Sonny Dykes showed more than once that he wasn’t sure if Cal was the best spot for him. On Sunday, the university made the choice for him by removing him from his post as head football coach.
Director of Athletics Mike Williams called the decision “extremely difficult” but that a change was necessary.
“Primarily, we want what’s best for our student-athletes and have a head coach in place who is fully committed to our program and our university,” Williams said in a statement.
Dykes reportedly interviewed for the head coach opening at Baylor in December after the Golden Bears completed their 5-7 season.
Williams said Dykes left the program “in a stronger position than when he arrived. For that alone, he deserves credit and our thanks.” But, If the coach’s first public statement after the firing is any indication, it wasn’t an amicable parting.
“This morning I learned that the Cal administration was moving in a different direction and terminating my employment as Head Football Coach without cause,” he said. “I was surprised and disappointed, but I have no choice but to accept the decision and move on.”
Over four seasons, Dykes led Cal to a 19-30 record with a 10-26 mark in conference play. The team regularly impressed on the offensive side of the ball but ranked in the bottom-three in the nation for yards (518) and points allowed (42.6) per game.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Spavital will serve as the team’s interim head coach. It would benefit the Bears to make a permanent hire quickly with signing day just 24 days away.
“I understand that the timing may not be ideal – it rarely is,” Williams said. “We did not want to make this decision until we were ready and did so for the health of our football program and department.”
The university must pay Dykes a $5.88 million buyout, which means leadership felt strongly about the decision as the department has been running a multi-million dollar deficit.
“We believe that this change will reinvigorate the program, stimulate lagging ticket sales and renewals, and energize our donor base,” Williams said.CalCal footballCollege Sportspac 12 footballPac-12University of California Berkeley