Leading Off

Sears deserves to be Hornets’ coach

Seven months after becoming Sacramento State’s “interim” football coach, Jody Sears has proven he’s capable of doing the job.

And if you asked every Hornets player who gathered in a corner end zone at Aggie Stadium on Saturday afternoon and partied like it was 2009 – the last time Sac State beat UC Davis in the Causeway Classic – every man would say Sears deserves to have that “interim” label stripped.

“We bought into coach Sears’ system, and we believe in him,” All-Big Sky Conference first-team wide receiver DeAndre Carter said last week. “He made us a family.”

If former coach Marshall Sperbeck, who suddenly resigned in April, had built any walls between the coaching staff and players with his preferred rank-and-file atmosphere, Sears tore them down while creating a new atmosphere in the locker room and on the practice field. Instead of stressing to his players to play for their teammates, he wanted his players to feel as if they were playing for their brothers.

The “we are family” approach worked.

Sears’ seven-win debut was better than any other coach in Sac State history. The last time Sac State (7-5) won seven games in a season was in 2000 under John Volek. No, Sears’ Hornets didn’t pull off an early-season upset over a Pacific-12 Conference school as Sperbeck’s teams did twice, but Sac State beat every team it should have on its schedule.

Yes, Sac State did beat Menlo, an NAIA school, and it didn’t have to play Big Sky Conference champion Eastern Washington. But Sears didn’t make the schedule; he just coached it.

After winning seven games, beating UC Davis in his first try and uniting a team that lost its coach in the spring, Sears deserves his shot as the program’s 10th head coach.

With the high school recruiting season hot and heavy, there’s no time for Sac State’s administration to look for someone more qualified.

Sears can do the job. He’s already proven it.

– Victor Contreras


What to watch

NBA, Kings at Rockets, 5 p.m., CSNCA: Sacramento plays the second of back-to-back road games.

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