BERKELEY – Sonny Dykes, who has overseen the Golden Bear football program for the past four seasons, has been relieved of his duties as head football coach at the University of California, Director of Athletics Mike Williams announced Sunday.
Over his four seasons as head coach, Dykes led the Bears to a 19-30 record. After a 1-11 mark his first season in 2013, Cal improved to 5-7 in 2014 and finished 8-5 during a 2015 campaign that ended with an Armed Forces Bowl victory over Air Force. Under his direction, quarterback Jared Goff set 26 school records and was chosen as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
This past fall, the Bears posted a 5-7 record with wins against ranked opponents Texas and Utah, as well as victories over Oregon and UCLA. The Bears ranked fourth nationally in passing offense and 10th in total offense, but were 125th in total defense and 127th in scoring defense.
In the classroom, Dykes engineered a turnaround with improved Academic Progress Rate (APR) results. After successive one-year scores under 930 in the two years before Dykes arrived on campus, the past three rates for the football program have been 969, 946 and 997 to lift the squad's four-year APR average to 960 – its highest since 2008-09. Cal's 997 APR for the 2014-15 academic year tied for the highest in the Pac-12.
Williams said that offensive coordinator Jake Spavital will serve as interim head coach.
Statement from Director of Athletics 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.
Statement from Chancellor Nicholas Dirks:
I have been in close contact with Director of Athletics Mike Williams in recent days about this matter. I fully support his decision and am convinced that it is in the best interests of our student-athletes, the program, and the University.
Sonny Dykes Year by Year at Cal
Year (Overall Record, Pac-12 Record, Highlights)
2013 (1-11, 0-9)
2014 (5-7, 3-6)
2015 (8-5, 4-5, Armed Forces Bowl)
2016 (5-7, 3-6)
Totals (19-30, 10-26)