Head coach Marshall Sperbeck shocks Sac State with resignation

State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State head football coach Marshall Sperbeck suddenly announced his resignation last Friday after seven seasons coaching on the sidelines.

Sperbeck compiled a 35-44 overall record that included wins against Pac-12 schools Oregon State and Colorado. Last season the team finished 5-7.

Speculation as to why Sperbeck resigned has centered around a report that there is an ongoing internal investigation into Sperbeck violating NCAA recruiting policies, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.

The Bee published the article on Friday night which stated that an anonymous 10-page letter was sent to The Bee, Sac State and the NCAA, detailing the alleged violations.

According to the article, the letter included information that Sperbeck exceeded the number of allowable phone calls to recruits, and was in attendance at a workout during what the NCAA deems as a “dead period” for college coaches.

The Sac State athletics department would not confirm if there was such a letter and declined to provide further information on an investigation.

“Sacramento State takes compliance with NCAA rules seriously,” said Brian Berger, spokesperson from the athletic department. “Consistent with with federal and state privacy mandates as well as NCAA and Big Sky Conference procedures, the University does not discuss compliance issues that may be under review.”

The school’s athletic director, Terry Wanless, was not available to comment on the investigation but released his own statement at the time of Sperbeck’s resignation

“The Hornet football program made definite strides during Coach Sperbeck’s seven years at Sacramento State,” Wanless said. “I thank him for his commitment to our program, and I am excited about the Hornet team that will take the field in 2014.”

Jody Sears, who was hired as the team’s defensive coordinator in January, will take Sperbeck’s place as the interim head coach. In two seasons coaching at Weber State University he was 4-19.

At the time of Sperbeck’s resignation, Sears said the primary focus of the team was to keep the players focused on football.

“These players are resilient and strong, and I know they feel a lot of empathy for coach (Sperbeck),” Sears said. “Our immediate priority is to make sure that the guys understand this is a teachable moment and the mission is not going to change.”

Hornets’ senior wide receiver DeAndre Carter said he was disappointed that Sperbeck stepped down, but is optimistic for the future.

““It’s hard to have to see anybody resign or step down from something they love doing,” Carter said. “We were all shocked, but as a team we had to realize that we have goals for the upcoming season and we have to continue to work toward those goals.”

When asked about the investigation via email, the NCAA said that due to rules put in place by its membership, it could not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.

Prior to his tenure at Sac State, Sperbeck experienced success at Foothill College in Los Altos, Calif. where he coached for 15 seasons, finishing with a 109-53 record, while leading his team to 11 bowl games.

Sperbeck was also unavailable for comment.