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Jake Spavital Named Cal's Offensive Coordinator

Former Texas State head coach was Cal's offensive coordinator in 2016 under Sonny Dykes
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Jake Spavital, who was Cal's offensive coordinator under Sonny Dykes and was the Bears interim head coach briefly, will return to Cal to be the Bears' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Head coach Justin Wilcox made the announcement of Spavital's hiring on Tuesday.

This is a critical hire for Wilcox, whose offense in his six seasons at Cal has been poor, holding back the progress of the program. Beau Baldwin was Wilcox's first offensive coordinator and was replaced by Bill Musgrave, who was dismissed with two games left in the 2022 season. 

Now the 37-year-old Spavital will come in hoping to energize Cal's offense, which ranked 10th in the Pac-12 this past season in both total offense and scoring offense, averaging 23.9 points per game.

Spavital was the Bears' offensive coordinator in 2016 when quarterback Davis Webb set several school records while ranking fourth in the nation in passing offense and 10th in total offense.

That season, running Dykes' spread offense, the Bears led the Pac-12 and were 10th in the country in total offense, averaging 513.2 yards per game.  They ranked third in the Pac-12 in scoring (37.1 points per game) that season.

Presumably Cal will be running a spread offense under Spavital, a change from the pro-style offense run by Musgrave.

Jack Plummer, who was Cal's starting quarterback in all 12 games, has one year of college eligibility remaining, but has not said whether he will return for the 2023 season.  He said late in the season that Cal's choice of the new offensive coordinator would affect his decision.

"Jake is an elite offensive coordinator and recruiter with a terrific record of success in producing top-notch offenses and developing outstanding quarterbacks," Wilcox said in a statement. "We are excited to have Jake return to Cal and lead our staff on the offensive side of the ball."

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the culture Justin Wilcox and his staff have created at Cal," Spavital said in a statement. "I got a taste of the potential this program has when I was in Berkeley previously, and I'm looking forward to bringing everything I can to the table to help us maximize that potential. We have a bunch of talented playmakers already on the roster, and I can't wait to get to work with them and bring more talent in to join them."

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Spavital spent the past four seasons as the head coach at Texas State, which went 3-9, 2-10, 4-8 and 4-8 in his four seasons before being fired from that position on Nov. 27. Texas State averaged 21.1 points in 2022, and that ranked 13th in the 14-team Sun Belt Conference.

Before that he was the offensive coordintor and quarterbacks coach at West Virginia for two seasons (2017 and 2018) after his one season at Cal.

After Dykes was fired on Jan. 8, 2017, Spavital was named the Bears' interim head coach, but he held that job for just six days before Wilcox was named Cal's head coach on Jan. 14.

Before coming to Cal, Spavital spent one season (2013) as Texas A&M's offensive cordinator.  He was quarterbacks coach in an earlier stint at West Virginia for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Spavital has recruited and worked with several high-profile quarterbacks who later played in the NFL: Will Grier (West Virginia), Case Keenum (Houston), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Kyler Murray (Texas A&M), Geno Smith (West Virginia) and Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State). 

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Cover photo of Jake Spavital is by John Glaser, USA TODAY Sports

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