http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/aztecs/20051205-9999-craft4signon.html By Brent Schrotenboer UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER 11:09 a.m. December 5, 2005 San Diego State head football coach Tom Craft was fired today, and the decision was announced in an afternoon news conference at the school. The Aztecs players were informed of the move today by Athletic Director Jeff Schemmel after finishing the season 5-7 with a loss to Hawaii late Saturday night. The search for a replacement will begin immediately and could last two weeks. Craft, whose record at SDSU was 19-29, had one year left on this contract. According to his contract, he will be owed approximately $140,000 for the remaining year on his deal and could be reassigned to another position in the university. Though he had yet to hear from university administrators, Craft had said Sunday that he expected to be back next year. The Aztecs, who finished in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Mountain West Conference, remain the only MWC team not to have participated in a bowl game since the league's inception in 1999. SDSU has not had a winning season since 1998. SDSU hired Craft to his first Division I coaching position in December 2001. In announcing the move, Schemmel said he weighed several factors he found lacking: "We lacked a positive energy that the community could get excited about. Tom and I talked about that at great length." Schemmel said sometimes making a change "can generate that energy and excitement." "I certainly sensed a lack of confidence in the program – where it was going, where it was headed." Schemmel said that while Craft upgraded the team in his four seasons, he was not sure Craft was the coach to take the program "that next step." Schemmel reiterated what he said when he was hired before the football season – that SDSU has Top 10 potential."I firmly believe ... we could do what Utah did. Our assets that we have in place here are greater than theirs." He obviously didn't think Craft was the man to get that done. "I think it was time for a change," Schemmel said. Quarterback Kevin O'Connell, one of a handful of players told of Craft's dismissal before a team meeting, said, "It was rough on the guys, but that is expected. (Tom Craft) has always supported us. That's why we have so much respect for the man and it's going to be tough to see him go. "I was a little surprised. The decision was made by ... a man who everyone in this program has tremendous respect for and we're going to go for it." O'Connell noted that if a couple close games had gone differently, "We might be talking about what bowl game we're playing in a month."