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Former Cal Coach Jeff Tedford Hired as Fresno State Coach; QB Jake Haener Returns to Bulldogs

Fresno State introduces new coach, and Haener removes his name from transfer portal

Fresno State reached a deal on Tuesday to bring former Cal coach Jeff Tedford back as the Bulldogs' head coach,and the school officially announced the hiring of Tedford during a Wednesday press conference.

It was a double dose of good news for Fresno State on Wednesday as later that day quarterback Jake Haener removed his name from the transfer portal.

When Haener put his name into the transfer portal two weeks ago, it was assumed he would follow former Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer to Washington, where DeBoer is now the head coach. But when Tedford was hired, Haener decided to stay in Fresno.  Tedford was Fresno State's head coach when Haener transferred from Washington to Fresno State in September 2019. Presumably Haener will be the Bulldogs' quarterback for their Dec. 18 game against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.

Haener played one season under Tedford and the next two under DeBoer at Fresno State. This season Haener was a second-team all-Mountain West selection after throwing 32 touchdown passes with nine interceptions for the Bulldogs, who are 9-3.

Tedford will take over after the New Mexico Bowl.  Running backs coach Lee Marks will serve as the Bulldogs' head coach against UTEP. 

Tedford is an alumnus of Fresno State and was the Bulldogs' head coach for three season from 2017 to 2019 before retiring for health reasons. Heart problems have affected Tedford's coaching career several times, and he told Cal Sports Report in August that he is retired from coaching. But he also said in that interview that he was 100 percent healthy.

A few weeks ago, the 60-year-old Tedford expressed interest in returning coaching.

He had a 26-14 record in his three seasons as Fresno State's head coach, and he won a Mountain West conference title in 2018.

Tedford was the head coach at Cal for 11 seasons from 2002 through 2012, and he had an 82-57 record with the Bears before he was fired following the 2012 season.

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During his time in Berkeley, Cal went to eight bowl games and finished ranked in the AP top-25 three times, including a No. 9 ranking in 2004.  The Bears tied USC for the Pac-10 championship in 2006, the only time since 1958 that Cal claimed a conference title in football.

At Cal, Tedford coached such NFL players as Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, Cameron Jordan, Marvin Jones Jr., Keenan Allen and DeSean Jackson

Apparently salary was the only sticking point in Fresno State's negotiations with Tedford, and it appears that has been settled.

Fresno State was prepared to increase the base pay of coach Kalen DeBoer before he departed for a opportunity at Washington. He was paid $1.35 million this season and his deal was scheduled to pay him $1.5 million in the final year of a five-year contract. 

A base salary that is slightly higher than that would make Tedford one of the highest paid coaches in the Mountain West Conference.

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Cover photo of Jeff Tedford by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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