GREEN BAY – When University of California athletic director Sandy Barbour announced Tuesday that he was firing coach Jeff Tedford after 11 seasons, Barbour called it “an extraordinarily difficult decision.”
Aaron Rodgers, who played for Tedford at Cal and credits him for much of his development into an NFL MVP quarterback, opted for other adjectives.
“It’s a terrible decision, terrible decision. And I think it’s disrespectful, too,” the Green Bay Packers quarterback said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com Tuesday. “(In) 2002, when I was recruited in December, they started taking about this stadium project. Coach had just come in, they went 7-5, they were just under academic probation so they couldn’t go to a bowl game. He’d taken a 1-10 team and made them 7-5. (He) turned (quarterback) Kyle Boller from what he was into a first-round draft pick. I know Kyle owes a lot of his success to coach Tedford and his tutelage.
“And so in 2002 … he was selling us on the stadium project. Now, 10 years later, that gets done. Some of the factors that went into that being delayed were some of the lawsuits that were filed against the university, from private citizens, from the city of Berkeley – people living in the trees. Coach Tedford endured some pretty difficult situations down there while his competitors – Oregon, Washington, Arizona schools – continued to improve their facilities.
“Now, you get some facilities in there, you get a new stadium, you get an awesome new top deck over there that can overlook the (San Francisco) Bay, you get a 100-yard weight room. You have some competitive facilities now where you can really recruit some kids. And what do they do? They fire him. The winningest coach in history. It’s just a shame, because when you promise a guy the stuff that they promised him and he fulfills everything you ask him to do on the field, regardless of the injuries they had this year, to always continue to prepare those guys like I know he did, and then not give him the chance to recruit to that facilities is a shame.”
Rodgers, who played the 2003 and 2004 Pac-10 seasons for Tedford and helped Cal to an 8-6 finish in ’03 and a 10-2 finish in ’04, said he expects Tedford to be coaching again, whether it’s in college or as an NFL assistant.
“I see Coach, regardless, landing on his feet,” Rodgers said. “He’s got a great wife. His two boys – Taylor I’ve known since he was a sophomore in high school, and Quinn was in junior high. And it was fun to see them as grown men this offseason. (Tedford) always said once those guys were grown up and out of college that he might be looking for another challenge, but I know he wanted to still be at Cal and see that thing through with the new facilities.
“But Coach, he can do it at every level. If he wants to challenge himself and take his game to the NFL level and look to eventually become a head coach, that’s easily within his talent level. If he wants to stay in college, then any university that hires him is going to get a hell of a guy and a great coach.”
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