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BERKELEY -- After uncertainty swirling on Monday, following a Sunday meeting with athletic director Sandy Barbour, the University of California has finally decided to end the tenure of head football coach Jeff Tedford, who has overseen the Golden Bears program for the past 11 seasons. A release by the athletic department indicated that he was "relieved of his duties," and he informed the team in a 10 a.m. meeting this morning.
"This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, one that required a thorough and thoughtful analysis of a complex set of factors," Barbour said in a statement. "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.
"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 2002-12 and made eight bowl games, including three visits to the Holiday Bowl, where the Bears went 1-2, including a 21-10 loss to Texas in 2011. During his first season in Berkeley, Tedford brought Cal back from a 1-10 season to go 7-5, earning him the conference's Coach of the Year award. The Bears won 10 games in two different seasons under his direction, finishing 10-2 in 2004 (another Coach-of-the-Year season) and 10-3 in 2006. 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. Tedford has also lost more games than any previous Bears skipper, with 57.
Tedford 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 -- who went on the record earlier last week to stump for his old coach -- 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.
Former Detroit Lions and Cal linebacker Zach Follett tweeted after hearing the news, "Much respect to Coach Tedford for what He did for California football and the trust He had in myself to make me a Bear! #Legend #CalFamily"
After such great early success under Tedford, the on-field and academic results have fallen in recent years, Cal said in a statement. 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.
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VIDEO: Athletic Director Sandy Barbour talked the future of the Cal program and Tedford on Sunday