End of an era: Tedford ‘relieved of duties’ as Bears coach

Jeff Tedford, who has overseen the Golden Bear football program for the past 11 seasons, has been relieved of his duties as head football coach at the University of California, Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour announced Tuesday.

Letter from Sandy Barbour:

Cal ‘parting ways with a very good man’

“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, one that required a thorough and thoughtful analysis of a complex set of factors,” Barbour said. “Ultimately, I believed that we needed a change in direction to get our program back on the right track. Cal football is integral to our department and our university, and its influence can be felt well beyond the walls of Memorial Stadium. The program clearly serves as an important part of the connective tissue that binds our community together, and it is imperative that Cal football be recognized as a leader in competitive success, academic achievement and community engagement.

Jeff Tedford

Tedford, in a familiar sideline pose (GoldenBearSports.com photo)

“For many years, under Jeff Tedford’s leadership, our program represented all that and more,” Barbour added. “Coach Tedford deserves credit for the extraordinary effort he undertook to turn this program around and bring us to the heights of a Pac-10 co-championship in 2006. He has served his University admirably, and I will forever be indebted for his commitment and expertise, as well as the positive impact he has made in so many young men’s lives over the years.”

Under Tedford, Cal compiled an 82-57 record from 2002-11 and advanced to bowl games eight times, including three visits to the Holiday Bowl. During his first season in Berkeley, Tedford guided the Bears to a 7-5 record one year after the team finished 1-10. The Bears won 10 games in two different seasons under his direction, finishing 10-2 in 2004 and 10-3 in 2006, and he was tabbed Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2002 and ’04. Cal ranked among the nation’s top 25 in the final Associated Press poll three straight seasons from 2004-06 with a high of ninth in 2004.

Tedford both won more games than any previous Cal coach, setting the mark with his 75th victory, a 63-12 decision over Presbyterian on Sept. 17, 2012. He also owns school records for most bowl wins (5), most games coached (139) and most conference victories (50), while he is tied with Pappy Waldorf for most Big Game wins (7).

A total of 40 Tedford-coached players have been selected in the NFL Draft, including eight in the first round. Among those who have played for him in Berkeley are such NFL standouts as quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver/returner DeSean Jackson and tailback Marshawn Lynch.

Golden Bears teams have also displayed success in the classroom with players earning academic all-conference honors 103 teams since 2002. Center Alex Mack received the Campbell Trophy as the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2008, and Mike Mohamed was named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for football in 2010.

Due in large part to the achievements of the football program under Tedford, Cal was able to renovate historic Memorial Stadium, moving into the facility this season, and the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance, which contains offices, locker rooms and training facilities for football and 12 other sports, opened in the fall of 2011.

However, after much early success under Tedford, the on-field and academic results have fallen in recent years. After going 59-30 through his first seven seasons in Berkeley – all with winning records – Tedford has a mark of 23-27 over the past four years, and the Bears did not qualify for a bowl game in 2010 or ’12. Cal finished 3-9 with a record of 2-7 in the Pac-12 North Division this season. In addition, after a period of sustained team academic improvement, Cal’s latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate dropped to a low of 48 percent in the most recent figures released last month and the team’s Academic Progress Rate has trended down from a high of 970 in 2008 to 936 in 2011.

Tedford was named Cal’s head coach on Dec. 12, 2001, joining the Bears after serving as offensive coordinator at Oregon from 1998-2001. He was offensive coordinator at Fresno State from 1993-97 after being the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach in 1992. Tedford’s coaching career began with two seasons as volunteer assistant at Fresno State (1987-88) before he joined Calgary of the CFL for three seasons (1989-91). As a player, he was an honorable mention All-American quarterback at Fresno State, graduating in 1983.

Barbour said that a national search for a new head coach, which will be aided by the firm of DHR International, will begin immediately. She did not indicate a timetable for hiring a replacement, adding that Cal Athletics will have no further comment on the search until a new coach has been selected.

Update

Tedford has released the following statement:

“I want to thank the University of California for the opportunity to be a part of this great university and community. I am so grateful to all of the coaches, players and support staff for playing such a vital role in making Cal football relevant while enjoying winning seasons nine of 11 years. All involved can feel a great sense of pride with their sacrifice, contributions and commitment that have made it possible to have the winningest tenure in Cal football history. We all can be very proud of helping to build a renovated Memorial Stadium that will have a positive impact on many athletes, fans and staff members for years to come. I will never forget the most gratifying part of these last 11 years, and that has been the relationships with the players I have had the special opportunity to watch grow academically, physically, socially and spiritually. To watch this process and be a part of their growth and development has been a blessing. The Tedford family is blessed to have built so many great relationships and create memories that will last a lifetime. I am most proud that through the sacrifices we have made over the last 11 years, my wife and two sons are the foundation and joy of my life. We wish the university much success – Go Bears!”