NCAA

Cal announces dismissal of head coach Sonny Dykes

dykes.jpg

Cal announces dismissal of head coach Sonny Dykes

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)

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

barcelona-ap.jpg
AP

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

cal-us.jpg
USATSI

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
 
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
 
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
 
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
 
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
 
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.