Multiple outlets are reporting that Cal is parting ways with head coach Jeff Tedford after 11 seasons. CBS Sports reporter Bruce Feldman first tweeted the news.
Just heard from a source that Jeff Tedford is out at Cal’s coach. Players are being told now.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 20, 2012
Tedford is the most successful coach in Cal history, leading the Golden Bears to winning seasons all but two of his 11 years there. In 2011, he officially became the program’s all-time most winning head coach. The problem for his tenure was that each of the two losing campaigns came within the last three years during an expensive and controversial remodel of Memorial Stadium. The new venue opened this September, and was the prelude to a disappointing 3-9 finish.
Cal made Tedford the highest paid state employee in California with a contract that became a point of contention after Tedford occupied the hot seat. His buyout reaches $7 million, a hefty sum for an athletic department already cash-strapped.
Still, it appears Cal brass is ready to move on. The Tedford era peaked early, when in 2004 the Golden Bears came within one play of upending eventual national champion USC. A win would have elevated Cal to the BCS championship game. The ensuing snub for a Rose Bowl bid that instead went to Texas and rewarded Mack Brown’s vociferous public campaigning became a rallying cry for expansion of the system.
The Golden Bears finished 10-3 two seasons later and won the Holiday Bowl, but never recaptured that same success in the subsequent seasons.
Tedford should have no trouble finding a landing point. He’s coached numerous first round NFL Draft picks in his career, and Cal’s run of elite running backs is impressive. He’s already rumored to be a target for Colorado, which has struggled under offensive coordinator and former Buffalo great Eric Bieniemy. Carlos Sandoval wrote here on SaturdayBlitz.com that Tedford could be an attractive option for USC should Lane Kiffin opt to hand over the play calling reins to a coordinator.
Cal’s next move seems less certain. Louisville head coach Charlie Strong was a candidate for the job when Tedford was hired before the 2002 season, but he has successfully reestablished UL and might be difficult to lure away now. Mike MacIntyre has been a resounding success in the Bay Area at San Jose State, guiding the once-hapless Spartans to nine wins this season.