was set to receive at least a one-year reprieve after a reported meeting with his athletic director Sunday didn’t result in an immediate dismissal.
As it turns out, that was merely delaying what has long been considered the inevitable.
In a release, Cal announced Tuesday afternoon that Tedford will not serve as its head football coach moving forward. Tedford informed his players of the athletic department’s decision at a 1 p.m. ET meeting.
Tedford becomes the sixth FBS head coach to either retire or have been fired in the past month.
“For many years, under Jeff Tedford’s leadership, our program represented all that and more,” athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement. “Coach Tedford deserves credit for the extraordinary effort he undertook to turn this program around and bring us to the heights of a Pac-10 co-championship in 2006. He has served his University admirably, and I will forever be indebted for his commitment and expertise, as well as the positive impact he has made in so many young men’s lives over the years.”
Tedford, who will be owed a $6.9 million buyout paid over three years and minus and collegiate/NFL coaching salary, finishes his 11-year Golden Bears career with a respectable 82-57 record, although the past few years have seen Cal’s on-field performance drop precipitously.
Since leading Cal to a 28-9 record from 2004-06, Tedford has gone just 39-37 in the subsequent six seasons. The last three, the record has tumbled to 15-22, including a 3-9 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.
“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, one that required a thorough and thoughtful analysis of a complex set of factors,” Barbour said. “Ultimately, I believed that we needed a change in direction to get our program back on the right track. Cal football is integral to our department and our university, and its influence can be felt well beyond the walls of Memorial Stadium. The program clearly serves as an important part of the connective tissue that binds our community together, and it is imperative that Cal football be recognized as a leader in competitive success, academic achievement and community engagement.”
The early names being bandied about as potential replacements? Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes and Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter, along with former Stanford assistant and current San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.