UC Berkeley fires head football coach Sonny Dykes

Sonny Dykes has been fired as head football coach at Cal, sources have confirmed to ESPN. But there will surely be some bigger names rumored to be attached to the position. But that's the obvious implication - especially since Cal plays in the same conference where Kelly rose to prominence with Oregon. The Niners, of course, play just across the bay from Cal, adding fuel to the Kelly talk. In 2016, the Golden Bears finished fifth in the Pac-12 North division. College football signing day is February 1.

"This was an extremely hard decision and one that we take very seriously", California athletic director Mike Williams said in a statement, via the Golden Bears' team website. We are continuously evaluating our program and looking for ways to make it better - whether that's through additional academic support, recruiting, facilities, staffing, culture, leadership or anything else that can help our football program succeed.

"I think, if we have that same commitment in football, we'll have championship football teams". "We believe that this change will reinvigorate the program, stimulate lagging ticket sales and renewals and energize our donor base". Despite the Bulldogs' lackluster defenses, that season propelled Dykes to the job at Cal as Jeff Tedford's replacement in 2013. The Bears went 8-5 in 2015 with future No. 1 NFL Draft pick Jared Goff at quarterback.

The Bears ranked fourth nationally in passing offense and 10th in total offense, but were 125th in total defense and 127th in scoring defense.

According to Fox Sports, Cal fired Dykes following a 5-7 season in which the Bears struggled after having to replace Jared Goff, who went first to the LA Rams in last year's National Football League draft. This year, they gave up 42.6 points per game, second-worst nationally.

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Further complicating the firing is the fragile financial state of the California Athletic department.

Dykes has been the head coach at Cal for the last four seasons. Dykes was set to make $2.8m in 2018, and $2.875m in 2019. He was previously the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and Arizona.

A Badgers assistant is reportedly a top candidate for the open Cal job.

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It's historically been a tough job, though, and Cal will probably be prepared to settle for a name not almost as big as Kelly.

"We'd like to have a head coach as soon as possible, but we will be thoughtful and thorough in our search", Williams said.

  • Regina Holmes