The Fresno State Bulldogs have established themselves as a model of consistency following a disastrous 2016 season. After going 1-11 and firing Tim DeRuyter during the regular season, the Bulldogs have since been spearheaded by a head coach familiar with Bulldogs football.
Here’s how the Fresno State coaching staff stacks up under head coach Jeff Tedford.
Fresno State 2023 Coaching Staff
Head Coach Jeff Tedford
“Teddy” is the man behind the Bulldogs’ renaissance as a consistent power.
Right away, he guided Fresno State to 22 wins in his first two seasons culminating with Hawaii and Las Vegas Bowl wins. Here’s what else Tedford has accomplished:
Tedford even helped keep some continuity going after abruptly stepping down after the 2019 season due to heart issues. His former offensive coordinator in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Kalen DeBoer, took over two seasons before heading off to Washington.
But again, Fresno State has enjoyed renewed success with the pair of MWC titles, wins on the famous Blue Turf, plus reproducing NFL talent. Notable players now in the league who were under Tedford include:
- Jake Haener, quarterback, New Orleans Saints
- Jalen Moreno-Cropper, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys
- Ronnie Rivers, running back, Los Angeles Rams
- Netane Muti, guard, Las Vegas Raiders
- Arron Mosby, outside linebacker, Green Bay Packers
- Nikko Remigio, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
- Jordan Mims, running back, New Orleans Saints
- David Perales, edge rusher, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Alex Akingbulu, offensive tackle, Washington Commanders
- DaRon Bland, cornerback, Dallas Cowboys
Tedford was familiar with Fresno State even before he first accepted the head coaching job in December 2016 and even before he established himself with the Cal Golden Bears. He’s a former Bulldogs quarterback and a graduate of Fresno State.
College football fans also likely remember Tedford’s run at Berkeley. He is, to this day, the Golden Bears’ winningest football coach with an 82-57 record. Fans also recall the talent he produced in Strawberry Canyon — names like Aaron Rodgers, DeSean Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Cam Jordan, Keenan Allen, and Marvin Jones.
Offensive Coordinator Pat McCann
Pat McCann has emerged as a fast-riser in collegiate coaching circles.
He helped produce Eastern Washington offenses that were threats to surpass 500 total yards each game. He’s now the man behind the Bulldogs’ MWC-leading offense of 2022 and growing national reputation.
In addition to his coaching, McCann has drawn rave reviews as a recruiter. He helped recruit Jalen Moss, who was once courted by Oregon, Arizona State, and Nebraska, and helped lure Boston College transfer and former four-star Ohio State signing Jaelen Gill.
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle
Kevin Coyle, like Tedford, is no stranger to Fresno State.
He’s in his second stint with the Bulldogs, as he was originally hired by Pat Hill in 1997 and stayed in the 559 region until 2000. Coyle then had a lengthy run in the NFL from 2001 to 2017 with the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins.
Coyle also has experience in the SEC, as he was with LSU twice in 2018 and then from 2019 to 2021 as a senior defensive analyst. He’s since produced a top-five MWC defense in his return to the Central Valley of California.
Associate Head Coach/Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator John Baxter
Staying with the current theme of past Fresno State coaches, John Baxter is another on his second run in the 559.
Baxter was one of the first hires Hill made and coached from 1997 to 2009 at Fresno. He then joined USC when the Trojans were led by another former Bulldog named Lane Kiffin.
After stints with Michigan (2015) and then returning to USC from 2016 to 2018, Baxter spent four years away from coaching collegiately before returning in 2022. Baxter annually produces one of the nation’s top special teams units and, in his return, got FS to lead the FBS in averaging 19.92 yards per punt return.
Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Tim Skipper
Now, the theme of past Bulldogs on their second run continues with “T Skip.” However, Tim Skipper is a legendary Bulldog defender.
He was a celebrated linebacker for Fresno State who earned three All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) honors from 1997-2000. He then returned to his alma mater in 2006, holding the role of running backs coach before eventually crossing back to linebacker.
After not being retained by DeRuyter in 2012, Skipper went on to coach at Colorado State, Florida, UNLV, and then Central Michigan before being lured back by Tedford in 2022.
Pass Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach J.D. Williams
Skipper isn’t the only former Bulldogs standout on this staff. J.D. Williams holds the claim of becoming the school’s first-ever first-round draft selection, as he was taken 16th overall in the 1990 draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was an All-American honorable mention in 1988.
His coaching career began in 1997 as a grad assistant under Hill. While he spent 2000 to 2001 with Fresno State, he’s had a longer stint with the Bulldogs as he’s been on the coaching staff since 2017. Williams has additionally coached at UNLV, Utah, Washington, and Cal — the latter during a time Tedford was there from 2002 to 2005.
Run Game Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Jethro Franklin
Now we conclude the theme of past Bulldogs back on their second run.
Jethro Franklin was a decorated football player for Fresno State and is known for shattering the school record in sacks with 19.5 in 1986. He then suited up for the Houston Oilers and Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.
His first coaching stop was at his alma mater from 1991 until 1998. He then had stops in the NFL coaching ranks with the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, and the Seattle Seahawks. He’s also coached at USC, Temple, Miami, UCLA, and Missouri before eventually returning to Fresno.
Offensive Line Coach Brian Armstrong
We now get into newcomers to the Bulldogs. Brian Armstrong, better known as “Coach Army,” came to the Bulldogs for the 2023 season via Montana State. He produced FCS All-Americans in the four seasons he coached the offensive line.
Fresno State represents Armstrong’s second MWC opportunity, as he was with Utah State from 2003 to 2004 as a grad assistant (when the Aggies were in the WAC).
Running Backs Coach Aaron Prier
Aaron Prier is the second new face on the Bulldogs’ staff for 2023.
He came to Fresno State via Eastern Washington from 2021-2022, where he worked alongside McCann. His Eagle offense ranked as the best in the FCS. Before being on the red surface at EWU, he coached at Idaho State from 2016 to 2021.
Prier, though, is no stranger to California. He’s a native of Richmond, California, in the Bay Area.
Quarterbacks Coach Matt Wade
Matt Wade was promoted by Tedford ahead of 2023. He started out as an offensive quality control coach before being promoted to QB coach.
He’s had his hand in the development of UCF transfer Mikey Keene and Logan Fife — the latter during a time he had to step in for an injured Keene.
Wade’s other college stops are Southern Utah, Pacific University, and UC Davis.
Nickelbacks Coach Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson is another Tedford promotion. Nelson spent his first two seasons as a defensive quality control coach before being elevated to nickelbacks in 2022 before the title run.
Nelson’s past stops are Indiana, North Carolina State, and South Florida — where he was a grad assistant in all three places.