On Thursday night, five days after Fresno State lost to San Jose State in their regular-season finale to finish 4-8, The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported Bulldogs' head coach Jeff Tedford is "expected to step down due to health reasons."
On Friday morning, Tedford confirmed the report during a press conference, saying, "It is with a heavy heart that, today, I am announcing that I am stepping down as the head coach here at Fresno State. I have been coaching for 30 years and it has been awesome. I have been playing since I was 8 years old, so I have been in this business for about 50 years now. It is time now to focus on my health and my family."
In 2017, his first season coaching his alma mater, Tedford led Fresno State to 10 wins, a nine-win increase from 2016, and set the school record with 12 wins a year later. The 58-year-old California native and former Bulldogs' assistant (1992-97) went 26-14 in three seasons.
With Tedford out, who might Fresno State target as his replacement? It will be the first football hire for second-year athletics director Terry Tumey, a former UCLA football player who arrived at Fresno State in 2018. Tumey said Tedford will assist in the head-coaching search.
In his initial tweet, Bruce Feldman said he expects Indiana offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer to be a "leading candidate." DeBoer is from South Dakota and spent the first two decades of his career in the midwest before a two-year run as Tedford's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2017-18. Current Fresno State defensive coordinator Bert Watts may also land on a shortlist and make for a smooth transition, as could Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo, who worked under Tedford at Cal.
The name to watch for every FBS vacancy west of the Mississippi: Todd Graham. As I've noted several times on potential candidate lists, Graham is looking for a job in the south or southwest (or close enough) and wants back in after rejecting offers last winter. He recruited up and down California as Arizona State head coach and could assemble a great staff. Lane Kiffin, a Fresno State alum who knows the state well, could be in play, as could Graham Harrell, David Yost, and Rhett Lashlee.
Keep an eye on several current or former FCS coaches, including Colorado head coach (and current UC Davis head coach) Dan Hawkins, Cal offensive coordinator (and former Eastern Washington head coach) Beau Baldwin, and Sacramento State head coach Troy Taylor. Baldwin is a 47-year-old California native and won 85 games and one national title at Eastern Washington.
How about Blake Anderson? Fresno State could double his current $825,000 base salary and land a 50-year-old with two conference championships and some experience recruiting out west.
One wild card: Greg Roman. The Baltimore Ravens' first-year offensive coordinator has no head-coaching experience and hasn't coached in college since 2010 but is a revered offensive mind who helped Jim Harbaugh rebuild Stanford and the 49ers.