From the day that the 2009 Cal Football season ended, one of the big lingering questions entering the off-season was whether Cal head coach Jeff Tedford would retain defensive coordinator Bob Gregory or fire him. Many Cal fans wanted Bob Gregory gone. Cal's defense had gotten much worse in 2009, and looked far from its former 2008 self. The reasons for this decline are debatable. Some say it was because of Gregory's ineptitude. Others cite the loss of three senior linebackers, the lack of effective linebacker pass rushers, and the decline in cornerback play.
On February 17th, 2010, many Cal fans got the news of their life when it was announced that Bob Gregory would be leaving Cal.
Queue the conspiracy theories. Many fans concluded that Bob Gregory was fired. Those theories range from the simple: he was fired. To the slightly more subtle: he was pushed out. To the more imaginative and complex: big donors met with Jeff Tedford and flexed their muscle forcing Tedford to make this decision.
But Jeff Tedford has stated otherwise. In an interview with Glenn Dickey, Tedford states:
"Everyone wants to make it some kind of back-room decision, like [Bob Gregory] was forced out but it wasn’t that at all. I was totally surprised when he walked into my office and said he wanted to leave.
He wanted to change his life. At one time, he wanted to be a head coach and he thought being a coordinator would be a stepping stone, but I think he’s decided he wants to spend more time with his family.
And to be honest, I think the criticism he got last year might have played into it."
Jeff Tedford - 4/13/10
So what's the truth? Did Jeff Tedford really fire Bob Gregory like so many Cal fans had hoped for during the entire 2009 season? Did Jeff Tedford kindly tell Bob Gregory that it was his time to move on and find another job somewhere? Did big money donors meet with Jeff Tedford and tell him that changes needed to be made?
Or did Jeff Tedford really not see this coming at all like he claims?
In my opinion, I think it pretty much went down the way Jeff Tedford said it did.
I do not think Jeff Tedford is lying to Cal fans. I do not think Bob Gregory was fired. I do not think he was politely shown the door and told to leave ... or else.
I really do think Bob Gregory just felt it was his time to move on to a place where he'd probably be more appreciated, and he'd have more time to spend with his family.
As for all these conspiracy theories about Gregory being fired or shown the door, I don't believe them because they don't make sense.
Before I talk about the Bob Gregory situation, I want to review Jeff Tedford's history of hiring and firing coaches. Below are the dates of hirings and firings of coaches under Jeff Tedford from 2005 to today's date.
2005 Post-Season/2006 Off-Season
December 2005 - Cal WR Coach Eric Kiesau accepts job at Colorado
December 2005 - Cal LB Coach Justin Wilcox accepts job at Boise State
January 3rd, 2006 - Bob Foster & Dan Ferrigno hired as LB and WR coaches.
February 1, 2006 - Cal OC George Cortez resigns to pursue NFL Career
February 2, 2006 - Mike Dunbar hired as OC
2006 Post-Season/2007 Off-Season
January 25, 2007 - Cal OC Mike Dunbar accepts job at Minnesota.
February 1, 2007 - Jim Michalczik promoted to OC, and Kevin Daft promoted to QB Coach.
2007 Post-Season/2008 Off-Season
January ?, 2008 - DB Coach R. Todd Littlejohn, and WR Coach Dan Ferringo are fired.
January ?, 2008 - Cal DL Coach Ken Delgado accepts job at Louisville.
January 6, 2008 - Frank Cignetti hired as OC, and Al Simmons hired as DB Coach.
January 6, 2008 - Kevin Daft promoted to WR Coach and Tosh Lupio promoted to DL Coach.
2008 Post-Season/2009 Off-Season
December 15, 2008 - Cal OL Coach Jim Michalczik accepts job at Washington.
January 28, 2009 - Steve Marshall hired as OL Coach.
February 19, 2009 - Cal OC Frank Cignetti accepts job at Pittsburgh.
February 20, 2009 - Andy Ludwig hired as OC.
2009 Post-Season/2010 Off-Season
December 29th, 2009 - Cal TE/ST Coach Pete Alamar's contract is not renewed.
January 16, 2010 - Jeff Genyk is hired as TE/ST Coach.
February 17, 2010 - Cal DC Bob Gregory accepts job at Boise State.
February 19, 2010 - Clancy Pendergast is hired as DC.
Do you see a pattern with these hirings and firings?
The first thing to note is that the firings happen immediately after the season. Mike Dunbar's departure was more of a mutual departing, but he left pretty early on in the off-season only about four weeks after the 2006 Holiday Bowl Game. It is widely accepted that R. Todd Littlejohn and Dan Ferringo were fired. Those two were fired in early January 2008, right after Cal's 2007 Armed Forces Bowl win on December 31st, 2007. Officially, Ken Delgado accepted a job elsewhere, however the rumors were more that he was kindly shown the door. Nevertheless, Delgado was gone within weeks. In 2009, Pete Alamar's contract was not renewed (essentially fired) immediately after Cal's loss to Utah in the San Diego Poinsettia Bowl.
Bottom line, Jeff Tedford does not waste time when it comes to firing coaches. He gets rid of coaches he doesn't want any more within weeks of the last game, if not within a week of the last game.
What about hirings? Jeff Tedford is pretty keen on hiring new coaches right away. In 2006, Bob Foster and Dan Ferringo were hired within weeks of Eric Kiesau's and Justin Wilcox's departure. In 2007, it was only a week before Tedford replaced Mike Dunbar with Jim Michalczik. In 2008, it was mere *days* when Tedford hired Frank Cignetti and Al Simmons to fill coaching staff openings. 2009 brought about the longest wait as it took Tedford nearly six weeks to find an offensive line coach to replace Jim Michalczik. In 2010, Jeff Tedford replaced Pete Alamar with two weeks, and Bob Gregory within two days.
Bottom line, Jeff Tedford is quick to hire coaches. New coaches are usually found within a few weeks.
What's the most important about the above timeline information is really that Jeff Tedford is quick to fire and get rid of coaches that he will not retain. That should be plainly obvious to everyone.
And that's why the Bob Gregory "firing" does not make sense. In other words, I don't think it was a firing. If Bob Gregory was fired, Jeff Tedford would have given him the axe right after the season, and wouldn't have waited until 6-7 weeks after the bowl game to do the deed.
Some conspiracy theorists say that Tedford was being nice to Gregory. The reasoning here is that as since Gregory was on the original 2002 coaching staff, Jeff Tedford politely showed Gregory the door and waited on announcing the coaching change to protect Gregory's reputation. But that argument is unpersuasive too. Why would Jeff Tedford want to keep Bob Gregory on staff for an extra 6-7 weeks, when he could bring in a new coach in the mean time? Merely because Jeff Tedford was being nice? No.
Think about it. Jeff Tedford wants to bring in a new Defensive Coordinator right away, so that coach can get acclimated to the new team, learn the personnel, and start installing the new defense. It makes no sense to wait to fire someone, or to wait until that someone finds a new job before making it official. Likewise, it makes sense for fired coaches to get their butt out the door fast. They want to get fired early, and leave early, because college football teams hire new coaches early on in the offseason. Thus, those fired coaches want to get their name out there quickly in the hiring process so they can maximize their chances of finding a new job. And college football programs hire new coaches early for the very same aforementioned reasons on why Tedford wants to bring in new coaches quickly: teams want the coaches to get acclimated quickly.
Jeff Tedford had to modify and change the 2010 Spring Practice schedule because Clancy Pendergast needed more time to get settled before jumping right into Spring Practice. Do you think Jeff Tedford wanted to make that alteration to the football schedule? No. Jeff Tedford would have rather brought someone in sooner, have that someone get acclimated to the team in January (not February), and be ready for Spring Practice to start on time.
Remember Ken Delgado was rumored to have been politely showed the door, and he left within a week of the last game of the season. Even Mike Dunbar who mutually parted ways did it within four weeks of the last game of the season. But yet, Gregory and Tedford both agreed to wait seven weeks until after the last game of the 2009 season to announce this change? If you believe that, then you believe that Tedford would sacrifice seven weeks of his team's time *just* as a courtesy to Bob Gregory? I don't think so. Maybe three weeks. But seven??? No way. It's possible, but seems incredibly unlikely.
As I've reasoned above, college football programs want to hire new coaches early on, and fired coaches want to be fired early on. Nobody wants to wait.
Bottom line, if you believe that Bob Gregory was fired, or was politely showed the door and Jeff Tedford kindly waited until Bob Gregory found a new gig to make the coaching change official, then you have to believe that Jeff Tedford was willing to sacrifice seven weeks of the team's valuable time and the new hire's time -- just to save Bob Gregory a little face.
U-N-L-I-K-E-L-Y. Possible, but very unlikely. I know Tedford is loyal to coaches that have been with him since the beginning, but waiting seven weeks??? I don't buy it.
GreyBear over at BearInsider has thrown out his official word that Bob Gregory was pushed out (5th response down). Supposedly GreyBear has more access to insiders and donors, making his hearsay statement mildly more believable than if it came from Joe-Schmo. Anyways, it's possible that I'm wrong, and that Tedford is lying to Cal fans in that Gregory was fired, or was politely shown the door -- meaning then that Tedford straight up lied to Glenn Dickey in Dickey's interview of Tedford. But in my opinion, the facts are in line with Tedford's past firing practices: fire them early, and hire them early. Don't wait. Don't waste the team's time.