Dec. 12, 2001
BERKELEY - Jeff Tedford, highly-regarded offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the nationally No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks, has been named head football coach at the University of California, the Bears' Athletic Director Steve Gladstone announced today.
Tedford, 40, has earned a national reputation as one of the bright young minds and developers of quarterbacks in college football today. During his 14-year coaching career with Oregon (1998-2001), Fresno State (1992-97) and the CFL's Calgary Stampeders (1989-91), he has devised record-setting offenses at every stop. Under his tutelage, such quarterbacks as Akili Smith and Trent Dilfer have blossomed into high first-round NFL draft picks, and Joey Harrington emerged as a Heisman Trophy finalist this year.
It is with great excitement and satisfaction that we make this announcement today," said Gladstone. "As we went through this arduous six-week national search that involved many outstanding candidates, it became clearer and clearer every day that Jeff Tedford was the right man for this job. Jeff has been successful everywhere he's coached. We believe he's now ready to succeed as a head coach and restore the great football tradition at the University of California."
A native of Lynwood, Calif., Tedford has played an integral role on Mike Bellotti's staff at Oregon during the past four seasonsa period in which the Ducks have posted the Pac-10's best record of 37-10 in finishing progressively better each year (8-4 in '98, 9-3 in '99, 10-2 in '00 and 10-1 this season). Under his direction, the 2001 Pac-10 champions ranked second in rushing offense (196.5 ypg) and third in both scoring (34.0 ppg) and total offense (430.2 ypg) among conference schools.
Oregon, which plays Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day, also led the Pac-10 in red zone offense (37-of-39, 94.9%) and committed the fewest turnovers (11) in NCAA Division 1-A. Tedford's offense, triggered by Heisman candidate Harrington and two of the league's top six rushers in Maurice Morris (96.0 ypg) and Onterrio Smith (91.5 ypg), reeled off 550 yards or more three times in 2001, including 607 yards against Arizona.
Jeff has been extremely instrumental in building one of the finest football programs in the country at Oregon," Gladstone added. "His experience in the Pac-10 and on the West Coast will also serve him and the Bears program well."
In 1992 as quarterbacks coach at Fresno State, Tedford began honing the skills of Dilfer. Under his guidance, the Bulldogs' quarterback earned first team All-WAC honors for a team offense that led the nation in scoring (44.2 points per game), ranked second nationally in total offense (541.9) and beat Southern California in the Freedom Bowl that year. A season later, Tedford moved up to offensive coordinator, and Fresno State ranked third nationally in scoring and total offense in earning an Aloha Bowl invitation. Dilfer ranked first nationally in passing (173.1) and won the WAC Offensive Player of the Year award, and the Bulldog QB later was chosen by Tampa Bay with the sixth selection of the 1994 NFL Draft.
"It's a long time coming," said Dilfer, now with the Seattle Seahawks. "I believe Jeff's one of the finest minds in all of football. He's certainly the finest coach I've ever been around. He's a great leader and great teacher. He has very high expectations for himself and the people around him. And he will work tirelessly to meet those expectations. Jeff taught me more about toughness and the game of football as any coach I've ever played for, and I've had some awfully good coaches. To this day, I still consult him on all major issues that I'm facing in football.'
Tedford made an immediate impact in Oregon when he joined Bellotti in 1998. That first season as offensive coordinator, the Ducks set school records in yards passing (3,856), total offense (5,795) and points scored (473). Tedford's passing acumen was clearly evident in the rapid development of Smith, who earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year accolades in finishing second in the nation in passing efficiency and later being chosen third in the 1999 NFL Draft by Cincinnati. That '98 Oregon club ranked seventh in scoring and 10th in total offense nationally, appearing in the Aloha Bowl.
Cal's new coach continued to work his magic in Eugene during the past three seasons. Duck quarterbacks A.J. Feeley and Harrington combined to pass for 3,131 yards and 24 TDs on the Sun Bowl champion team that ranked 13th nationally in scoring in '99, while the 2000 team tied for the Pac-10 crown and defeated Texas in the Holiday Bowl. This year's Oregon squad, which bagged wins over Washington State, UCLA and Wisconsin en route to a No. 2 ranking, showcased one of the nation's premier quarterbacks in Harrington, who won Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors and a fourth-place finish in the Heisman balloting.
Tedford also enjoyed a remarkable playing career, both on the collegiate and professional levels. During his days at Fresno State, he established several passing records, including career marks for passing yardage (4,872) and touchdown passes (35), while earning honorable mention All-America notice in 1982 when he set school standards for yards passing (2,993) and TD passes (24).
"He's the full package," said Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos of the departing Tedford. "Jeff is more than ready to take on the challenge of being a head coach. He is very much respected in the coaching profession and in our community. He's an excellent recruiter and very good at speaking in front of people. I think he can motivate people to rally around the program."
After receiving a B.S. degree in physical education from Fresno State in 1983, Tedford played pro football in the Canadian Football League for six seasons with Hamilton, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. He completed 54 percent of his passes during his career, appearing in the league's championship game with Hamilton in 1984.
Tedford's coaching career began as a volunteer assistant at Fresno State in 1987, spending two years there before joining Calgary in the CFL in 1989. He served as an offensive assistant with the Stampeders for three seasons, including the 1991 team, which advanced to the Grey Cup title game.
Prior to earning his degree at Fresno State, Tedford attended Warren High School in Downey, Calif., and Cerritos College in Southern California. He and his wife, Donna, have two sons, Taylor (14) and Quinn (12).
Tedford becomes the 32nd head football coach in Cal's 119-year history. He replaces Tom Holmoe, who resigned Nov. 4 but finished coaching the Golden Bears' 1-10 season.