Fresno State Football

New Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford emphasizes roots in his return to Bulldogs football

Jeff Tedford says he's ready to take charge of Fresno State football

Jeff Tedford, a former Fresno State Bulldog football player, was introduced as the team's new coach Friday, November 11, 2016. Tedford, a former Cal head coach and current consultant for the Washington program, said he's eager to get to work.
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Jeff Tedford, a former Fresno State Bulldog football player, was introduced as the team's new coach Friday, November 11, 2016. Tedford, a former Cal head coach and current consultant for the Washington program, said he's eager to get to work.

For Jeff Tedford, it was “a perfect fit at the exact right time,” a feeling that was shared by athletic director Jim Bartko and a search committee charged with finding Fresno State a football coach to reverse the fortunes of a foundering program.

In the end, Bartko said, it was unanimous.

So, the former Fresno State quarterback was introduced Friday as the Bulldogs’ next head coach, the 19th in school history, and right away he played up the Valley ties that were so critical to Bartko in finding a replacement for Tim DeRuyter.

We have one of the best football coaching minds in America that wanted to come home to Fresno State and that means a lot to me. Someone that wants to be here – not for a year, not for two years, not a steppingstone but to build his roots and bring this place back to what it needs to be.

Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko on the hiring of Jeff Tedford as the Bulldogs’ new football coach

In doing so, Tedford referenced an old Fresno State nemesis: Chris Petersen, who made life miserable for the Bulldogs as the Boise State coach from 2006-13. Now, Tedford works as a consultant under Petersen for a University of Washington team ranked No. 4 in the nation.

“What’s interesting, talking to Coach Petersen, when he first got to Boise their gold standard was Fresno State,” Tedford said. “OK, now, it has kind of flipped roles. But I absolutely know what it takes to get there and how we can get it done, and it starts with recruiting the Valley and making sure that we keep the guys in the Valley home that want to be here and keep the recruiting more on the West Coast.

“I kind of looked at the commitment list that’s there right now … Florida, Georgia and Texas. When I was here, I knew how this thing was built and it was built with blue-collar players who really appreciate the Valley and what Fresno State stands for and that pride and tradition. We’re going to start there, making sure we saturate the Valley with our coaches, reconnect and cultivate relationships with high school coaches and junior college coaches throughout and move forward from there.”

That was music to Bartko’s ears. The athletic director was working off a checklist that few candidates met – Valley roots, high on the list. Bartko declined to identify the finalists for the job, but sources said that former Boise State and Colorado coach Dan Hawkins was interviewed as was Oakland Raiders defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, another former Bulldog.

“We have one of the best football coaching minds in America that wanted to come home to Fresno State, and that means a lot to me,” Bartko said. “Someone that wants to be here – not for a year, not for two years, not a stepping stone but to build his roots and bring this place back to what it needs to be.”

I’m excited about the future. That bring said, there’s a tremendous amount of work to do in a lot of areas. Just to name a few, APR, recruiting ands scholarship numbers, absolutely. But I cannot wait to get after it.

Tedford on the promise and problems of the Fresno State football program

The details of the contract have not been finalized, but it will be a five-year deal with a base salary of $7.9 million and include what was described as a “healthy” incentives package that exceeds that given to DeRuyter, who went 30-30 and won two Mountain West Conference championships in four-plus seasons at Fresno State.

DeRuyter had bonuses available that maxed out at $1.685 million per year.

The package for Tedford will include the usual bonuses for wins, conference championship and bowl participation, NCAA-mandated Academic Progress Rate and also an attendance or ticket sales bonus.

Tedford returned to Seattle on a late afternoon flight – Washington plays USC on Saturday in a matchup critical to its chances of securing a spot in the college football playoff at the end of the season.

He is expected to return to Fresno for good on Tuesday and begin evaluating the Bulldogs’ program, which is in much better shape than it was five years ago when DeRuyter was hired – the recruiting budget and support staff have both grown during that span, for instance. But the program remains toward the bottom of the conference in a number of infrastructure areas – including recruiting budget.

“It’s a full-on evaluation of the program, from our players, our academics, what’s going on with our recruiting needs, staffing, the whole bit,” Tedford said.

I kind of looked at the commitment list that’s there right now … Florida, Georgia and Texas. When I was here, I knew how this thing was built and it was built with blue-collar players who really appreciate the Valley and what Fresno State stands for and that pride and tradition. We’re going to start there.

Tedford on his recruiting philosophy

Several Fresno State coaches have ties to the Bulldogs’ coach. Interim coach Eric Kiesau, who will lead the Bulldogs through their final two games this season against Hawaii on Nov. 19 and San Jose State on Nov. 26, worked for Tedford during his 2002-12 tenure at Cal. Receivers coach Burl Toler III played for Cal when Tedford was there.

But the Bulldogs’ new coach said that putting together a staff will be part of the evaluation process. He will have a salary pool for assistant coaches of around $1.6 million, which is what Fresno State is counting this season.

“I always carry a list of people that I feel are good fits for our program and the culture and environment that we will bring,” Tedford said. “That will be part of the whole thing. It’s high on the priority list.”

Recruiting and recruiting the Valley and California is, as well.

In 2011, the last season under Pat Hill, Fresno State had only seven out-of-state players on its roster. This season, the Bulldogs have 23 scholarship players from out-of-state high schools or junior colleges including 13 from Texas.

Fresno State under Tedford certainly will reverse that trend, recruiting to a multiple offense and 3-4 scheme on defense.

At Cal, Tedford started in a pro-style offense and later incorporated more spread.

“I don’t know that there’s a way you can really describe our offense,” Tedford said. “We never went completely to spread. We’re not going to be in shotgun every snap. We’re going to be probably 50-50, maybe a little more ’gun 60-40 depending on what we’re doing and who we’re playing. But it will be a wide open, diverse offense.”

And Tedford, 55, is ready to start in on a team that is 1-9 and 0-6 in the Mountain West this season and just 4-18 since playing in the conference championship game in 2014, with only two wins against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents.

“I’m excited about the future. That being said, there’s a tremendous amount of work to do in a lot of areas,” Tedford said. “Just to name a few, APR, recruiting and scholarship numbers, absolutely. But I cannot wait to get after it.”

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada

Fresno State football coaching history

Coach

Seasons

W

L

T

Arthur Jones

1921-28

36

26

7

Stanley Borleske

1929-32

16

17

2

Leo Harris

1933-35

18

9

1

James Bradshaw

1936-42, 1946

59

18

5

Earl Wright

1944

0

6

0

Alvin Pierson

1945, 1949

7

14

2

Ken Gleason

1947-48

6

12

3

Duke Jacobs

1950-51

7

11

1

Clark Van Galder

1952-58

46

22

2

Cecil Coleman

1959-63

37

13

0

Phil Krueger

1964-65

10

10

0

Darryl Rogers

1966-72

43

32

1

J.R. Boone

1973-75

10

24

0

Jim Sweeney

1976-77, 1980-96

143

75

3

Bob Padilla

1978-79

7

15

0

Pat Hill

1997-2011

112

80

0

Tim DeRuyter

2012-16

30

30

0

Eric Kiesau (interim)

2016

0

2

0

Source: Fresno State Note: No games played in 1943

Jeff Tedford’s coaching record

Year

School

W

L

Pct

AP preseason rank

AP high

AP post

Bowl

2002

Cal

7

5

.583

23

2003

Cal

8

6

.571

Insight Bowl-W

2004

Cal

10

2

.833

12

4

9

Holiday Bowl-L

2005

Cal

8

4

.667

19

10

25

Las Vegas Bowl-W

2006

Cal

10

3

.769

9

8

14

Holiday Bowl-W

2007

Cal

7

6

.538

12

2

Armed Forces Bowl-W

2008

Cal

9

4

.692

21

Emerald Bowl-W

2009

Cal

8

5

.615

12

6

Poinsettia Bowl-L

2010

Cal

5

7

.417

2011

Cal

7

6

.538

Holiday Bowl-L

2012

Cal

3

9

.250

Totals

82

57

.590

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