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Sitting Shiva for the Jeff Tedford Era: What was your reaction to the firing?

Shiva (Hebrew: שבעה‎) (literally "seven") is the week-long mourning period in Judaism for first-degree relatives: father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, and spouse. The ritual is referred to as "sitting shiva." Immediately after burial, first-degree relatives assume the halakhic status of "avel" (Hebrew: אבל ; "mourner"). This state lasts for seven days, during which family members traditionally gather in one home (preferably the home of the deceased) and receive visitors. At the funeral, mourners traditionally rend an outer garment, a ritual known as keriah. This garment is worn throughout shiva. 1 We at CGB are sitting shiva for the Tedford Era, one that saw Cal football go from the aftermath of a 1-10 season to the cusp of a Rose Bowl and more wins than any other coach in Cal football history, including victories over storied programs and old rivals. It's a sad day for many of us so we ask you what was your reaction to the news that Jeff Tedford had been fired?


Vincent S: I'm bittersweet. I can see the logic behind the firing, but I can also see a man who bleeds blue and gold, who devoted his life to Cal Football, and was committed to turning things around. I think that no matter who our coach was next year, we'd have seen improvement. It's a little bit like breaking up with a long-term significant other in order to find "the one". If Tedford gets back into coaching, I sincerely hope it's not a school that Cal would play often. I sincerely wish him the best of luck wherever he goes. He's a man of integrity, and that seems to be a rare breed in the ranks of coaching these days.

NorCalNick: It's tough for me to distill my thoughts in a roundtable (which is why I'll probably write something more substantial later) but it's hard. 6 years ago it would have been really hard for me to fathom how things would develop. I think the hardest thing for me was reading the reactions of current and former players. We fans live vicariously through them, but ultimately it's about the players, and what Cal can do to contribute to their development as athletes, students, and human beings. It's hard to come to any other conclusion that, in that regard, Jeff Tedford was extremely successful. And it's for that reason that his dismissal, while necessary, was as painful as can be.

Ohio Bear: I described my feelings earlier as "bittersweet" and I still feel that way after a few hours to reflect. The "sweet" part is because I do believe it is time for a change in the football program. The last three years, at least, have been underachieving years for the Bears and this year's team put a particularly poor product on the field. Yes, I know Cal had more than its share of injuries, but injuries are no excuse for the undisciplined play and the failure to show any real improvement as the season went on. If anything, it seemed that the team regressed from where it was at its peak (i.e., the UCLA game).

The "bitter" feeling is just a feeling of regret that it had to be this way. Coach Tedford has his detractors among the readership of this site and others, but even his most fierce detractors cannot deny that he did a whole lot of good for the Cal football program. To compare where we were in 2001 to where we are now isn't "full circle": Coach Tedford is leaving the program in much better position for success than where he found it. Under his watch, we experienced highs as a program that we hadn't seen in a long time and we created expectations. Ultimately, Coach Tedford couldn't live up to the expectations he created (both on and off the field) and that was his undoing. I believe Tedford is a good man who did a lot for the Cal football program. His time as Cal football coach just ran its course.

LeonPowe: For me there's nothing really sweet about this - I hate that it's come to this and I really wanted Coach Tedford to be our coach until he wanted to leave on his terms. Agreed that the program was heading in the wrong direction and a change was needed, but I dislike that we've gotten to this state. Even more I dislike that a part of our fan base - which is either a large part or just a small very vocal portion - has seemed to take so much glee in "proving" that Tedford, for whatever reason, is no longer the coach he once was - or if revisionist history can be believed, never was who just fell luckily into Rodgers, Lynch and Jackson. It needed to be done but I'm not happy about it.

Berkelium97: We all knew it was coming, but it was still saddening to see the words "Jeff Tedford has been fired." He made Cal football relevant again. Without him, I and countless other Tedford-era alumni would not have been sucked into the world of college football. Sure, we may have attended the games and read the newspaper articles, but would we spend countless hours talking about 3-4 defenses or zone blocking on CGB? Probably not. Tedford gave many of us the gift of exciting, successful college football.

As much as I appreciate all the hours he poured into the program, I recognize that it is time to let go. I wish Tedford could have been the one who brought us to the Rose Bowl. If not for a whiny Texan, a shoe that was a half-size too big, or the Pac-10's penchant for hiring blind referees, he would have been the one to bring us to the promised land. But lately we've been on a downward trend and it has become clear that drastic actions must be taken to bring us out of this tailspin. It's exciting to see that the program is willing to make this kind of investment in the success of the program--Tedford's "buyout" was a huge expense. It's just a shame that we had to let him go in order to build on the very foundation he created. I wish him the best and look forward to seeing what he can do with a different program.

Unclesam22: I echo all the other sentiments in that this is a tough day all the way around. I hate that it happened at all and I really wish that things had turned out differently for Tedford. He is a man of character and integrity who truly was a leader that led by example. He genuinely cared for his players and it showed not only in how he conducted himself, but also in the reactions that started pouring in from all over as news broke this afternoon. As the college football landscape became filled with coaches and programs that would do and say anything to get ahead, I was always proud that Tedford was at the helm of the Cal program, even as things were unraveling this year. He brought class to a profession that sometimes seems to lack it and I'm glad that he was such a great representation of the University.

So while I think that it was probably necessary that this happened it still makes me sad. I really do hope that Coach Tedford finds some rest and relief from what has undoubtedly been a rough couple of years. I wouldn't be surprised if he took a year off to clear his head and then I suspect he'll land in a good gig of his choosing where I think he'll be successful. I'm thankful for what he has done for Cal football and I really do believe that the program is in a better place now than it was when he arrived in 2002. Tedford set the bar high for whomever follows him and I hope that they can do as well as he did, both on and off the field.

TwistNHook: Tedford, Tedford, Tedford, where to begin? My time at Cal overlapped both Holmoe and Tedford. I can remember both in stark contrast. I remember the lazy Saturday afternoons with 35 fans in the stands. I remember having fun at games even though we were losing by 50 points (a skill that has come in handy this season), because we didn't know any better.

Tedford taught us to care. That's the real key here. In my mind, before Tedford, we didn't care. Some did, but they were a minority. He taught generations of Cal students to care about Cal football. And that will have ramifications for decades to come. It is just unfortunate that he won't be here for those decades to come. I always hoped that he would be a Joe Paterno type (this was pre-2011, people!). The sort of man who stayed at a school for decades and turned it from a underachieving loser to a powerhouse. Sort of like every protagonist in a late 90s teen comedy. Tedford would take the glasses off of Cal, undo her ponytail and, OH MY GOD, she's gorgeous! We never realized that all along! The paint splattered overalls confused us so much!

But it is not to be. Coach Tedford is gone after 11 years. Even though 11 is less than decades, he still revolutionized Cal football. He helped bring the High Performance Center. It is unfortunate that he only had 1 year worth of use. He had to suffer through the battles with the tree-sitters. He had to suffer through the year in San Francisco. And somebody else will be the lucky winner to take advantage of the House That Tedford Buit. Such is the way of life. He knew what he was getting himself into.

I know that there may be some who want to laugh at me for this. I have been the center of ridicule lo these last several years for being the quintessential "Sunshine Pumper." I have seen people on other sites (and even CGB) explicitly state that I must be carrying water or letting my personal opinions of the man get in the way of any sort of reasonable analysis. I, of course, personally feel that I had been providing the most reasonable analysis possible and that others have emotional over-reactions. I don't know what the truth is, but what I do know is that even I, Mr. Sunshine Pumper himself, believe that this was the appropriate move. It was time to move forward. We had a losing season in 2010. We hadn't had a true big win since 2009. The wheels really fell off this year. And, hey, if people want to give me the old "Told You So," feel free to log in and leave your comments below. CGB is about two things:

1. Free Speech

2. Not Taking Ourselves Seriously

That last point reminds me of my favorite interaction with Tedford. I always thought that there was another Tedford we never saw. He put on his Coach Face and kept the outside world out. I always thought that there was a much more outgoing energetic guy in there. He would come out from time to time, whether it was injuring himself headbutting players or interacting with fans at various events. Like this (note this happened several years ago before I started balding) where I managed to get Tedford to make fun of me at a Cal Coaches Tour. Usually, he seems very stiff on the field or at press conferences, but was much more relaxed at these fan events.

If I can get Tedford to joke around about evicting grandmothers, then there is more to him than meets the eye. Making fun of people you don't know (and help pay your salary) can sometimes be dangerous. He's not just really physical, executing, and flying around out there. He has a soul (well hidden) and right now, he's probably frustrated, hurt, humiliated, and just plain upset. I wish him nothing but the best. GO BEARS!

Solarise: Tedford was Cal. He overcame the naysayers at Fresno State as an undersized QB. He worked tirelessly as our Head Coach to take a 1-10 football team to Pac-10 champions. He embodied every underdog quality we shared as Cal students. He is one of us and that's why watching the team lose hurt so much. Not having Coach roaming the sidelines next year will feel like losing a piece of myself. I wish him and his family nothing but the best. Coach was class all the way from beginning to end. His legacy will live on as long as SAHPC and Memorial Stadium.

atomsareenough: I didn't have any personal interactions with Jeff Tedford, but from everything I read he's a stand up guy and a class act, and he really tried his hardest and worked tirelessly to make Cal Football successful, and for all his efforts and achievements, I have nothing but appreciation for the guy.

Now, I'm not going to say Tedford was a victim of circumstance, because certainly what we saw this year was not a result merely of bad luck, but I know a lot of little things just didn't go his way, and if a couple of them had, I do wonder if maybe things have been different. If we had scored a touchdown on 1st and goal against USC in '04, or if we hadn't gotten screwed by Mack Brown, if Nate Longshore doesn't get hurt, or if Desean Jackson doesn't step out of bounds. If Kevin Riley doesn't scramble. If the damn tree sitters didn't delay the stadium renovations as long as they did. I could go on and on. Anyway, it was what it was, and we are where we are. The ugly truth is that the last three years have seen a steady deterioration in the level of play, even though we have had some incredibly talented players. There was no reason to believe the sloppiness would suddenly get resolved by the current coaching staff next year, and the pipeline of talent seemed to be slowing as well, so I think the change was absolutely necessary.

So while I'm sad to see a very good man go, it's a relief to see the administration taking the success of the program seriously. I'm tremendously excited and hopeful about the future of Cal Football today. There are plenty of solid coaching candidates out there. I think the talent and the new facilities that Coach Tedford was instrumental in bringing to Berkeley have set the foundation for success. I am confident that we will be able to attract the right new hire, and I am really optimistic that we will find the right person to finally lead us to the promised land of Pasadena on New Year's Day.