Coaching carousel

NOTE: Last season, 23 of the 120 Division 1-A schools changed head coaches, including BCS conference schools such as USC, Cincinnati, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt and Virginia. What will the 2010-11 coaching merry-go-round bring?

Thus far, nineteen schools have seen a change in coaches, including eleven BCS conference schools: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Stanford, Connecticut, and Maryland.

December 28th

Mangino to Nebraska?

Mark Mangino, last seen patrolling the sidelines for the Kansas Jayhawks, may be landing … in Lincoln? is speculating that if former Colorado offensive coordinator (and present Nebraska offensive coordinator) is named as the new head coach at Miami (Ohio) after Nebraska plays in the Holiday Bowl, that Mark Mangino may be hired as the next offensive coordinator at Nebraska.

Mangino has never worked with Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini, but they have both worked for Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. With Pelini noted for his ability to coach defense, bringing in an offensive minded coach makes sense.

And it would make for great theater when Nebraska falls behind a Big Ten opponent next fall … Which coach would suffer a meltdown first – Pelini or Mangino?

December 27th

Dave Logan says “no” to UNC

The big fish is content to stay in the smaller pond.

Dave Logan was offered a four-year contract to coach at the University of Northern Colorado, but declined the offer. Logan has accumulated a gaudy 192-40 record as a high school coach, and has won six state championships. His current team, Mullen, has won the past three state titles, and is riding a 33-game winning streak.

In turning down UNC, Logan is basically turning his back on college coaching, which is a smart move. If Logan wanted to work his way up to being a BCS head coach, he would have to establish himself as a success at the 1-AA level, then either move on to a mid-major school as a head coach, or as a coordinator at a larger school. He would then have to be successful for a number of years at that level to be given an opportunity to coach at the higher level.

Dave Logan is 56, and winding his way through all of the above would take time. He is much better suited, at this time of life, to continue to solidify his status as an immortal at the Colorado prep level.

Harbaugh rumors swirling

To date, there will be only one new head coach in the new Pac-12, Colorado’s Jon Embree. Paul Wulff was supposedly out at Washington State, while Dennis Erickson at Arizona State and Rick Neuheisel at UCLA were reportedly on the hot seat, but all three survived.

Still, there may still be a change in the Pac-12 coaching ranks in the next few weeks.

Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has been linked to the Michigan job for the past several months (Harbaugh’s alma mater), but, at least until the Wolverines play their bowl game, Paul Rodriguez still has that job. Now, with Mike Singletary out as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh rumors have begun anew.

It’s not over yet …


December 23rd

Dave Logan to Northern Colorado?

Former Buff star Dave Logan is now having his name associated with the head coaching job at Northern Colorado. One of the most successful high school coaches in Colorado prep history, Logan was considered by some to be a candidate for the head coaching job at Colorado.

Elsewhere … Temple has hired Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio to replace Al Golden, who left the Owls to become the new head coach at Miami … This leaves only one slot to fill out of the sixteen schools which are changing head coaches, and that would be Maryland, which fired Ralph Friedgen last week …

December 20th

Friedgen joins the ranks of the unemployed

Former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen and former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins have two things in common:

They both are out of work; and both have $2 million extra in spending money.

Ralph Friedgen became the latest coaching casualty of the 2010 college football season, bringing the total number of schools who will have a new head coach in 2011 up to 16, with eight of those from BCS conferences. In ten years at College Park, Friedgen went 74-50. Friedgen was on the hot seat last season, when the Terrapins went 2-10, but this year Maryland rebounded with an 8-4 season and a Military bowl berth. The bowl bid, though, was not enough for athletic director Kevin Anderson. “This was a good football team,” said Anderson of the Maryland team which counted a win over No. 23 North Carolina State amongst its eight victories, “and I believe it can be great. And so we’re going to bring in the best person here to get that greatness and sustain it. That’s why the decision has been made at this time.”

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is the apparent front-runner for the job. Anderson was rumored to be enamoured with Leach last year, when the Terps went 2-10. The problem, though, (like at Colorado) was money. To take on another year’s salary for Friedgen, and pay the buyout clause for Leach at Texas Tech (where he was still employed at the time), proved cost prohibitive. Now Leach is a free agent, and Friedgen’s buy out was reduced by a year.

December 18th

UCLA shaking up coaching staff

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel finally got his dream job in 2008, returning to his alma mater as head coach. After a 4-8 opening season was followed by a 7-6 season in 2009, things were looking up for the Bruins. Instead of taking advantage of turmoil at USC, UCLA regressed in 2010, falling back to a 4-8 record.

With a 15-22 overall record (8-19 in Pac-10 play), Neuheisel had to make some changes.

He started Saturday by firing his defensive coordinator, Chuck Bullough, and wide receivers coach, Reggie Moore. Last season, UCLA under-achieved on defense, ranking 85th or worse nationally in rushing defense, total defense, and scoring defense. “The disappointing thing is this defense has so much talent,” said Bullough. “We have great kids … but that’s the profession and you have to move on.”

Neuheisel has been criticized for taking so long to make moves on his coaching staff. After a season-ending loss to USC on December 5th, Neuheisel indicated he would move “quickly” on staff changes, but “left everyone in limbo.”

Still undetermined is the fate of offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who is in line for a contract extension, but has also been linked to the offensive coordinator opening at Texas.

Arizona fills void

Colorado this week officially hired two coaches who wore Arizona red-and-blue last season, defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo and defensive coordinator Greg Brown. For at least one of those positions, the Wildcats are promoting from within.

Current linebackers coach Tim Kish has been promoted to fill the role as defensive coordinator. Kish has served as linebackers coach for the past six seasons, also serving as the assistant head coach the past three seasons.

Former Arizona player Joe Salave’a had previously been hired to replace Mike Tuiasosopo as the defensive line coach.

Lou Tepper out

Lou Tepper, an assistant coach under Bill McCartney (1983-87), will not be returning as the head coach at Indiana-Pennsylvania. After leaving Colorado, Tepper was the head coach at Illinois from 1991-96, accumulating a 25-31-2 overall record (three bowl appearances).

From 2000-05, Tepper was the head coach for Edinboro of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, winning the western division of the conference his last three seasons. Moving on to Indiana University – Pennsylvania in 2006, Tepper accumulated a 36-18 overall record, but won the western division of the PSAC only once. “We were expecting the team to be more competitive,” said athletic director Frank Condino. “A record of 11-11 over the last two years is not what our supporters expect, and it’s not what they deserve”.

The search for a new coach for the Crimson Hawks will begin immediately.  

December 16th

Kansas rebuffed

A day after it appeared that it was a foregone conclusion that Tulsa athletic director Bubba Cunningham was going to be named the new athletic director at Kansas, the Golden Hurricane administration stepped up, giving Cunningham a raise and a contract extension.

Back to the drawing board, Jayhawks … you may have a top flight basketball program, but that is not proving to be enough. It was just this past June, when Kansas was left out of the conference expansion discussion, that Kansas fans learned that football is king in collegiate athletics.

And now Bubba Cunningham is telling the folks in Lawrence that he has a better gig in Conference USA … in Tulsa.


Pitt hires a new coach

Dave Wannstadt was a big name hire for the Pitt Panthers. In six seasons, though, he couldn’t quite get Pittsburgh back to elite status. The Panthers went 41-32 in his six seasons, but only 7-5 each of the past three years.

In 2010, as a result, the administrators at Pitt are going a different direction, taking a shot on Miami (Ohio) head coach Michael Haywood. In two seasons with the RedHawks, Haywood went 1-11 (the team Colorado was supposed to play in 2009, before Miami backed out and the Buffs got Toledo …), and then 9-4 this season. Despite the nine win season, Miami had only one win over a non-conference opponent, and that was over 3-9 CSU. During Haywood’s tenure at Miami, the RedHawks lost – handily – to Missouri, Florida, Cincinnati, and yes, to Pittsburgh.

Haywood played at Notre Dame, and coached there before getting the Miami job. His hiring has not excited many Panther fans, and they have reason to be concerned. Pitt’s athletic director is Steve Pederson.

You remember Steve Pederson …

He’s the guy who fired Frank Solich as the head coach at Nebraska, and hired Bill Callahan.

And we know how well that worked out for the Cornhuskers.


December 15th

Mike Bohn not a finalist for Kansas AD job

Kansas alumnus Mike Bohn will apparently not be returning to Lawrence.

The Jayhawks have reportedly offered its opening at athletic director to Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham. The Associated Press says its a done deal: “Kansas wants him and he wants Kansas. They’re just trying to get everything finalized.” Cunningham, a graduate of Notre Dame, spent most of his career with the Fighting Irish, but has spent the past five years at Tulsa.

Holgorsen lands in West Virginia

Dana Holgorsen, the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State, will eventually be the head coach at West Virginia. Holgorsen, considered to be a candidate for the head coaching job at Colorado, will be the offensive coordinator for the Mountaineers, taking over the head coaching job from Bill Stewart in 2012. Holgorsen will earn $800,000 as the offensive coordinator in 2011, and then will have a five year contract as the West Virginia head coach, starting with a $1.4 million salary in 2012.

December 13th

Golden opportunity for Miami

Al Golden, 41, who took a moribund Temple program and made it respectable, will be given the chance to do much more with Miami. “From the beginning of this process, one candidate stood above the rest as the right fit for the University of Miami,” said athletic director Kirby Hocutt. “What he’s done at Temple University is nothing short of miraculous”.

Golden has a reputation as a great recruiter, and did take a team which was 0-11 the year before he arrived, and took it to its first bowl game in 30 years. This season, despite an 8-4 record, the Owls were not invited to a bowl game.

Al Golden was on the list of potential candidates for the Colorado job. He was discounted, however, due to  his ties back east. A New Jersey native and a Penn State alum, the fear was that when Joe Paterno ever gets around to retiring, that Golden would be offered the head coaching job at State College. Asked about that, Miami AD Holcum was not concerned. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be the head coach at the  University of Miami long-term,” said  Hocutt.

We’ll see …

Other hires …

Louisiana-Lafayette hired Mississippi State assistant coach Mark Hudspeth to be its new coach. Hudspeth was the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Bulldogs, but does have head coaching experience – seven years at Division II Alabama State.

Northern Illinois, meanwhile, has hired Dave Doeren to be its next head coach. The Huskies, who lost their head coach, Jerry Kill, to Minnesota, gave  the job to Doeren, who is the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin.

December 12th

Texas “head coach in waiting” leaves for Florida

What in the name of deep-fat fried Twinkies is going on down in Austin?

Texas, the program which was to dominate the new Big Ten, er, Twelve, has had an awful time since turning down the Pac-16. First, the Longhorns, who had won ten or more games for nine straight seasons, went 5-7. Then Mack Brown fires his long-time offensive coordinator, Greg Davis. Now, Brown’s “head-coach-in-waiting” is waiting around no longer, as Florida hired away Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Muschamp, who spent ten years growing up in Gainsville. Muschamp went to school at Georgia, and coached at LSU and Auburn before heading off to Austin. “This is a dream come true,” said Muschamp. “I grew up watching the Gators and whatever other SEC team was on television.”

The timing of the announcement was interesting, as Florida announced its new head coach just as Cam Newton, quarterback at Auburn – but former Florida player – won the Heisman trophy. Newton signed originally with Florida, but after a red-shirt season behind Tim Tebow, injured his ankle in season-opener against Hawai’i. After a medical red-shirt season in which Newton was arrested for allegedly purchasing a stolen laptop computer. Newton then transferred to a junior college before transferring to Auburn.

The move by Muschamp leaves Mack Brown without two coordinators, and in the need to find his fifth defensive coordinator since 2003. Previously, Greg Robinson (Syracuse) and Gene Chizik (Iowa State, then Auburn) left Texas for head coaching jobs. “We were planning and hoping Will was going to be the next head coach at Texas, but obviously things didn’t work out that way,” said Mack Brown in a statement. “Our commitment remains that we will build the best coaching staff in the country, and we will begin a nationwide search immediately.”

December 10th

Kent Riddle finds a job

Of the five former Buff coaches who were let go this past week: Ron Collins, Romeo Bandison, Robert Prince, Denver Johnson and Kent Riddle, the one many Buff fans would have thought the least likely to be hired on elsewhere – based on the results of the past few seasons – would have been special teams coach Kent Riddle.

Apparently, such is not the case.

It is being reported that Kent Riddle has accepted a position on the staff of North Texas. The new head coach, Dan McCarney, is the former head coach at Iowa State.

December 8th

Urban Meyer leaving Florida – again

Florida head coach Urbran Meyer is stepping down as coach of the Gators … for the second time. A year ago, after suffering health issues after Florida lost the SEC championship game to Alabama, Meyer retired, only to change his mind later.

This time, after a 7-5 season, Meyer is again retiring, apparently this time for good. “I fully grasp the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me,” said Meyer, “and I know that it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field”.

Meyer compiled a 64-15 record in six seasons in Gainsville, and was a three-time coach of  the year.

December 7th

Wannstadt out at Pitt?

ESPN is reporting that Dave Wannstadt is stepping down at Pitt. In six years as the Panthers’ head coach, Wannstadt accumulated a 42-31 record. Pitt was expected to win the Big East this season, but stumbled to a 7-5 record.

Pitt has been invited to play Kentucky in something called the BBVA Compass Bowl. The report says  that Wannstadt will stay on at the university in a non-coaching capacity, and that offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Jr., will serve as interim head coach for the bowl game.

Kevin Wilson to Indiana

Indiana has hired Kevin Wilson to replace Bill Lynch as head coach for the Hoosiers. Wilson, the offensive  coordinator at Oklahoma, will be Indiana’s sixth head coach since 1996. Indiana has only been to one bowl game since 1993, and Lynch posted losing records in each of his three seasons in Bloomington, finishing 5-7  in 2010.

Wilson has been with Bob Stoops at Oklahoma since 2002, and took over as sole offensive coordinator in 2006 when co-offensive coordinator Chuck Long took the head coaching job at San Diego State.

December 6th

Texas Offensive Coordinator resigns

Greg Davis, the offensive coordinator at Texas for all 13 years of the Mack Brown era, resigned Monday. Also leaving are offensive line coach Mac McWhorter and defensive line coach Mike Tolleson. In the 2010 season, in which the Longhorns finished 5-7, Texas was ranked 8th in the Big 12 in total offense and 10th in scoring offense.

The net gain for Colorado is that wide receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator Bobby Kennedy may also be looking for a new coaching opportunity. Kennedy has long been rumored as a coach which might be joining the Colorado staff, as early as Wednesday.

December 5th

Washington State / Minnesota make coaching decisions

Minnesota has hired Northern Illinois head coach Jerry Kill to replace Tim Brewster. In three seasons at Northern Illinois, Kill went 6-7, 7-6, and 10-3, earning a bid to the Humanitarian Bowl this season.   

Even more important to Buff fans, Washington State announced that it will be sticking with Paul Wulff for another season. “It is my feeling at this particular time that the best course of action to move (toward success) is to continue with the current leadership,” said Washington State athletic director Bill Moos. This past season, the Cougars went 2-10, including a 1-7 record in Pac-10 play.  In three seasons under Wulff, Washington State has gone 5-32, 2-25 in Pac-10 play.

The decision to retain Wulff is a surprise to many, and not only because of Wahington State’s overall record. Bill Moos was the athletic director at Oregon when Mike Bellotti was head coach. With Bellotti in the hunt for another head coaching job, the Washington State job looked like a natural fit.

So much the better for the Buffs …

December 4th

Indiana job attracting interest

Indiana fired Bill Lynch despite a 5-7 record in 2010 (only one win came in Big Ten play, and that was in the finale against Purdue). Three “hot” assistant coaches have reportedly been interviewed for the job – Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson; Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell; and Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren.

Two other coordinators – Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe and Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio – have expressed an interest in the job, but have not yet been interviewed.

December 3rd

Gruden not going to Miami

Jon Gruden, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders, will not be the next head coach for the Miami Hurricanes. Gruden, currently an analyst for ESPN, had been rumored to be the choice of the Hurricanes, but Gruden says he is staying put. “I’d just like to say that I am committed to ESPN,” said Gruden. “I know there was a lot of speculation over the past few days, and for that I am sorry.”

Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland will be the interim coach for Miami in the post-season. It is expected that the Hurricanes will accept an invitation to play in the Sun Bowl this weekend.

Ten down, only one up

For all of the hand-wringing about lost recruiting opportunities, only one of the ten schools which have fired their head coaches this season have hired a new leader. Only North Texas, which fired Todd Dodge and replaced him with former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney, has made a move.

Of the nine teams without a new head coach, five are in BCS Conferences – Colorado (though that may change Monday), Indiana, Miami, Minnesota, and Vanderbilt.

To date, there are only the ten schools (out of 120) which have lost coaches. In 2009, the number was 23. Still, more shuffling may come after the conclusion of the regular season (e.g., Paul Wulff may be coaching his last game at Washington State this weekend), or if college coaches move up to the NFL as the NFL starts to fire coaches as its season winds down …

December 1st

Hoke has Five Million reasons to stay at San Diego State

Brady Hoke, head coach at San Diego State, has been linked to the head coaching vacancies at Colorado, Minnesota, and Indiana.

If one San Diego State booster has his way, though, Hoke will be back at San Diego State next fall.

SDSU athletic director Jim Sterk announced that a single donor, as yet unidentified, made a $5 million pledge that will be used toward retaining football coach Brady Hoke. “It’s a significant gift,” Sterk told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It allows us to put a retention package together for Brady and the assistants, and to help address some facility needs we all have.” Hoke, after going 4-8 in his first season at San Diego State, led the Aztecs to an 8-4 record this season. Hoke, for his part, has had several opportunities to deny that he is a candidate for the Minnesota and Indiana jobs, but has refused to do so.

Bellotti interested in Washington State job?

Mike Bellotti, the former head coach at Oregon, has already indicated that he is not interested in the head coaching job at Colorado. Bellotti came to Boulder several weeks ago, but later stated that he wished to have his name removed from consideration.

But … would he take the Washington State job? For starters, there is no current opening. Washington State (2-9, 1-7 in Pac-10 play), hosts rival Washington this weekend, and Washington State athletic director Bill Moos has stated that he will have nothing to say about the future of embattled head coach Paul Wulff until the season is concluded. Wulff, a successful coach at Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference, has posted a 4-31 overall record in three seasons in Pullman, 2-24 in Pac-10 play.

Why would Bellotti even consider Washington State over Colorado? Look no further than the name of the athletic director. Moos, in his first year at Washington State, was the athletic director at Oregon for much of Bellotti’s tenure as head coach. The fit would be a natural, but no one is committing to anything … yet. “Bill and I are close friends,” said Bellotti. If we talk at some point, that’s one thing, but we haven’t had any discussions.”

But discussions could begin, and begin as early as this Sunday …

News of note in the coaching replacement game … November 30th

– Two more schools fired their head coaches today, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, bringing the number of schools which will have new head coaches in 2011 up to ten overall.

– Meanwhile, a third Sun Belt school, North Texas, became the first of the ten teams to name a new head coach. Former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney has come to terms with the Mean Green. McCarney was two games shy of 12 full seasons coaching at Iowa State, where he went 56-85, but also was responsible for taking the Cyclones to five bowl appearances (after going without a bowl appearance for 22 years).

News of note in the coaching replacement game … November 29th

– North Texas may be hiring a name familiar to Buff fans. The Mean Green parted ways with Todd Dodge on October 20th, has hired Florida assistant – and former Iowa State head coach – Dan McCarney.

– Minnesota is having trouble finding a replacement. Reportedly a number of potential applicants – including some on the Buffs’ radar, like San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun – have told the Golden Gophers that they are not interested in the head coaching job at Minnesota.

– Miami (Fla.) fired Randy Shannon after the home overtime loss to South Florida on Saturday. “We have made a decision to seek new leadership in our football program”, said Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt. “Our expectations are to compete for championships and return to the top of the college football world.” Shannon was 28-22 in four seasons with the Hurricanes, but just 16-16 in ACC games.

– Stan Parrish is out at Ball State. A name familiar to Buff fans (Parrish coached at Kansas State from 1986-88, compiling an incredible record of 2-30-1, paving the way for Bill Snyder to come in and rebuild the program, starting in 1989), Parrish took over for Brady Hoke after Hoke left his alma mater to coach at San Diego State. Parrish took a team which had posted a 12-2 record in 2008, and went 2-10 and 4-8.

Rest assured, this will not be the end of the coaching moves. Louisiana-Lafayette is reportedly about to fire its head coach, and if Rich Rodriguez is ousted at Michigan, look for speculation about Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh returning to his alma mater to hit the front burner.

2 Replies to “Coaching Carousel”

  1. Semantics – but you say that “thirteen schools have fired their coaches.” Meyer and Wanndstadt (unlike Hawkins should have) stepped down.

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