The bizarre negotiating game between Sonny Dykes and California officials is over. The school agreed to a two-year contract extension with its football coach Thursday that will increase his pay immediately and keep him locked up through the 2019 season.
Dykes had two years remaining on his original five-year deal and both sides had been looking to extend it after he helped lead the Golden Bears to their first bowl game since 2011.
“Turning around a program is not an easy task and in three years, Sonny and his staff have been instrumental in re-establishing a strong culture for our football program,” athletic director Michael Williams said. “Our expectations at Cal are high and we are confident that Sonny will have our program fighting consistently for a Pac-12 title, a major bowl berth and inclusion in the national football conversation.”
Dykes will get a raise from approximately $2 million a year — which was the lowest salary for a head football coach in the Pac-12 — to $2.825 million per year for the next four seasons. The new salary ranks in the middle of the conference, according to a USA Today database.
The contract also includes a $3 million annual salary pool for assistant coaches and will roll over one year for each season that he wins seven regular-season games and the team has an annual Academic Progress Rate score of 980 or higher.
“The terms of this extension demonstrate clearly the commitment from everyone involved to build a championship program and keep us moving in the right direction,” Dykes said. “This is a great university and a tremendous place to coach an incredible group of student-athletes. I am very proud of where our program is right now and the positive steps we have taken over the past three years. Our goal is to compete for conference championships, and we are making significant progress toward realizing that goal.”
Dykes interviewed for the opening at Missouri that was eventually filled by Barry Odom and also had his name linked to openings at South Carolina and Virginia. But with those jobs also filled, he ended up back where he started.
Dykes has a 13-23 record in three seasons at Cal. Cal has shown improvement each season going from one win in Dykes’ first year in 2013 to five last year to a 7-5 record this season and a berth in the Armed Forces Bowl against Air Force later this month.
Dykes also has been integral in improved academic performance for the Cal football team after it posted one of the lowest graduation rates in the country late in the tenure of previous coach Jeff Tedford. The program improved its single-season APR by 46 points to 969 in the first report date under his guidance and saw its four-year APR move up three points in its second season.
The school has toughened admissions standards since Dykes arrived, eliminating some potential recruits from consideration.
“Over the past three years, Sonny Dykes has demonstrated his commitment to academic as well as athletic excellence,” Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said. “Under his stewardship we will continue to build a successful football program that expresses in every way the high standards of the leading public university in the world.”
While the Bears improved each year under Dykes, they also have failed to win a single game in 12 tries against their three in-state Pac-12 rivals — Stanford, UCLA and Southern California — or against Pac-12 North powerhouse Oregon.
Cal got off to a 5-0 start this season behind star quarterback Jared Goff before losing four straight games in conference play. The Bears won two of their final three regular-season games to become bowl eligible.
Dykes previously spent three seasons as head coach at Louisiana Tech and also had stints as an assistant at Arizona, Texas Tech and Kentucky.