Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin resigns to take a position at Middle Tennessee State

In a surprise move, Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has resigned as offensive coordinator in Berkeley, to take a position as offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State.

On the eve of the biggest recruiting weekend of the year, California offensive coordinator Tony Franklin announced Friday that he has resigned from his position at Cal, where he has served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past three campaigns, and adding the title of running backs coach in his final season at the school in 2015.

Franklin accepted a position to become the offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State. A source characterized the move as not a professionally-motivated one, but to be closer to family, and Franklin's statement says as much. He did not want to leave Berkeley, but felt a need to be closer to his family. Another source said that Franklin was seeking a multi-year extension, that had not been granted. Franklin told CBS Jon Solomon that his contract expired in April, and that discussions would have happened after Feb. 3 -- National Signing Day.

Franklin leaving seems to have been a combination of both contract and family, as he wants to be closer to his parents, daughters and grandchildren, who live in the Southeast.

"When Laura and I made this decision to leave Cal and move back closer to our family we were very fortunate to have an opportunity arise soon after," Franklin said. "The new opportunity allowed me to continue to coach football as well as have a closer relationship with our parents, children and grandchildren. I am grateful to head coach Rick Stockstill and Middle Tennessee State University for welcoming me back as the offensive coordinator for the Blue Raiders. In 2009 we worked together to win a MTSU Division I record 10 games and I’m certain we can work together to better that this go around.

“It has been an honor to represent the world’s No. 1 public education institution as the offensive coordinator for one of the nation’s best offenses,” Franklin said in a statement. “The young men I was honored to lead shattered the Cal record books with an exciting brand of football, unlike any previously performed in Cal’s rich history, culminating with a 2015 bowl game victory.”

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1632198-dykes-franklin-han... Franklin was set to preside over a heated quarterback race to replace departing junior Jared Goff when Cal began spring practice in early March.

Franklin leaves the side of head coach Sonny Dykes, whom he has served as offensive coordinator for the past six seasons, between Louisiana Tech and Cal. Dykes has not worked with another offensive coordinator in his career as a head coach, although his longtime receivers coach -- Rob Likens -- took the offensive coordinator job at Kansas this past season, as the Jayhawks went 0-12. Likens has not responded to a request for a comment. He was in Berkeley during bowl practices, and was instrumental in developing the top six receivers who helped Cal set records this year.

“I appreciate all of the contributions that Tony has made over the last three seasons to make our football program successful and all that he has accomplished throughout his career including the last six years we have spent working together at Cal and Louisiana Tech,” Dykes said in a statement. “I will miss him both as a colleague and a friend, but at this point in his career he has decided that this is the best move for him and his family. I respect and honor that wholeheartedly, and I wish both Tony and his family nothing but the best.”

“I am also extremely confident and excited that we will hire an offensive coordinator that will help us continue to grow upon our recent success and the foundation that Tony and all of our coaches have built at Cal,” Dykes added. “We have a terrific foundation in place now, and we will embrace the opportunity to hire an outstanding offensive coordinator that will help us continue to have success as a team and be one of the top offenses in college football.”

The move comes on the heels of Dykes saying earlier this month that no major changes were expected on the staff, but also, Franklin's curious absence from the bevy of in-home visit photos that came out over the course of the last week and a half.

Dykes has experience as an offensive coordinator -- back when he guided Arizona's offense under Mike Stoops from 2007 to 2009 -- so it would not be out of the question to have him run the offense, and hire a running backs coach or a wide receivers coach.

Franklin -- who turns 59 on Aug. 29 -- has never spent more than three seasons at one institution in his career. 2015 was his third in Berkeley, and by far his best.

The Bears went 8-5, the school’s most victories since 2009, ending the season with a win over Air Force at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl victory was Cal’s first postseason win since 2008 in its first bowl appearance since 2011. The team’s seven-win turnaround over the last two seasons is tied for the second best in school history behind only the eight-win improvement from a 2-10 mark in 1946 to a 10-1 record in 1948.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1634974-cal-hosts-20-offic... Franklin's offense set single-season school records for passing yardage (4,892), passing yards per game (376.3 ypg), passing touchdowns (44), total offense (6,879), total yards per game (529.2 ypg), total touchdowns (63), scoring offense (37.9 ppg, modern-era record), first downs (341) and first downs passing (201), with all the marks previously set in 2013 or 2014.

Cal ranked third nationally in passing offense, eighth in total offense and 17th in scoring offense in 2015, with all of the numbers second in the Pac-12.

Junior quarterback Jared Goff -- the only quarterback in decades who Franklin has had for three seasons -- declared for the 2016 NFL Draft last month, after setting 26 school records during his three seasons as Cal’s starting quarterback from 2013-15 including career marks for passing yardage (12,220), touchdown passes (96), total offense (12,086) and completions (977). He also finished his career second on the school’s all-time list for passing efficiency (143.95) behind only Aaron Rodgers. He ranks third all-time in Pac-12 history in passing yardage and fourth in passing touchdowns, while he is 26th nationally in passing yards and 27th in passing touchdowns.

Cal was the only team in the nation to have six receivers with 40 or more catches in 2015 – Kenny Lawler (52-658, 13 TD), Darius Powe (47-560, 8 TD), Bryce Treggs (45-956, 7 TD), Stephen Anderson (41-474, 2 TD), Trevor Davis (40-672, 2 TD) and Maurice Harris (40-558, 6 TD). The Bears also had three 500-yard rushers – Khalfani Muhammad (87-586, 1 TD), Vic Enwere (106-505, 8 TD) and Tre Watson (89-504, 3 TD) – to become the first college football team in recorded history to have six players with 40 or more receptions and three 500-yard rushers in the same season.

The 2016 season would have been Franklin's first in Berkeley without all six of those receivers, Goff, and tailback Daniel Lasco, though the Bears do return four of five offensive line starters and all three of their most productive tailbacks from this past season.

One of Franklin's final recruits -- former Michigan quarterback commit Victor Viramontes -- is scheduled to visit officially on the weekend of Jan. 29. The biggest key recruit this weekend -- A.J. Brown -- was mainly handled by Dykes and Jacob Peeler, so there's likely no danger of this move affecting him.

The offensive line class -- which took off once OL coach Brandon Jones convinced Franklin to go away from the vertical set -- is very solid, thanks to Jones, with Francisco Perez needing to be shored up this weekend, and Nate Herbig a likely flip from Stanford, to go along with early-enrollee Jake Curhan, solid commit Daniel Juarez, early JuCo enrollee Dwayne Wallace and official visitor Gentle Williams, who joins Perez, Herbig and Juarez on the visit weekend. All of the linemen committed are at least 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, with Perez, Wallace and Williams over 300. Herbig checks in at 6-foot-3, 335 pounds.

Franklin's Full Statement

I have submitted my resignation from my position as the offensive coordinator with the University of California football program effective January 25, 2016.

It has been an honor to represent the world’s No. 1 public education institution as the offensive coordinator for one of the nation’s best offenses. The young men I was honored to lead shattered the Cal record books with an exciting brand of football, unlike any previously performed in Cal’s rich history, culminating with a 2015 bowl game victory.

I wanted this to be the final stop of my coaching career which began in 1979 and has enjoyed parts of five decades. However, it wasn’t meant to be.

It is an exciting time for Cal football and I’ll forever value the fact that I was able to play a role in invigorating this football program. Most every week we were able to put one of the most exciting offenses in college football on the field. The future is bright and big things should continue to happen in the near future.

Thank you to the young men who pledged their bodies, hearts, minds and souls to represent this great university, and thanks to the coaches I was honored to work with.

Coach Dykes, his staff and Director of Athletics Mike Williams have created a climate where young men will succeed on and off the field. I expect Cal football to get better each year under their continued vision and leadership.

I give a special thanks to former Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour for having the faith and foresight to give us an opportunity. It has been an adventure I will always be proud of and it has made my life better to be an educator in Berkeley.

When Laura and I made this decision to leave Cal and move back closer to our family we were very fortunate to have an opportunity arise soon after. The new opportunity allowed me to continue to coach football as well as have a closer relationship with our parents, children and grandchildren. I am grateful to head coach Rick Stockstill and Middle Tennessee State University for welcoming me back as the offensive coordinator for the Blue Raiders. In 2009 we worked together to win a MTSU Division I record 10 games and I’m certain we can work together to better that this go around.


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