In recent history, Berkeley has seen a series of losing seasons culminating in a season so bad that we only won one game...versus Rutgers...post season...in the snow...And we didn't have the Axe for most of a decade.
Then we let Tom Holmoe go and hired up Jeff Tedford.
After a stunning win in Michigan followed by other stunning wins against formidable opponents both on the road and at home (not to mention a recapture of the Axe!), Berkeley became filled with "Tedford is God" shirts. He certainly did play the part of a deity-he turned a struggling, highly overrated Kyle Boller into a quarterback worthy of playing in the NFL.
We were always proud to be the California Golden Bears, even in the dark days. But under Tedford, it is that much easier.
This week, the Cal Athletic Department has announced a tentative agreement with Tedford to extend his contract through 2013. Although he is currently making approximately $1.5 million each year, under the new contract he will see a raise. It is also assumed that the contract continues to hinge on the new athletic center and stadium renovations currently held up in the courts by the people living in the trees next to Memorial Stadium. The official contract can't be finally approved until the Regents vote on it.
Nearly $2 million is a lot to spend on a coach. He is already the highest paid employee of the University of California system. Granted that Tedford's leadership has led to a profitable football team that has bolstered Cal's popularity (leading to even more income), it is hard to imagine spending so much money each year on one man. Still, if any Pac-10 coach is worth it, it would have to be Jeff Tedford.
I haven't seen the contract, nor do I know any specifics about it. I do hope that the contract is strong enough to keep Tedford working his magic in Berkeley through 2013. Cal actually has a real shot at being a Rose Bowl contender before this contract expires. Under Tedford, we are a top-20 team and beginning to gain respect as a football school once again.
And we still have the Axe!