San Jose State football coach Brent Brennan accepts three-year extension, raise

SAN JOSE — Last summer, as San Jose State prepared for the 2019 football season, head coach Brent Brennan sat his team down to talk about its future.

Brennan had players write down their goals, no matter how big or how small. Some players expressed their dreams of reaching the NFL while others wanted fancy cars and houses. But Brennan had something else in mind.

“The first thing I wrote down is that I want to be the head coach here for the next 15 years,” Brennan said. “That’s the goal for me.”

After a 5-7 season, which nearly tripled the team’s win total from its previous two years, San Jose State announced a three-year, $2.55 million extension for Brennan, the first time the school has extended a football head coach’s contract since 2012.

Along with a hefty salary bump, the extension now gives Brennan’s hopes of being the longest tenured football coach in SJSU history life.

“This is home for coach Brennan,” SJSU President Dr. Mary Papazian said. “None of us know the future, but we have high hopes that the commitment is here and we can build something that we can all be proud of.”

For Brennan, 2019 has been a year of redemption, resilience and resurgence. After accepting the role as head coach in 2017, Brennan’s Spartans amassed just three wins before 2019. This included a 2018 campaign in which SJSU won just one game.

From beating Arkansas on the road in SJSU’s first win over an SEC program, to hoisting the Valley Trophy after a 17-16 win over Fresno State in the final game of the regular season, the Spartans got their first real taste of winning under Brennan.

While the Spartans missed a possible postseason bid by one victory, the school administration noted the positive results coupled with a culture shift for the program.

“We have seen that really come through as well as some amazing wins and losses,” Papazian said. “Losses that we can be proud of because of the heart and soul with which our players played. We knew we had the right person at the helm.”

Brennan’s three-year extension, which will command an $850,000 annual salary, is first time SJSU has extended a head coach for its football team since 2012 when Mike MacIntyre tacked on an additional five years to his contract.

After leading SJSU to 10-2 record that year, MacIntyre left for a Pac-12 job at Colorado weeks before the Spartans’ 29-20 Military Bowl win over Bowling Green. Since then, the Spartans have yet to experience a season above .500.

San Jose State’s longest tenured coaches are Dudley DeGroot (1932-39) and Bob Titchenal (1957-64), each of whom spent eight seasons coaching the Spartans. If Brennan serves the duration of his contract, he will join that list with eight seasons of his own.

“I don’t think there’s been anyone here for more than five years in the last 30 years,” Brennan said. “That’s been part of the challenge, and we’re trying to get it right.”

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