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Head Coach Jeff Tedford is Back. What About QB Haener?

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Fresno State president Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval (left) and athletics director Terry Tumey introduce new head coach Jeff Tedford. (GV Wire/Albert Baker)
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Fresno State football is going back to the future.

The university introduced Jeff Tedford as head coach for the second time. It is the fifth time Tedford has been affiliated with the Bulldog program.

He takes over, once again, after stepping down at the end of the 2019 season because of health issues. He takes the reigns back from his former assistant Kalen DeBoer, who bolted for Washington 10 days ago.

Tedford talked about “passion and purpose” and “continuity and stability” in resuming the job.

“The passion is Fresno State football, the game of football itself that’s been part of my life forever, both as a player and a coach. So I’m very passionate about that and the purpose being the commitment to the young people to reach their full potential in all areas of their life,” Tedford said.

Tedford sat out two seasons following heart surgery in January 2020. It was only last month that he publicly expressed an interest in coaching.

“It culminated into a person who is truly a Bulldog,” athletics director Terry Tumey said when introducing Tedford.

Jeff Tedford (right) and wife Donna pose with Victor E. Bulldog. (GV Wire/Albert Baker)

Hire Coaches, Recruit

Tedford said his immediate order of business is recruiting and hiring his staff.

“As I walk out this door, I will be really committed to what’s going on with recruiting and find out who the recruits are. I have already done some background work on it, but look forward to being in touch with all of them. We have a big recruiting weekend this weekend. And so look forward to that and bring new Bulldogs in and for the future,” Tedford said.

Tedford said he had assistant coaches in mind, but was not ready to share details.

“My phone has just blown up with candidates on who would love to coach, who would love to be a part of our staff, part of this tradition. And so I will be weighing all that. I have a pretty good idea, but I think it’s only fair that I have individual conversations with people before I announce it in a setting like this,” Tedford said.

Will Haener Remain With Bulldogs?

Who might the quarterback be? Nebraska quarterback and former Clovis West High School star Adrian Martinez entered the transfer portal.

Tedford did not offer specifics whether Martinez might join Fresno State, or if Jake Haener — who previously entered the portal to leave Fresno State — might come back.

According to news reports, Haener withdrew from the transfer portal Wednesday afternoon and will remain with the Bulldogs. However, neither Haener nor Fresno State had confirmed the reports as of Wednesday evening.

“I’m getting ready to go up and really study the roster, see who’s on our recruiting board. Obviously the portal is a huge thing and it has to be monitored continually because it’s always a moving target,” Tedford said. “I don’t have any concrete answers on those issues right now.”

Won Mountain West Championship in 2018

This is Tedford’s second stint as the Bulldogs head coach, posting a 26-14 record from 2017-2019. That included a 2018 Mountain West championship and two bowl game victories.

He left because of health problems that have seemingly been resolved. He remained in the area, living in Clovis.

Tedford is Cal’s all-time winningest coach, in his 2002-2012 sting.

This will be Tedford’s fifth time with the Bulldog program — once as a player, twice as an assistant coach and now two times has head coach.

Tedford will officially take over after the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 18. Interim coach Lee Marks will lead the Bulldogs, facing UTEP.

David Taub has spent most of his career in journalism behind the scenes working as a TV assignment editor and radio producer. For more than a decade, he has worked in the Fresno market with such stops at KSEE-24, KMJ and Power Talk 96.7. Taub also worked the production and support side of some of TV sports biggest events including the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and NASCAR to name a few. Taub graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email