Cal fires coach Sonny Dykes, could Chip Kelly become a target?

We have another surprising coaching vacancy.

California announced Sunday afternoon that it had fired coach Sonny Dykes.

"This was an extremely difficult decision and one that we take very seriously," said Cal athletic director Mike Williams in a release from the school. "There was no rush to judgment; we wanted to be thorough and thoughtful. Ultimately, it was a combination of factors that brought us to this outcome. We are continuously evaluating our program and looking for ways to make it better -- whether that's through additional academic support, recruiting, facilities, staffing, culture, leadership or anything else that can help our football program succeed. Primarily, we want what's best for our student-athletes and have a head coach in place who is fully committed to our program and our university."

Dykes came to Cal in 2013, and went 19-30 in his four seasons with the Golden Bears, including a 5-7 record in 2016. The Bears went 8-5 in 2015 with future No. 1 NFL Draft pick Jared Goff at quarterback.

Dykes came to Cal after spending three seasons at Louisiana Tech, where he went 22-15.

While the timing of the decision comes as a surprise, if you've paid close attention to the relationship between Dykes and the school, the timing is the only thing about this decision that is odd. Over the last few years, Dykes has interviewed for other jobs, including the openings at Houston (in 2014, not this year), Missouri and even at Baylor this season. As you'd expect, those interviews didn't sit well with the administration at Cal, as it always felt like Dykes had a foot out the door and was looking for something else.

But what about the timing?

Why would Cal make the decision to fire Dykes now and not a month ago? Well, there's one obvious reason that comes to mind, and it rhymes with Whip Deli.

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly was fired by the San Francisco 49ers last week, and he has since said he'd be open to returning to the college level.

It's possible Kelly could be planning to make a quick trip across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to Berkeley to do just that.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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