There isn't a Cal football fan who doesn't love Jeff Tedford.
That's what made waiting for word on his coaching fate the past few days so strange.
Frustrated Bears have debated the need for a coaching change for two years, most seemingly reaching the conclusion that one was in order. The team was bad and the energy was low. But regardless of where you stood, when it got down to it, it was tough to admit a preference for Tedford's departure.
Not the guy who:
Few Cal fans had heard of when he was hired in 2001 but who almost immediately made relevant again a program that had become a laughingstock.
Had Cal on the brink of No. 1 in the nation a few years later, and without the smugness of many other coaches in what is now the Pacific-12 Conference.
Saw in Aaron Rodgers what no one else did.
Helped create the momentum and financial wherewithal to renovate Memorial Stadium.
Had even the most cynical 50-something fans dreaming of a Cal trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time in their lives.
So Tuesday's announcement came as a relief, of sorts. Instead of frustration with Tedford and his perplexing infatuation with the ineffective wide receiver screen, Bears can just appreciate the coach for how he helped make Strawberry Canyon the place to be on fall Saturdays for most of his stay.
If Cal fans those over the age of 25, at least have learned anything over the years, it's how to deal with defeat under the likes of Joe Kapp, Keith Gilbertson and Tom Holmoe. Midway through his 11-year tenure, Tedford had forged a program that could be competitive with any in the country.
Cal fans got spoiled, and Tedford ultimately was somewhat a victim of his own success.
Recent revelations that the graduation rates of Cal players who entered school between 2002 and 2005 were the worst in the conference were disappointing and likely sealed the coach's fate.
But whether or not Cal fans think Tuesday's decision was the right one, they can agree on one thing: They still love Jeff Tedford.
What to do
NBA, Lakers at Kings, 7 p.m.: Los Angeles has rebounded after a slow start. The Kings? Not so much.
Who should replace Jeff Tedford at Cal?
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Tuesday's poll results
Should Geoff Petrie be fired as the Kings' basketball president?
Total votes: 324