Cal Football’s new Head Coach Sonny Dykes was officially introduced at this press conference held in the field club of Cal Memorial Stadium at 2 PM, Thursday. After being introduced by Cal Media Relations Director Herb Benenson, Cal Vice Chancellor John Witop and Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour opened the proceedings with their statements.
Sandy Barbour’s words were the most important because she made the decision to hire Coach Dykes. While not openly saying who Dykes was selected over, Sandy did say that he was her first choice from the minute they completed the first interview.
Coach Dykes is a different hire. His resume in the passing game excluded for a moment, he’s the first Cal Coach in memory to have no West Coast ties of any kind, and as my friend Monte Poole of the Oakland Tribune pointed out to me, he’s never coached in a blue state – all red states. By Contrast, Jeff Tedford came from Oregon, a blue state, when he was brought in, just over 10 years ago.
The other issue for this blogger was the news that he was selected over former Oakland Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson, who’s not only well qualified but well-known in the Bay Area (translation: ticket sales). Thus, Cal maintains a track record of having never hired a black head coach for Cal Football. By contrast, Stanford has done it three times, and on two of those three times, that coach has taken the Cardinal to The Rose Bowl, including this season with David Shaw. And to further make the point, those coaches have a 12 win to zero loss record against Cal.
So in the “21st Century Image” category, Cal gets punked by Stanford three ways: by hiring black head coaches, being beaten by those same black head coaches, and then watching those coaches post better records than their Cal counterparts. Meanwhile, Cal has a good track record of spotting capable black football players, but not black coaches.
This isn’t Sonny Dykes fault. He’s just going after a dream job. But here’s hoping he takes a look and hires a black defensive coordinator for Cal Football. Someone with “confidence” and “attitude” – we need a shot of attitude.
I know that flies in the face of what Sandy Barbour said at the press conference, but look, show me a person who’s afraid of a man who’s got confidence and attitude, what we call “swagger”, and I’ll show you someone who’s afraid of a person like a Hue Jackson, who has both. Is that the new “fear of a smart black man” at work?
Have to ask.
Meanwhile, Coach Dykes does talk about Cal and the Rose Bowl, but listen to what he says – he did not promise a Rose Bowl. He said it was going to be a long, arduous climb, and that Cal needed a larger offensive line, and that would be gotten through recruiting. That’s a telling comment. It’s Coach Dykes trying to manage expectations.
To hell with that, we want someone to roll the dice and take a chance. Cal deserves that kind of effort.