With several coaches having already resigned or been handed their walking papers before the end of the season, I thought it’d be a good idea to keep track of all of the changes and speculate on the ones to come in one nice, tidy section.
This section will be updated regularly, whether it’s to add or subtract a coach on one of the lists or to update someone’s status.
Soon, I’ll add an NFL hot seat watch, and I’ll also be giving my take on which college football and NFL coaches are going to be facing must-win/improve seasons in 2009.
Updated: December 28
Replaced By: Dabo Swinney – Smart, safe hire. Clemson’s play improved after Swinney moved from offensive coordinator to interim head coach, as the Tigers went 4-2 and finished 7-5 to earn a Gator Bowl berth. A thorough search was conducted, but Swinney certainly proved that he was worthy of being handed the reins.
Tyrone Willingham, Washington: His departure was announced on October 27. He’s a nice guy, but his exit isn’t a surprise, with the Huskies not having made the necessary improvement in his four seasons.
Replaced By: Steve Sarkisian – Certainly a lot better than the Oakland Raiders job he was up for in 2007, but he has a lot of work ahead of him. Jake Locker should be very, very happy getting a guy who’s worked with a couple of Heisman winners and was quite the prolific QB and winner in his days at BYU.
Replaced By: Lane Kiffin – Which Kiffin should the Vols be more excited about, Lane or Monte? As Tennessee’s offense goes, so will Lane’s job security.
Tom Amstutz, Toledo: Amstutz stepped down on the same day Fulmer’s exit was announced. This season was Toledo’s third straight losing season, and the 3-9 record was one of the worst in school history.
Ron Prince, Kansas State: Prince’s exit was announced on November 5th, days after a loss to Kansas. Three seasons is a pretty short tenure, sure, but the Wildcats needed wins this season, and they haven’t come.
Replaced By: Bill Snyder – Retreads don’t always work out, and you have to question this one, given his age and the fact that he went 4-7 and 5-6 in his last two seasons in 2004 and 2005 before Ron Prince took over. But, he steered the program to their greatest successes, so maybe he’ll be able to squeeze out a few winning campaigns and get the program in the direction it should be in when Gary Patterson takes over in a few years.
Greg Robinson, Syracuse: Almost surprising that it took so long, but Robinson was finally fired on Nov. 16, after a 39-14 loss to UConn to 2-8 (1-5 Big East) on the season and 9-36 (3-24 Big East) in Robinson’s four seasons. Celebration time in Syracuse!
Replaced By: Doug Marrone – He certainly can’t do any worse than Greg Robinson, right?
Rocky Long, New Mexico: Long led New Mexico to four bowls, five winning seasons, and 65 wins in his 11 seasons with the Lobos. They had enough talent to make some noise in the Mountain West this year after a nine-win 2007, but they went 4-8 (2-6 MWC) and lost five of their last six games. Long resigned on Nov. 17, two days after the Lobos finished their season with a 20-6 loss at Colorado State.
Replaced By: Mike Locksley – Great hire for New Mexico and one of the best coaching hires of the season. Locksley’s renowned as one of the nation’s top recruiters, and he’s a young guy at only 39. He spent the last 12 seasons at BCS programs (six at Maryland, two at Florida, and four at Illinois), and he’s helped Juice Williams turn into a pretty good passing quarterback, to the point where he looks to have a future under center in the NFL.
Brent Guy, Utah State: Guy was fired on Nov. 18, with the Aggies at 2-9 in 2008 and 8-38 in Guy‘s four seasons. Despite another poor record this year, there did seem to be small signs of improvement, thanks to sophomore QB Diondre Borel. But, it wasn’t enough to save his job. Hopefully the next coach can get the most out of Borel, who looks to have a lot of potential.
Replaced By: Gary Andersen – Andersen has overseen some fine defenses at Utah, and he could be just what Utah State needs to go from being an afterthought in the WAC to a respectable program again.
Joe Glenn, Wyoming: After their big win at Tennessee, Wyoming lost their last two games (both winnable ones against UNLV and Colorado State) to finish 4-8, Wyoming’s fourth losing season in Glenn’s six seasons. As a result, he was fired on Nov. 23, after a season-ending 31-20 loss to Colorado State.
Replaced By: Dave Christensen – One of the top offensive coordinators in the country should bring some punch to an offense that lacked it in 2008. The Mountain West is a tough, deep conference, but Wyoming has won before, and they can win under Christensen, even though he won’t have the likes of Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin in his arsenal.
Chuck Long, San Diego State: It’d been said that Long would return in 2009, but he was fired prior to SDSU’s season finale against UNLV. He went out with a win, as the Aztecs knocked off UNLV 42-21, but it was only his ninth win in three seasons, and the second in a school-worst 10-loss season.
Replaced By: Brady Hoke – Many might question Hoke leaving Ball State for this job, but SDSU gave him a pretty nice offer to take on a rebuilding job that’s far from impossible. He’s got a promising QB in Ryan Lindley, and hey, San Diego’s one of the best places to live in the country.
Jeff Genyk, Eastern Michigan: Genyk was fired on Nov. 24, but he went out with a bang, as EMU upset Central Michigan for the second straight year in a 56-52 shootout.
Replaced By: Ron English – If Central and Western can win, so can Eastern, and in former Michigan defensive coordinator English, have a guy who can help translate the passion and fire they have when they play Central Michigan into something that shows week in, week out.
Gregg Brandon, Bowling Green: Brandon got a contract extension after last season, but the Falcons had a disappointing 6-6 season, which ended with him being fired on Saturday. Surprising firing, possibly, but after 20 wins in his first two seasons, he had only 24 in his last four.
Replaced By: Dave Clawson – Unimpressive showing at Tennessee aside, Clawson has a great reputation as an offensive coach, and
Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State: Croom resigned on Saturday after MSU lost 45-0 to archrival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to wrap up a disappointing 4-8 season.
Replaced By: Dan Mullen – Some may think that Mullen should have waited on a better job, but it’s a great hire for Mississippi State. Young guy, great energy, great recruiter, and the kind of offensive mind that Mississippi State’s underperforming offense needs.
Replaced By: Mike Haywood – Haywood’s last couple of seasons at Notre Dame didn’t go as well as he’d have liked, but he has a great pedigree. He coached at Notre Dame (running backs/offensive coordinator), Texas (running backs/special teams/recruiting coordinator), and LSU (running backs/special teams), and he also has experience in the MAC, having been an assistant at Ohio and Ball State in the early 90s. Miami was a solid program before Montgomery did his best to drive the program into the ground, so expectations won’t be low for Haywood.
Replaced By: It appears that the leading candidate for the job is UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker.
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn: A 5-7 (2-6 SEC) season culminated in Tuberville’s resignation on Wednesday. He apparently left on his own terms, but it was better for him to leave instead of having to go into 2009 in a pretty unfavorable position.
Replaced By: Gene Chizik – Yeah, I’m still scratching my head too. Auburn’s really rolling the dice with this one. If it works out, they can say, “I told you so,” but if it doesn’t, then heads will roll.
Stan Brock, Army – Army went 3-9 in both of Brock’s seasons, and with Navy a perennial postseason team and Air Force thriving under Troy Calhoun, that just won’t do.
Replaced By: Rich Ellerson – Ellerson had a lot of success at I-AA Cal Poly over eight seasons, and the Mustangs’ near-upset of Wisconsin no doubt helped his profile, and so does the 306.5 yards rushing his team averaged this season. He also has Army ties as well, so he’s a fit on paper. Can he get things turned around? Judging by the time that Brock got and the fact that Navy and Air Force aren’t going down anytime soon, he may not have a lot of time for rebuilding.
Ball State: Ball State smartly promoted within after Hoke departed, bumping up offensive coordinator Stan Parrish to the head man position.
Iowa State: Iowa State replaced one former Auburn defensive coordinator with another, hiring Paul Rhoads to replace Chizik. The Auburn connections make this one an interesting hire as is, but Rhoads is also an Iowa native and a former Iowa State assistant (linebackers/secondary coach under Dan McCarney from 1995-99). Given his ties to the state and the school, I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon like Chizik, unless he gets fired.
Pardoned (Well, For Now…)
Doug Martin, Kent State: After going 5-6 in Martin’s first season in 2004 and 6-6 in 2006, the Golden Flashes have reverted back to old ways, as they went 3-9 last year and are 3-8 this year. But, it’s already been announced that Martin will be back for at least next season.
Mike Sanford, UNLV: Sanford might have been fired had UNLV not shown improvement this season, but the Rebels have done just that. UNLV finished 5-7, upset Arizona State on the road, and came close against 8-3 Air Force (led 28-20, lost 29-28) and 10-1 BYU (led 35-34, lost 42-35).
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin: Bielema was under fire this season, after the Badgers went from the top 10 to the bottom of the Big Ten in short order. But after a loss to Michigan State dropped Wisconsin to 4-5 and 1-5 in the Big Ten, they won their last two Big Ten games to position themselves for a bowl. Had the Badgers lost to I-AA Cal Poly in their season finale instead of pulling off a 36-35 OT win, he’d have had some serious explaining to do.