Football: A new candidate in Darrell Hazell, but Sonny Dykes may be at head of the class

Louisiana Tech athletic director Bruce Van De Velde told The Associated Press on Sunday that he was waiting to hear if his football coach, Sonny Dykes, would be hired by Cal.

Cal was said to be interviewing Kent State coach Darrell Hazell, but Dykes is believed to be the leading candidate to replace Jeff Tedford, fired Nov. 20 after 11 seasons. Van De Velde told the AP that Dykes had interviewed for the Cal job.

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Football: Another day, another candidate

Has Sandy Barbour gone to “The Cradle of Coaches” to find the man who will lead Cal’s football program?

Kent State’s Darrell Hazell, who guided the Golden Flashes to their first winning season in 11 years, was scheduled to interview Sunday for the Cal football coaching job, ESPN reported.

Hazell, 48, is the latest name to surface in the Bears’ search for a replacement for Jeff Tedford, fired Nov. 20 after 11 seasons.

In his second season, Hazell led Kent State to an 11-1 regular-season record and was Mid-American Coach of the Year. The Golden Flashes lost 44-37 in double-overtime to Northern Illinois in Friday’s MAC title game.

Hazell, who inherited a program that hadn’t had a winning season since 2001, is 16-9 in two seasons, with wins in 15 of the past 18 games. The Golden Flashes upset then-15th-ranked Rutgers during a 10-game win streak this season.

A native of Cinnaminson, N.J., Hazell spent his previous seven seasons as a wide receivers coach for Jim Tressel at Ohio State. He also has coaching experience at Oberlin, Eastern Illinois, Penn, Western Michigan, Army, West Virginia and Rutgers, where he was assistant head coach in 2003.

The MAC is known as “The Cradle of Coaches,” having spawned the likes of Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Ara Parseghian and Urban Meyer, currently coach at Ohio State.

The Bears reportedly interviewed Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes in recent days, and also are known to have contacted Gary Andersen, who announced Friday he would remain at Utah State.


Football: Is Sonny Dykes the candidate du jour?

The chatter coming out of Ruston, La., is that Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes has perhaps met with Cal about the Bears’ coaching job, maybe been offered a job.

And some or all of it may be true. But we have no firm confirmation.

Neither Dykes’ father, former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, nor his wife was willing or able to confirm any of it Saturday afternoon.

The rumors seemed to take on a bit more credence in the wake of North Carolina State hiring Northern Illnois’ Dave Doeren as its new coach. Dykes, whose Bulldogs lead the nation in scoring, was known to have interviewed late this week with N.C. State, before the school quickly changed gears on Friday.

One report suggested the Wolfpack wasn’t offering enough. Is that because Dykes withdrew in favor of more discussion with Cal?

“I have not talked to talked to Sonny since Tuesday,” his dad said in a phone interview. “I’m flattered he might even be considered.”

Kate Dykes, Sonny’s wife, said her hushand has been on the Louisiana Tech campus all weekend, hosting recruits. She said she wasn’t aware that Sandy Barbour or anyone representing Cal had been in town.

Asked if her husband has been offered a job by Cal, she said. “I don’t think so . . . if they have, I don’t know about it.”

Spike Dykes said his son enjoyed his time as offensive coordinator at Arizona.

“They were one play away from going to the Rose Bowl when Oregon beat them,” Spike said. “He loved the Pac-12. That’s a great conference.”

Asked if his son would be interested in Cal, if offered a job, Spike Dykes said, “I would think so. Who wouldn’t be in this business? It’s a great job, a great conference.”


Football: Nothing new with Gary Andersen, but a strong endorsement from Utah’s Whittingham

On a day when Gary Andersen’s agent said there was nothing new to report on his client’s involvement with the Cal coaching search, the Utah State coach got a strong endorsement from long-time friend and in-state rival Kyle Whittingam of Utah.

“He’s an excellent football coach, no doubt about that. What he’s done at Utah State certainly speaks to that,” said Whittingham, whose Utes lost 27-20 to Utah State this season. “He’s intelligent. His players really like him, not because he coddles them because they respect him. There’s a big difference.

“You’ve got to be disciplined and tough and he is all that. At same time you’ve got to be able to garner respect of his players. That’s the combination ideally you’re looking for.”

In his fourth season at Utah State, Andersen has directed the Aggies to a 10-2 record and the outright Western Athletic Confererence championship.

Andersen has emerged as a legitimate candidate for the Cal job left vacant Nov. 20 when Jeff Tedford was fired after 11 seasons. Sources said Wednesday that Cal has contacted Andersen about the position.

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Football: Greg Roman dances nicely

For the second straight week, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman did his best to dodge questions from BANG’s Cam Inman on whether he has interest or is involved in the Cal coaching situation.

A week ago, Roman said it would be inappropriate to distract himself from his job by discussing other situations.

On Thursday,  Inman tried again:

CI: Greg, is the Cal job attractive to you?

GR: I don’t know anything about it.

CI: Nothing, huh?

GR: Cal’s a great school and it’s got great potential.

That’s all for now.




Football: Utah State’s Gary Andersen in demand

Gary Andersen, who guided Utah State to a 10-2 regular-season record and an outright Western Athletic Conference crown, apparently has moved toward the top of the coaching wish lists for both Cal and Colorado.

Sources indicate representatives from both schools have reached out to Andersen, 48, who in 2009 took over an Aggies program that hadn’t enjoyed a winning season since 1996.

Utah State had won a total of 15 games in six seasons before Andersen’s arrival, but has won 15 of its past 18, dating back to last season. The Aggies’ only two losses this season were 16-14 at Wisconsin and 6-3 at BYU.

Meanwhile, the Daily Camera of Boulder, Colo., reported that Jeff Tedford will not be a candidate for the Colorado job. A source close to Tedford told the newspaper Tedford is not interested.

I talked this morning with outgoing UC Davis coach Bob Biggs, who coached Chris Petersen at Davis in the mid-1980s. Biggs disputed Davis coaching legend Jim Sochor’s suggestion that the timing might be right for Petersen to consider leaving Boise State, where he is 82-8 in seven seasons.

“Chris is a man of tremendous integrity,” Biggs said. “If he says he’s not going to do something, which publicly he has said, he is not one to back away from that. That’s just not who he is. He doesn’t play games.”


Football: Chris Petersen’s college mentor says timing could be right for Cal to lure Boise coach

While ex-Raiders coach Hue Jackson labeled the vacancy at Cal “a golden opportunity” on Tuesday, UC Davis coaching legend Jim Sochor believes the timing could be right for the Golden Bears to lure Chris Petersen from Boise State.

Sochor, who coached Petersen at Davis and gave him his first coaching job, said the changing landscape at Boise could be a factor that tempts Petersen to make a move after years of resisting big offers.

“A lot of changes have taken place there,” said Sochor, referring to the Broncos’ scheduled move to the Big East Conference in 2014 and the arrival of a new athletic director last year. “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he’s had maybe some change of heart. At some point I do believe he will go elsewhere.”

Sochor hopes that place is Cal.

“He’d be great at Cal. He has all the requisites that Cal would be looking,” Sochor said. “He’s a great football coach and really good person and good ambassador.

“He would be one of the best people they have brought on board ever.”

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Football: Is Boise State’s Chris Petersen leaving the door open? Depends what you want to hear

Boise State’s Chris Petersen, the subject of constant coaching job talk, addressed the latest round of rumors Monday during his weekly press conference with local media.

The 20th-ranked Broncos (9-2) close their regular season Saturday against Nevada.

Courtesy of the Idaho Statesman, here is what Petersen had to say related to the coaching rumors, late in his weekly address:

“Twenty-two minutes,” he said, looking at his watch. “That’s better than I thought.”

Asked if it was a distraction, he said, “It is not even kind of. It’s just rumors. That’s all I want really to say about this and I say it every year. It’s just rumors. I don’t even think half the time it’s reporters. Everybody’s a reporter these days. Everybody’s got an opinion on a blog, so they throw it out and oh, it’s going to happen.”

Petersen referenced the Mississippi State rumors from a few years ago, when a television station was reporting the details of his new contract with the Bulldogs.

“It was so far from false. It is what it is, you guys love it. I know it’s great and it sells whatever. It means zero here. We don’t even pay attention to it.”

Asked if there was a downside to his name being mentioned all the time, Petersen said, “The only trouble is in recruiting — 99.9 percent is always completely false, the problem is .1. But there hasn’t even been .1.”

Cal fans will cling to that .1 percent — and perhaps they should. Petersen is as good a candidate as the Bears could covet.

But he’s said no to UCLA and Stanford in recent years, and he won’t be an easy sell. Can Sandy Barbour turn those long-shot odds into something real?

Stay tuned.