Former MH resident Caragher named Spartans coach

Ron Caragher’s college football coaching career has led from UCLA to Kentucky to the University of San Diego.

And now, home.

San Jose State introduced Caragher, who was raised in Morgan Hill, as its head football coach Monday. Caragher, 45, replaces Mike MacIntyre, who guided the Spartans to a 10-2 regular season and a berth in the Military Bowl this season before accepting a lucrative head coaching position at Colorado.

“It’s still hitting me that I’m back home because I’ve been gone for a long time,” Caragher said. “Here we are 25 years later coming back home to where I grew up, so I’m really fired up about that.”

Caragher was born in Redwood City, but said he moved to Morgan Hill when he was about 4 years old. He attended Britton Middle School before playing high school football at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose.

Caragher’s mother, Marilyn, still lives in Morgan Hill.

“This is a homecoming,” Caragher said in his opening remarks to a crowd of media joined by San Jose State staff members, alumni, boosters and a gathering of players inside the Simpkins Center.

Caragher agreed to a five-year contract, San Jose State announced.

Caragher joins the Spartans after going 44-22 in six years as head coach at the University of San Diego. He helped keep the non-scholarship Toreros among the best programs in the Football Championship Subdivision after current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh left USD to become Stanford’s head coach in December 2006.

“This is not new for him to follow a good coach,” Spartans athletic director Gene Bleymaier said.

Harbaugh told reporters Monday that San Jose State made a “great hire.”

“Great guy. Great family,” Harbaugh said.

Caragher helped USD share Pioneer Football League titles in 2007, 2011 and 2012, and was named the league’s Coach of the Year in 2011.

Caragher was a quarterback at UCLA in the 1980s, including a stint as Troy Aikman’s backup. Caragher went on to serve as a wide receivers and special teams coach at UCLA and a running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Kentucky before taking over at USD in 2007.

Caragher quarterbacked Bellarmine Prep to a Central Coast Section title game at Spartan Stadium in 1984.

Several former South Valley players dot San Jose State’s roster, including cornerback Ralph Jackson (Sobrato High), long snapper Ryan DiSalvo (San Benito High) and offensive tackle Jeff Grattan (Gavilan College).

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