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.