Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour sent the following letter to donors and football season-ticket holders explaining the decision to fire football coach Jeff Tedford Tuesday morning.
Dear Donors and Season Ticket Holders:
This morning I met with Coach Jeff Tedford as we continued conversations about the state of Cal football and how we can, collectively, as a football program, an athletics administration and a campus community, redirect both our competitive and academic performance. Throughout the course of the conversation, it became evident that there was not a clear, direct or expeditious path to reversing worrisome trends. Therefore, I informed Coach Tedford that I have decided the time has come to seek new leadership for the Cal football program. This decision was not made lightly, or easily, and comes only after careful consideration and complex evaluation of our football program. After weighing all of the variables and extensive consultation with Chancellor Birgeneau and Vice Chancellor Wilton it is evident that this level of change is what is needed and is in the best interest of Cal.
This should not be seen as a refutation of Coach Tedford's passion, commitment and skills. I believe he still has the same set of extraordinary personal and professional tools that allowed him to compile an unbelievable record of accomplishment during his 11 seasons at Cal - his near miraculous resurrection of a program in a state of collapse; two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year; Pac-10 conference championship; eight bowl-game appearances; and more wins than any coach in Cal history. Additionally, I can't even begin to quantify what his patience and perseverance meant to our campus community as we endured repeated delays on the way to a new Memorial Stadium and modern training facilities. Jeff has earned a permanent place in the legacy of Cal football. However, as we have all seen sports, there comes a time when the needs of a team or a program no longer align with the tangible and intangible attributes of a particular head coach, no matter how talented and committed he may be.
Throughout this evaluation process, our focus has been on our student-athletes. We are all here to provide young people with what they need to fully realize their potential. Every professor, coach and staff member on this campus has a responsibility to provide them with what they require to excel, to learn and to grow. When Chancellor Birgeneau talks about comprehensive excellence as one of Berkeley's defining attributes, he means it....and we live by it. It is imperative that Cal football be recognized as a leader in academic accomplishment, competitive success and community engagement.
As hard as it has been to watch our student-athletes struggle on the field, the team's continuing decline in academic performance is of great concern. As recent NCAA data show, Cal football is now last in the Pac-12 in terms of the team's graduation rate: 48% compared to Stanford's conference-leading 90%. In fact, the other metric used by the NCAA to measure academic performance, the Academic Progress Rate (APR), is, in some ways even more sobering. The football team's APR performance has now declined to the point where we are dangerously close to being disqualified from postseason play in the future.
I understand that cynics may conclude that this decision was driven solely by financial issues, and while revenue implications are one consideration, I'm here to say nothing can be further from the truth. I take very seriously the responsibility of providing our student-athletes with nothing but the finest of resources, and my experience as a coach and leader in intercollegiate athletics teaches me that if you establish and sustain the conditions student-athletes need to succeed, it creates a foundation from which all success can follow....academic success, wins, postseason play and ticket sales.
I realize that this decision will be met with varying levels of support, but I know we can all agree that Cal is parting ways with a very good man who has done remarkable things for our campus, our intercollegiate program and our team. However, my responsibilities to our students and the university as a whole has forced me to evaluate whether or not the team's current leadership is in a position to make the changes necessary to turn things around. At the end of the day, I'm confident that this is the best decision for Cal and our student-athletes.
Jeff Tedford has served this university admirably and I will forever be indebted for his commitment, expertise and unflagging effort. I know the entire Cal community will join me in thanking Jeff for changing the face of Cal football.
My staff and I are now turning our attention to the future as we begin to explore and assess possible candidates for the position of head football coach. As that effort begins, we will seek ideas and input from many areas. As a first step, we are convening an advisory group of key stakeholders who we will turn to for guidance in terms of the professional profile, experience and personal attributes we should be looking for in potential candidates.
I know we are all proud of Cal's intercollegiate athletics program that together we have built and sustained. I will continue to honor that support with an undiminished commitment to, and passion for, the pursuit of even greater achievements in the future.
Director of Athletics