Athletics Director holds press conference following firing of head football coach

Kelly Fang/Senior Staff

Related Posts

Directly on the heels of her decision to fire Jeff Tedford, Athletics Director Sandy Barbour addressed the media Tuesday afternoon in Haas Pavilion.

In the Haas Club Room, Barbour elaborated on the process leading up to the decision, as well as what Cal will look for in its next head coach.

“I informed Jeff this morning that we would be seeking to hire new football coach,” Barbour said in her opening remarks.

Her decision was the result of repeated meetings with Tedford, as well as Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Vice-Chancellor of Finance and Administration John Wilton.

Barbour and Tedford first met Sunday afternoon to discuss the current state of the program and what steps would be necessary to ensure success for Cal in the future.

They again met on Monday, this time with Birgeneau and Wilton. According to Barbour, by Tuesday morning she had formed her decision and met with Tedford to inform him that he would no longer be head coach of the Cal football program.

Barbour acknowledged Tedford’s place as one of Cal’s great coaches.

He was the winningest coach in Cal history and amassed an 82-57 record in his 11 seasons with the Bears.

“Jeff is a good man who has brought great success and celebrity to this university and who deserves to occupy place of honor in the Cal family,” Barbour said.

However, as Barbour affirmed, Cal’s 3-9 record this season — coupled with the lowest graduation rate in the Pac-12 — was a cause for concern of the current state of the program.

“I have an obligation to do what’s right for Cal,” Barbour said.

In the end, the right move for Cal was letting Tedford go.

However, Barbour said that Tedford maintained an air of professionalism throughout the process.

“Jeff has been a complete class act through every bit of it,” said said.

But the primary focus of the press conference was a look-ahead to the process of hiring a new head coach.

The Athletic Department hired a head-hunting firm, DHR International, to aid Cal in its search.

In addition to using an outside firm, the Cal administration will compile a committee of community members to aid in the search and provide input unrelated to candidate-specific information.

A main concern during the coaching change is the financial implication. Tedford’s most recent contract does not contain a buyout clause, so Cal will be responsible for the $5.4 million remaining on his contract until its expiration in 2015.

In regards to fiscal concerns, Barbour added that funding for both Tedford’s contract and that of the new head coach will not come from student fees or state funds; rather, funding will be entirely self-generated revenue from the athletics department.

Barbour already has a list of qualifications for the next head coach, with four main characteristics at the forefront: athletic success, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal responsibility. According to Barbour, Birgeneau shares this vision.

Notably missing from that list is a high level of expertise in the sport of football.

“You noticed I haven’t said anything about football,” Barbour said. “Obviously that’s part of it, but it’s not at the top of the list.”

Barbour also hopes to find someone “who understands the importance of academics and can navigate through that.”

As Barbour asserted throughout the press conference, Cal is an institution that strives for both academic and athletic excellence.

The team achieves athletic excellence through “wins in the win column,” according to Barbour.

Academic achievement will hopefully reverse the low graduation rates the team has experienced since 2002.

So far, Cal has retained five assistant coaches: Ashley Ambrose (defensive backs), Ron Gould (associate head coach), Marcus Arroyo (pass game/quarterbacks), Wes Chandler (wide receivers) and Jim Michalczik (offensive coordinator).

According to Barbour, Cal had already seen “great interest” for the position Tuesday and in previous weeks.

When asked about the timeline for choosing a new head coach, Barbour said that the decision will hopefully happen “as expeditiously as we possibly can. Timing is of the essence.”

Annie Gerlach is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected]