By John Crumpacker
In the two weeks since Jeff Tedford was fired as Cal’s head coach, the university has interviewed three candidates as possible replacements in Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes, Kent State’s Darrell Hazell and Cincinnati Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, with others likely to follow.
But a name familiar to local fans, Boise State’s Chris Petersen, still might be in play. From Cal’s perspective, he’s viewed as a dream candidate because he’s a California native and a graduate of the UC system, in this case Davis, and has an impeccable résumé as an offensive strategist.
And he is 83-8 in eight years with the Broncos, who will face Washington on Dec. 22 in the Las Vegas Bowl.
As for Dykes and Louisiana Tech, their season came to an abrupt end when the school waited too long to accept a bid to the Independence Bowl and then received no other invitations even though it has a 9-3 record and is the nation’s highest-scoring team.
So Dykes now has time to consider his coaching options. He is 22-15 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech, including 17-8 the past two years.
Hazell is 16-9 in two years at Kent State, including an 11-2 mark this season that boosted his reputation. His team plays Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.
If Hazell is hired by Cal, he would go from the Golden Flashes to the Golden Bears.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour said when Tedford was fired Nov. 20 that she wanted to have the next coach in place as soon as possible. That could come as soon as the end of this week, which would seem to eliminate former Cal linebacker Ron Rivera as a candidate, because as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, he still has a month left in his season.
Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, another Jim Harbaugh protege, is known to be interested in the Cal job. What’s not known is if he has been or is scheduled to be interviewed.
Days after firing Tedford, Barbour convened a campus committee composed of two non-football coaches, two administrators, two current football players, two prominent alums and representatives from the faculty and Academic Senate to develop a profile for the head football coach.
Two of the qualities discussed were a need for greater discipline and enhanced academic performance by the team. Barbour hired the executive search firm DHR International to assist in the search.