Fresno State is turning to a familiar face to take over the program in the wake of Kalen DeBoer’s departure for Washington. Jeff Tedford, who led the Bulldogs from 2017-19, will rejoin his alma mater as the team’s head coach, the university announced on Wednesday.
“I am incredibly excited to welcome Jeff Tedford back as the head coach of Fresno State Football,” said athletic director Terry Tumey in a statement. “Jeff is a true Bulldog alumnus, an incredible coach and leader, and has continued to be a vital member of our Valley community. The Pride and Tradition of Bulldog Football is alive and well.”
Tedford did a strong job with Fresno State in his first run, coaching the Bulldogs to a combined 22-6 record in his first two seasons despite taking over a 1-11 team. Fresno State faltered to a 4-8 record in his final season, but Tedford ultimately retired due to health concerns. With those issues apparently resolved, Tedford is ready to get back into the game.
In 14 years as a head coach, Tedford has found success virtually everywhere. He led Cal — a notoriously difficult job — to an 82-57 record, including an unprecedented four straight bowl wins. He also served as the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and head coach of the BC Lions, a Canadian Football League team.
Tedford’s ties to Fresno State run deep, however. He set career marks at the time for passing yards and passing touchdowns as a Bulldogs quarterback in the early 1980s. After a brief playing career in the CFL, he came back to Fresno State to serve as offensive coordinator in the 1990s before developing Joey Harrington into a Heisman contender at Oregon.
He takes over a Fresno State squad that went 9-3 and beat UCLA on the road in a strong season. However, the Bulldogs must replace star quarterback Jake Haener, who entered the transfer portal and could be following DeBoer to Wwashington.
Fresno State faces off against UTEP in the 2021 New Mexico Bowl.