California fires Sonny Dykes

In perhaps the biggest stunner of the 2016-17 cycle, Cal has extended that cycle by firing Sonny Dykes as head coach.

Dykes went 19-30 in four seasons as a head coach, rising from a 1-11 debut season of 2013 to an 8-5 campaign with No. 1 pick Jared Goff in ’15. The Bears went 5-7 this season.

Off the field, Dykes inherited a disastrous APR, with multiple 1-year scores under 930 — the pass/fail line for APR scores — and rose Cal’s grades to a 997, the highest score in the Pac-12.

But things deteriorated behind the scenes to a point where Cal felt necessary to make Sunday’s surprise change.

Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital will serve as interim head coach.

Here’s the statement from AD Mike Williams:

This was an extremely difficult decision and one that we take very seriously. There was no rush to judgment; we wanted to be thorough and thoughtful. Ultimately, it was a combination of factors that brought us to this outcome. 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. Primarily, we want what’s best for our student-athletes and have a head coach in place who is fully committed to our program and our university.

Coach Dykes clearly built up our program – both on the field and in the classroom – and he leaves Cal in a stronger position than when he arrived. For that alone, he deserves credit and our thanks. After our bowl win last season, we showed our commitment to him with a contract extension. But after looking at a number of factors after the end of this season, I felt that we needed a change of direction for the good of our student-athletes and our program.

I understand that the timing may not be ideal – it rarely is. We did not want to make this decision until we were ready and did so for the health of our football program and department. Our objective is long-term financial sustainability for our department. In order to do this, we understand that investing in football is critical. We believe that this change will reinvigorate the program, stimulate lagging ticket sales and renewals, and energize our donor base.

Football is very important to our department and it is essential that we provide the resources necessary to hire the right head coach and staff. We have invested in our football program and will continue to do so as necessary. Over the past few years, we have also added additional support personnel in virtually every area that touches the program to ensure our student-athletes have what they need to succeed on the field and in the classroom. We want to win championships. The success of our football program is vital to both our department and our university community, and its influence can be felt well beyond Berkeley.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.