Cal Fires Jeff Tedford
The Jeff Tedford era of Cal football has come to an end. After 11 years and 82 victories, the program has decided to part ways with its winningest coach. The announcement came on Tuesday, with the Sacramento Bee first breaking the story on Twitter. The team was informed at an emotionally meeting, where both players and coach said their goodbyes.
“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, one that required a thorough and thoughtful analysis of a complex set of factors. Ultimately, I believed that we needed a change in direction to get our program back on the right track.”—Athletic Director, Sandy Barbour
Tedford inherited a Bears team that went 1-10 prior to his arrival. He quickly transformed that number to 7-5 in 2002, and the program would build from there. Cal’s win totals increased in each of his first three seasons, reaching 10 wins by 2004. Recruiting was a staple of his success, fielding NFL talent in Berkeley that placed only second to USC.
Though the program was lifted from doormat to contender, Tedford was unable to push the Bears over the top. His teams never appeared in BCS Bowl games, but would twice have a major impact on the system and its future. His greatest victory came over top ranked USC in 2003, which inevitably kept the Trojans out of the BCS championship game and gave us our only split champions of the new era. In 2004, Cal was again at the center of BCS controversy, after Mack Brown successfully lobbied for his Texas team to receive enough votes to push them above the Bears and steal a BCS at-large bid. After the USC debacle, the BCS was tweaked to apply more emphasis on the human portion, and less on computers. The AP would remove its poll from the BCS equation, after the 2004 self promotion led to a flip in coaches’ poll positions that sent the 10-2 Bears packing for the Holiday Bowl and the longhorns smelling rosy.
Cal won just 15 games in Tedford’s three final seasons, and that’s where the relationship soured. Early success was followed by a bout with mediocrity, before the wheels eventually fell off. Cal is bowl ineligible for the second time since 2010, and will now move forward without Jeff Tedford on the sideline for the first time since 2002.
The recent news out of Berkeley makes Oregon State’s Mike Riley the longest tenured coach in the Pac 12 conference.