Cal is looking for a new coach after firing Jeff Tedford. With hundreds of millions in debt to pay off, after stadium and facility upgrades, a 2-9 vs. FBS season and a 62-14 loss to Oregon State were untenable. With those upgrades, the Pac 12 TV deal, a fertile recruiting ground and less stringent academic standards than Stanford, it could be an attractive job. Oakland is one of Gruden’s top football destinations, though we suspect Cal might get outbid. Here’s a look at eight realistic targets.
Chris Petersen [Boise State] The dream hire. Petersen is from Northern California. There has been speculation he has a short list of West Coast stops he would consider leaving Boise State for. It’s not clear whether Cal is on that list. With the new postseason system stacked even more against Boise State and the Broncos not even sure what conference to join, perhaps now might be the time to relocate? It’s worth a phone call or five.
Ron Rivera [Carolina Panthers] Cal might decide only a “Cal Man” can coach Cal men properly. Rivera was an All-American linebacker there in the 1980s. Rivera should be available when Carolina fires him at the end of the season. Would Cal wait until January, though?
Hue Jackson [Cincinnati Bengals] Jackson’s name has been popping up among Cal insiders. He’s a California native who had success as an offensive coordinator at multiple Pac-12 stops, including Cal in 1996. He has been in the NFL for more than a decade, but has much more of a college track record than Jim Mora had before UCLA hired him.
Greg Roman [San Francisco 49ers] Jim Harbaugh’s right hand man. Roman has had success with Harbaugh at Stanford and now with San Francisco. He would be a popular choice. He has “never been a head coach before,” though the same could be said of any coach at one point.
Sonny Dykes [Louisiana Tech] Cal needs to sell tickets, in the same conference with Chip Kelly (for now), Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach. Dykes had success as an offensive coordinator in the Pac 10 at Arizona under Mike Stoops. If he’s willing to come West, he would be worth a look.
Mike Macintyre [San Jose State] Macintyre is local and has had success. He built the Spartans from a one-win team in his first year, to a potential 10-win team in just two seasons. He put up a far better fight against Stanford at the Farm this season than Cal did at home.
Gary Andersen [Utah State] Andersen is having a stellar fourth season at Utah State. His losses in some cases have been more impressive than his wins. He just signed an extension with Utah State through 2018. He should get a shot at a bigger job. The question is whether this would be the right opportunity at the right time.
Willie Taggart [Western Kentucky] Taggart is a hot coaching candidate, who should be on many radars. He’s a Harbaugh disciple. He also should have California recruiting connections from his time at Stanford. The question is whether he wants to move back out west or stay closer to home (Western Kentucky alum).
[Photo via Presswire]