FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Fresno State hired former California coach Jeff Tedford on Thursday to take over the struggling Bulldogs program.
A news conference will be held Friday to officially introduce Tedford as the replacement for the recently fired Tim DeRuyter. Tedford will take over after the season concludes with interim coach Eric Kiesau keeping his duties for the final two games for the Bulldogs (1-9).
"Jeff possesses all the qualities we were looking for in a head coach," athletic director Jim Bartko said. "First and foremost, integrity, plus a great football mind and the ability to come in and hit the ground running. When you have the opportunity to hire someone who knows this valley and is Bulldog Born, Bulldog Bred, there is not a better choice."
Tedford has deep ties to Fresno State. He played quarterback there in the 1980s under Jim Sweeney and coached under Sweeney from 1987-88 and 1992-96. He stayed on the staff for one more year under Pat Hill in 1997 before becoming offensive coordinator at Oregon and then head coach at Cal.
"Coming to Fresno State is coming home for myself and my family," he said. "To have this special opportunity to return to my coaching roots is truly a dream come true. Our mission will be to grow and develop young people to reach their full potential in all areas ... academically, athletically, socially and spiritually ... to compete at high levels in the classroom and on the field while doing so with great character and high integrity. I look forward to reconnecting with all the past players and supporters to help bring the program back to prominence."
After taking over a one-win team at Cal following the 2001 season, Tedford quickly built the Bears into a contender. Cal finished the 2004 season ranked ninth in the country as Tedford helped develop quarterback Aaron Rodgers into a first-round pick.
"Coach Tedford is one of the finest minds that I have ever been around," Rodgers said. "I felt that right away when I got to Cal, and I was very fortunate to be able to spend two years working together. ... Coach put me in a great position to play my best ball there and then to move on and have an opportunity in the NFL."
Tedford had an 82-57 record in 11 seasons at Cal and was fired after going 3-9 in 2012. He was hired as offensive coordinator by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014 but had health issues in the preseason and eventually left without coaching a game. He spent the 2015 season in the CFL as head coach in British Columbia and has been an offensive consultant at Washington this season for Chris Petersen.
DeRuyter was fired last month following a 1-7 start in his fifth season. He won Mountain West titles in each of his first two seasons but struggled after star quarterback Derek Carr left for the NFL.