Sonny Dykes explains why he hired Jake Spavital and why Tony Franklin left

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday February 12, 2016

In finding a new offensive coordinator, Sonny Dykes says Jake Spavital was the perfect fit because of his Air Raid background.

Though Dykes and Spavital have never worked together, they both come from the Hal Mumme-Mike Leach tree, through Spavital’s work under Dana Holgorsen.

“The most important thing for a head coach with an offensive background is to hire somebody that comes from the same school of thought and same family,” Dykes told SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “Jake Spavital just made sense. He was raised under the same guys I was raised under or that played for us. There’s all these different connections, and Jake was highly involved in those connections.

“… He’s also a very dynamic recruiter, and for us to take the next step as a program, we’ve got to recruit better. We’ve gotten better in everything we’ve done over three years. We need to take the next step and feel we can do it with Jake.”

Cal’s OC job was open because of Tony Franklin's surprise move from Cal to Middle Tennessee State. Dykes and Franklin had spent the past six years together, producing some of the top offenses. Franklin contract was reportedly set to expire, but Dykes said he wanted to be closer to home in the southeast.

“His parents live about 70 miles away from there, and they’re dealing with some health issues,” Dykes said. “He felt it was time to get back that direction. I was really happy the Middle Tennessee job was open. Rick Stockstill’s a great guy, and Tony had worked with him before. When that opened up, it was a great fit. Tony will do a great job there. He’s a great person and a close friend. You hate for it to happen, but you hire good people like Jake and keep rolling.”

Though Franklin left, Dykes said the increased assistant salary pool as part of his own new contract was vital for the program, due to the cost of living in the region. Dykes has his new offensive coordinator and new support from the school as he moves into year four.

“A thing that’s been an issue here in the past is retaining coaches, because the cost of living in the Bay Area,” Dykes said. “They’re working with us to allow us to raise salaries and retain coaches to keep consistency within our program.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to