Cal’s Tedford, Sac State’s Mooshagian Share Much More Than Just Coaching
By BRIAN BAINUM
Daily Cal Staff Writer
Thursday, September 1, 2005
Before he set several school passing records at Fresno State in the ’80s, before he played professionally in the Canadian Football League, before he began developing the first of his six NFL quarterbacks and before he guided the Cal football team to a No. 4 national ranking in 2004, Jeff Tedford knew Sacramento State football coach Steve Mooshagian. The pair go way back. Tedford and Mooshagian, who will find themselves on opposite sidelines this Saturday at Memorial Stadium when the Bears face the Hornets in each team’s season opener, have a long history of friendship dating back to their high school days in Downey, Calif.
“I was at Warren (High School) and he was at Downey, so we were cross-town rivals,” Tedford said. “I used to tease him that he went to the rich school, and I went to the poor school.”
But now when it comes to matters of money, it is Mooshagian who can poke fun at Tedford, who signed a five-year contract worth up to $10 million.
“(Tedford’s wife) Donna used to make him a sandwich and there would be just cheese and bread when he was starting out because he wasn’t making too much money,” Mooshagian joked. “When he got his contract, I asked him if he was getting his bologna and an extra piece of cheese.”
But the twist that has seen Tedford become and icon in Berkeley—and get all the meat he wants on his sandwiches—has not separated the two in the least. “He hasn’t changed a bit,” Mooshagian said. “He has more money in his checkbook, he drives a better car and he lives in a better house, but the person is still the same.”
Mooshagian said the pair met in high school. The two found they had much in common, namely a passion for football.
“He remembered some play I had made the year before in high school,” Mooshagian said. “I followed his senior year of high school and we kept in touch.” Tedford and Mooshagian played together at both Cerritos Junior College and Fresno State. At both schools, their connection extended onto the field. Tedford played quarterback and Mooshagian lined up at the wide receiver position.
After playing one year for the Bulldogs, Mooshagian was one of the reasons Fresno State recruited Tedford. “I told (the coaches) that he was a competitor,” Mooshagian said. “He was only 5-foot-11, but if you can get over that, he’s a great quarterback.” Tedford did not disappoint. With him under center, the Bulldogs boasted the nation’s highest-scoring offense, tallying 44.2 points per game. Their 541.9 yards per game was second best in the country that year as well.
Tedford went on to play in the CFL, bouncing around various teams—Hamilton, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg. When his playing career was over, Tedford returned to Fresno State in 1987 to be a volunteer assistant. Mooshagian was still with the Bulldogs at that time. Over the years since then, the two have kept in touch. However, Tedford said his friendship with Mooshagian had nothing to do with the scheduling of Saturday’s game.
Nor will their friendship affect how the game is played by both squads. Indeed, both teams have plenty of questions that need answering before their respective league seasons begin. Cal starts many players who will see action for the first time, while Sacramento State will be tested in a Division I-A atmosphere against a heavily favored opponent in front of a packed house. “We’ll give each other a hug before the game and then go battle each others butts off, and after the game it’ll be a hug again,” Mooshagian said.