Jody Sears became the 10th head football coach in Sacramento State history when he was named the head football coach on April 25, 2014. The elevation came just months after Sears was hired as the Hornets' defensive coordinator in the spring of 2014.
Sears became the first Sacramento State football coach to be named the Big Sky Coach of the Year. He earned the honor following the 2017 season in which he led the team to a 7-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in league games. The six league victories marked a first for the Hornets since joining the Big Sky and the seven wins over Div. I opponents was also a first. Sacramento State set records on both sides of the ball and the team was rewarded with 14 players earning all-Big Sky honors, including three on the first team. During the season, the Hornets went 5-1 at home while averaging 50.6 points per games in the wins. The defense also ended the year as the FCS leader in sacks per game.
Despite taking over the team following spring practice, Sears helped unify the 2014 team which went on to record a 7-5 overall record, matching the highest win total in the school’s Div. I era. The seven victories were the most by a first-year coach in Sacramento State history, surpassing the previous high by two wins. In fact, Sears joined College Football Hall of Famer John Baker as the only Hornet coaches to post winning records in their debut season at Sacramento State. Led by a high-powered offense which set or tied nine school single-season records, the Hornets scored 40 or more points in eight games.
Following the season, 14 members of the team earned all-Big Sky honors. Among that list was All-American wide receiver DeAndre Carter and kicker Brad Cornish who were each named first team all-league. Quarterback Garrett Safron, linebacker Darnell Sankey, wide receiver Nnamdi Agude and defensive end Jaycee Totty were each voted to the second team.
Sears also continued to serve as the team's defensive coordinator. His unit showed continued improvement throughout the season, helping spark the Hornets' three game winning streak to end the year. In the victory over UC Davis in the Causeway Classic, the defense forced five turnovers and also had a pair of fourth-down stops.
In 2015, Sears’ team battled youth and key injuries throughout the season. Sacramento State had 15 underclassmen on the defensive two deep and played five quarterbacks during the year. Even with all the change, the team had five players earn all-Big Sky honors. The group was highlighted by Sankey who was a first team selection and became the first consensus All-American in the school’s Div. I era.
A veteran of the Big Sky Conference, Sears was the defensive coordinator at Eastern Washington from 2003-07 and returned to the league as the head coach at Weber State in 2012-13.
With 20 years of collegiate coaching experience, Sears brought a lengthy resume to the Hornets. His coaching tenure began as a graduate assistant at Iowa State in 1994 where he spent three years coaching the defensive backs and wide receivers. He was then the defensive coordinator at St. Ambrose in 1998 before moving to Army where he oversaw the cornerbacks and defensive line.
Sears' first opportunity in the Big Sky came at Eastern Washington where he coached the safeties, linebackers and defensive backs from 2000-02. He was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2003 and had seven of his players earn all-Big Sky honors.
While with the Eagles, the team made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs three times and also produced three FCS All-Americans on defense, including Buck Buchanan Award winner Greg Peach. Eastern Washington also ranked among the conference's leaders in takeaways during Sears' time as defensive coordinator.
In 2008, Sears followed Eastern Washington head coach Paul Wulff to Washington State. He served as the Cougars' co-defensive coordinator for three seasons and coached the cornerbacks in each of his four seasons at WSU.
Sears returned to the Big Sky in April of 2012 as the defensive coordinator for John L. Smith at Weber State. However, after Smith departed for Arkansas, Sears was named the interim head coach for the Wildcats. During his first season, the team had seven all-Big Sky performers, led my linebacker Anthony Morales who was a second team selection. That year, Morales finished third among FCS players in tackles per game. Following the 2013 season, six Weber State players earned all-Big Sky honors.
A graduate of Washington State who later earned his master's degree from Iowa State, Sears was a two-year letterwinner for WSU as a receiver. While with the Cougars, he played for head coaches Jim Walden, Dennis Erickson and Mike Price.
Jody and his wife, Molly, are the parents of five children: Weston, Hannah Jo, J.T., Kylee Ann and Charlie Ray.