Firing Tedford is the wrong move for Cal’s football program

U.S. Presswire File PhotoCal football coach Jeff Tedford was fired from his position Tuesday morning.

U.S. Presswire File PhotoCal football coach Jeff Tedford was fired from his position Tuesday morning.

The “what have you done for me lately” group got its way Tuesday, with the firing of Cal football coach Jeff Tedford. I think that is a big mistake.

Cal has had only brief moments as a football power since the end of World War II. The consistent football powers are schools which apply only the breathing test for admission — if they can breathe, they’re in — and don’t expect them to do anything academically once they get in.

In contrast, Cal is a highly respected academic school, consistently ranked as the top public university in the country.

That kind of curriculum makes it difficult to win consistently.

I’ve been following Cal football since the fall of 1956 when I came there as an undergraduate and there have been far more down periods than successful ones.

That also makes it difficult to attract good coaches. Since that 1956 season, Cal has been able to lure only one coach who had been a head coach elsewhere, Bruce Snyder. And Snyder had a losing record at Utah State, so he was hardly a hot item, though he had a nice run at Cal, culminating with their first New Year’s Day bowl win since World War II.

Coaches also have to deal with a Berkeley city government that is off in another world and a college administration which combined to allow attention getters to sit in trees outside the stadium in recent years, discouraging prospects and their parents.

Usually, Cal has had to hire assistant coaches. Mike White was successful and Tedford set a post-war record with eight straight winning seasons, but in between the Bears were coached by Roger Theder (mediocre), Keith Gilbertson (bad) and Tom Holmoe (awful). Holmoe was 16-34 and 1-10 in his last season. Because he played two receivers who got credit for a class they never attended, four of those wins were officially subtracted by the NCAA, which put the Bears on a year probation.

Tedford cleaned up that mess with a winning season and a program that has been more upstanding.

The graduation rate for Cal football dropped to 48 percent this last year which is distressing, but I regard that as a blip. Tedford had always monitored his players’ academic status closely, but I think he was distracted by his campaign for the new high-performance center and the rebuilt stadium, both of which were realized this year.

When I visited with him this spring, one of the things he showed me was a huge room where players could come after practice and study, so he was renewing his efforts to monitor his players’ academic progress. Now, he won’t have that opportunity.

Now, Cal has to hire still another coach. I’m sure athletic director Sandy Barbour has her short list, but there will be question marks about all of them. I’ve heard unofficially that Chris Petersen is interested, for instance, and he’s done a very good job at Boise State, but coaching in the Bay Area would be hugely different.

The good news is that Tedford is leaving some good young talent behind. I’d feel a lot better about that, though, if he were back to coach it.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at glenndickey36@gmail.com.

collegefootballGlenn Dickeysports

Just Posted

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Sunday was wettest October day in San Francisco history

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

While Kaiser Permanente patients seeking mental health care will get a 30-minute phone assessment within days, in many cases, they cannot get actual treatment for months. (Shutterstock)
City employees face months-long wait time for mental health care

‘We are in the midst of a mental health crisis’

Klay Thompson, left, and his boat dealer Kenyon Martin take on his test drive on the NBA star’s 37-foot vessel; injury woes sent Thompson, the Golden State guard, looking for solace. He found it on the water. (Courtesy Anthony Nuccio via New York Times)
Warriors star finds love with his fishing boat

Being on the water is a ‘safe space’ for Klay Thompson

Most Read