SJSU introduces Ron Caragher as head football coach

caragher_ron_san_diego.jpg

SJSU introduces Ron Caragher as head football coach

A week after coach Mike MacIntyre left SJSU to take the same position at Colorado, the Spartans have found their replacement.

Ron Caragher, who coached the University of San Diego to a 44-22 record and three conference championships over the past six seasons, signed a five-year contract to become SJSU’s new head coach, director of athletics Gene Bleymaier announced Monday.

“Every athletic director is always combing the country looking for the next bright star and this was no different,” Bleymaier said Monday. “I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to follow coach Caragher’s career for some time and he’s always been on the radar and somebody that I hoped I would have the opportunity to hire at some point in time. Little did I know that it would happen as quickly as it did.”

Caragher, a native of Morgan Hill, Calif., went to high school at Bellarmine in San Jose and called his hiring a “homecoming.”

“I used to attend Spartan football camps in the Summer time and I used to come to San Jose State football games,” he said. “As a high school player, I played some games in Spartan Stadium so coming back here is really exciting to me.”

He wasted little time before thanking MacIntyre for bringing the program to what it is today: A top-25 school in all three major college football polls.

“I’d like to thank coach MacIntyre and his staff of outstanding coaches, the team and the foundation they laid,” Carragher said. “To have this program going in the right direction, they’ve definitely raised the bar, which is something that I embrace and as Gene eluded to there are some big shoes and you know what I love it. I embrace challenges and opportunity.

“This is special place, a lineage of great coaches at San Jose State University. Bill Walsh, Dick Vermiel — two guys that are the greatest coaches in the history of the sport.”

Caragher replaced current San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh as coach of USD in 2007, something Bleymaier said was a plus for the man replacing MacIntyre, who led the team to its best season in 25 years.

“This is not new for him to follow a good coach,” Bleymaier said. “He’s following a very good coach in coach Mac, who has brought this program to a new level.”

Bleymaier said Carragher was chosen from a “deep pool” full of qualified candidates and added that he is excited with the decision.

“I couldn’t feel any better,” Bleymaier said. “I had a list of tremendous coaches that I was interested in, I thought the search committee would be interested in. We were definitely prepared. We weren’t surprised to lose Coach Mac. We were sad and it was unfortunate but not unexpected.

“We had a good list and when you get to that level, they’re all good but coach Caragher distinguished himself.”

Caragher said cornerstones to his coaching style are enthusiasm and work ethic and with that mindset the sky is the limit for SJSU football.

“Look out teams because we’re excited,” he said. “San Jose State football is on the rise.”

Junior quarterback David Fales, who led Division I in passing percentage during the regular season, said he is excited to learn from Caragher, a former quarterback at the University of California-Los Angeles.

“Having a head coach that played the position is going to help understand the way it’s played and it’s going to be easier to communicate with him,” Fales said.

Fales added that Caragher seems like a down to earth man who cares a lot about his players and said he wants to meet Caragher, “hopefully really soon.”

The two met briefly after Monday’s press conference — the first of many between the former and current collegiate quarterbacks.

49ers' top pick Thomas 'can't wait' to play best friend McCaffrey in Week 1

49ers' top pick Thomas 'can't wait' to play best friend McCaffrey in Week 1

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers open the regular season on Sept. 10 against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium.

Stanford products Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey will make their NFL debuts in that game across from each other.

Thomas, a defensive lineman, was the No. 3 overall pick of the 49ers. The Carolina Panthers selected McCaffrey with the eighth overall pick.

“I can’t wait to play him,” Thomas said Thursday night on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “You know, that’s my boy. That’s my best friend. I love him to death. I can’t wait to play him.”

Raiders select CB Gareon Conley with No. 24 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Raiders select CB Gareon Conley with No. 24 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

GAREON CONLEY
Position: Cornerback
College: Ohio State
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 195 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 24 overall

ALAMEDA – Ohio State cornerback was widely considered a top-15 talent entering this year’s NFL Draft. His stock took a free-fall this week, after being accused of rape.

Conley called the accusation “completely false,” in a statement issued Wednesday by his agent.

Conley has not been charged or arrested over the allegation, which stems from an interaction on April 9 at a Cleveland hotel.

The Raiders wouldn’t have made this first-round selection without doing extensive research on Conley’s legal status. They must feel confident Conley will be absolved of wrongdoing.

Conley is a quality football player and an excellent cover man. He has the size Raiders covet in cornerbacks, and allowed just 37 percent of his passes to be completed. Conley allowed just 14 catches for 159 yards last season, and an NFL passer rating of 14.0, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus. That was the best in college football last season.

Analysts say he’s good at making plays on the football, whether it’s batting down passes or intercepting passes. Conley excels in press-man coverage, but can work well in a zone as well. He diagnoses plays well, which allows him to make plays on the ball.

The Raiders need depth and competition at cornerback after Sean Smith and David Amerson weren’t as solid as expected in 2016.

Conley could be upgrade the secondary in 2017 and beyond if he lives up to his on-field potential.