University of California, Berkley athletic director Sandy Barbour made the call on Tuesday that many college football experts had been expecting, as she announced that Bears head coach Jeff Tedford had been relieved of his duties.
Tedford, who came to Cal in 2002 after a four-year stint as the Oregon offensive coordinator, rejuvenated a struggling Bears program, leading a team that recorded one win in the season prior to his arrival to nine winning seasons in eleven seasons, including two ten-win seasons.Unfortunately for Tedford, the last three years have seen the Cal program drop off a bit, as the team has put up a record of 15-22 record. The bottom completely fell out this year, which saw the Bears drop their last five games and suffer their two most lopsided losses under Tedford’s guidance in its last two games against Oregon and Oregon State.
With Tedford now out of the picture, who will lead the Bears come 2013? Here are five names that I would contact if I had say at Cal:
Mark Helfrich, Oregon OC – The last time Cal reached out to Eugene for a head coach, it worked out pretty well, and Helfrich is the hottest assistant coach west of the Mississippi. While some may question how important a role Helfrich has played in Oregon’s success (head coach Chip Kelly, not Helfrich, calls the plays), it’s hard to argue with the fact that the Ducks have gone 44-7 during that time period.
Greg Roman, 49ers OC – One of the motives behind Tedford’s firing was undoubtedly the rise of rival Stanford, which beat Cal the last three years by an average score of 32-16, so why not bring in one of the coaches that helped lead the Cardinal’s resurgence in Roman, who spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as Stanford’s offensive coordinator. Although Roman may have his sights set on landing a head coaching job in the NFL, the Cal job may be one that could tempt Roman in leaving the city by the bay.
Mike Belotti, former Oregon HC – Out of coaching since the 2008 season, it’s beginning to look more and more like Belotti, who posted a 116-55 in fourteen seasons as the Oregon HC, really is done coaching. However, it could just be that he is waiting on the right opportunity to return to the sidelines, since most of the jobs that he has been rumored to be interested in are sub-par (Colorado two years comes to mind). I’ve honestly gotten to the point where I think Belotti is comfortable just working as an analyst, but that doesn’t mean him leaving for Berkley would catch me off guard.
Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State HC – A former Air Force linebacker from Long Beach, DeRuyter has made a name for himself in his first season as Bulldogs head coach, leading Fresno State to a 8-3 record. Although the lack of head coaching experience may in fact make him a longshot for this job, DeRuyter has proven over his tenures as defensive coordinator at Nevada, Air Force, and Texas A&M that he knows how to get the job done and that more times than not his teams do so.
Hue Jackson, former Raiders HC – How did the new Oakland brass reward Jackson for posting an 8-8 record in his first season as head coach? They made the obvious Oakland move: they fired him. Now serving as the Bengals’ secondary coach, Jackson does have a California connection, as he was the Bears offensive coordinator in Steve Mariccui’s lone season as head coach in 1996. In my eyes Jackson got a raw deal in Oakland, so hopefully another head coaching opportunity like this one will become available for him to prove what he’s really worth to a team.