By Kavin Mistry
With very little surprise and coming off of another losing season, the San Jose State Spartans fired head football coach Ron Caragher on Sunday.
Caragher’s Spartans had an abysmal season this year following its bowl winning season in 2015 and has finished his SJSU tenure with a 19-30 record.
SJSU will now begin its search for its fourth coach in the last nine years. The most recent change was in 2012 when Caragher was hired to replace Mike MacIntyre, who left the program after being hired at the University of Colorado.
It has been nothing less than a rocky four years for Caragher who was tasked with having to take over for a coach who led the Spartans to its first appearance in the Associated Press top 25 rankings in 2012.
Caragher was making $525,000 per year as the Spartans’ head coach over the past four years, $75,000 more than MacIntyre made per season before he left. SJSU is still obligated to pay off of the final year of Caragher’s contract, which was set to expire after the 2017 season.
There is no question Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier will be under fire if he does not hire a coach capable of pushing the Spartans up the ranks in the Mountain West conference.
“I want to thank Coach Caragher for his hard work and commitment to San Jose State football these past four years,” Bleymaier said in a statement Sunday. “A search for a new head coach will begin immediately.”
Bleymaier made the decision to hire Caragher in 2012, which is now being placed under tremendous pressure because of the outcome.
“We found out during a meeting on Sunday from Gene Bleymaier,” said Spartans kicker Bryce Crawford. “He told us what was going to happen in the next few days and that he was beginning his search for a new coach.”
Caragher inherited an 11-win team in 2013, which included top NFL prospect, quarterback David Fales and highly sought after playmaking running back Tyler Ervin.
“At first I was really surprised,” Crawford said. “But after sleeping— on it and talking to some of my teammates about it, we came to the conclusion about how it’s a good situation for coach Caragher. I have the upmost respect for his whole staff and him as well and he was a great guy and we never really had any issues with him.”
SJSU started a slow decline from the moment Caragher stepped onto campus, and minus the bowl win last year — which only came because a 5-7 team was given a bowl — did not come anywhere close to the 2012 team.
“It’s rough for any team to lose their head coach,” said Spartans linebacker Frank Ginda. “I am personally hurt because Caragher has done a lot for me personally, starting with getting me here.”
This season became the breaking point due to the high optimistic preseason having won the Cure Bowl and quarterback Kenny Potter returning for his senior season.
Nothing panned out as planned. The Spartans found more ways to lose than win this season, the tipping point coming last week in the final game of the season when Caragher and his staff mismanaged the game clock late in the fourth quarter.
SJSU had the lead and chose to pass the ball instead of running the ball to burn the clock, which opened the door for Air Force to go 33 yards to win the game.
Despite the rivalry win over the weekend against a lowly 1-10 Fresno State team, Bleymaier said enough was enough and Caragher was out the door 24 hours later.
“I just preached to the guys that we need to stay together,” Ginda said. “Trust the process.”