Written by: Kyle Andrews – Staff Writing Intern (@)
In a highly surprising move, the California Golden Bears football team has fired head coach Sonny Dykes. The move was first reported by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 8, 2017
Over the course of four seasons, Dykes led Cal to a 19-30 record and a .388 winning percentage. He only reached one bowl game in 2015 against Air Force.
According to Feldman, the firing was due to the fact that Dykes showed a lack of commitment to the program:
“Dykes has interviewed for several head coaching jobs in each of the past few seasons — at Houston after the 2014 season; at Mizzou, among others, last season; and then again this past season for the Baylor job, which sources tell FOX didn’t sit well with the Cal administration or the players.”
Feldman would continue to say that Cal would find a replacement by the end of the week before recruiting. They have already found that replacement according to Kyle Bonagura of ESPN, at least for the time being:
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) January 8, 2017
Jake Spavital, who is only 31 years old, will become Cal’s interim head coach. He served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Golden Bears during the 2016 season. Spavital also coached at Texas A&M in the same role from 2013-2015.
California hasn’t chosen their full-time head coach just yet. There are a number of names that are still available including Les Miles and Chip Kelly. If Cal were to make such a splash hire, it could possibly change their fortunes in a Pacific-12 conference that has the likes of the Colorado Buffaloes, Washington Huskies, Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans, Washington State Beavers, and the Utah Utes who all reached bowl games in the 2016 season.
Kelly was just recently fired by the San Francisco 49ers and this move would make a great deal of sense. His acumen for recruiting in the Pac-12 is almost unrivaled as well. Many people may doubt his abilities as a head coach in the NFL, but he has been fantastic as a college football coach. He also holds a 46-7 record as a college head coach (.868 winning percentage).
As for Miles, it was rumored that he was a candidate for the Minnesota Golden Gophers head coaching vacancy. However, P.J. Fleck, the former head coach of Western Michigan, was tabbed as the head coach for Minnesota. Miles holds a record of 142-55 as a head coach (.721). He was just fired by the LSU Tigers, who he brought a national title to in 2007.
Miles spoke about returning to a Power 5 conference school:
“There are a number of great jobs out there, and I’m not limiting myself [to Power 5 programs],” Miles said Friday. “But I do want the opportunity to build, I want to stay there some time, and I want to win championships. That’s pretty simple.”
These are just a few of the big moves that Cal could make. Will these coaches make them and return to the days of Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers, and Desean Jackson? Only time will tell.