Sunday seemed like a relatively quiet day in college football as the country waited for the National Championship Game to kickoff. Cal’s surprising news that they were firing head coach Sonny Dykes put an end to that.
The now-former Bears coach released a statement to the media a few hours after the school confirmed the news and, needless to say, he was certainly one of many who didn’t see this coming.
“This morning I learned that the Cal administration was moving in a different direction and terminating my employment as Head Football Coach without cause. I was surprised and disappointed, but I have no choice but to accept the decision and move,” Dykes said in a release from his agents. “Cal is a special place and it has been a pleasure to be a part of one of the greatest learning environments in the world. I am proud of the academic turnaround and athletic success we have had in Berkeley. We got the academic ship righted and set records on the field. I wish the football program, the University and the entire Bear family nothing but the best in the future.
The most notable part of that rather standard statement is that Dykes confirmed he was terminated without cause. Mercury News columnist Jon Wilner reports that will likely mean roughly $5 million worth of buyout money will be headed toward the coach after he signed a fresh contract just last year. That buyout figure is subject to mitigation from any new salary the coach will receive in whatever new position he takes — if any.
With the AFCA coaches convention in full swing and the national title game on Monday, one probably didn’t expect Cal to be the newsworthy opening this weekend but here we are. It will certainly make for an interesting few days in Berkeley as the school will no doubt look to move quickly in replacing Dykes, especially with recruiting set to open up shortly with Signing Day right around the corner.