Written by: Jenna Wilson & Daniel Gligich
Tim DeRuyter was removed as head coach of the Fresno State football team, Athletic Director Jim Bartko said at a press conference Sunday.
“The president and I both felt that on the field [DeRuyter] has not lived up to the standard that the Valley needs,” Bartko said.
Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau has been named the interim head coach.
Discussion between Bartko and Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro concerning DeRuyter’s future at Fresno State did not start until last Monday shortly after the team’s loss to San Diego State.
DeRuyter was hired in 2012, the same year Fresno State joined the Mountain West Conference. Since winning division titles in 2012, 2013 and being named co-conference champions in 2012 and winning the conference championship in 2013 with the help of now-professional players Derek Carr and Davante Adams, DeRuyter has not had a winning season. His overall record as Fresno State’s head coach was 30-30.
Finishing 3-9 in 2015 and starting this season 1-7, DeRuyter’s record over the past two seasons and in the words of Bartko “were not what our fans and university expect.”
In 2014, the university signed DeRuyter to a five-year contract to remain the head football coach through 2018. An agreement that consisted of $7.5 million in base salary, between $1.4 and $1.6 million per season with opportunities to earn $500,000 to $700,000 a year in performance bonuses – and with a record of 4-16 since signing the contract, bonuses that DeRuyter likely never saw.
Because DeRuyter’s deal did not include a buyout clause, the university still owes him $3.1 million.
“We will honor the terms of our agreement with Coach DeRuyter,” Castro said. “Of course I would have loved to see him succeed over that entire five-year period. That was our hope, and we saw over the last few weeks that wasn’t going to happen, so we felt like we needed to make this change today.”
Fresno State will be meeting with DeRuyter and his representatives in the coming week.
Starting Monday, the university will begin a nationwide search to fill the head coach position.
“Integrity is first and foremost,” Bartko said. “Somebody that cares about academics and athletics is first and foremost.”
A Fresno State graduate or someone who is familiar with the Central Valley is preferred, but not necessarily required, according to Bartko.
Former Fresno State player and quarterback coach Jeff Tedford is believed to be on the radar as a top candidate, but Bartko denied any claims of his potential hiring.
While a new coach may be named before the season ends, Kiesau will finish the remaining four games of the season as the interim head coach.
Bartko’s main priority moving forward is to win football games and make sure the players are taken care of.
Bartko and Castro repeatedly emphasized the difficulty of the decision and praised DeRuyter for his class and character.
“I want to thank, on behalf of all of us, the DeRuyter family for all they’ve done,” Bartko said. “This does not diminish what kind of coach he is.”
His message to the Red Wave: “Trust us. Support our program: win or lose. We’ll do what we know is right for this university. You deserve a winner; we want to have a winner. We had a winner with Coach DeRuyter. Now it’s just time for a change and to move in a different direction.”
The Bulldogs take on Air Force (4-3) on Oct. 28 at Bulldog Stadium.