Coaching Carousel 2012

Multiple firings of head coaches this weekend have signaled that the Coaching Carousel season has begun in earnest.

Moves so far - 27 Head Coaching positions have opened up - 13 BCS, 14 non-BCS:

(Average over the past 7 years - 20.7 Head Coaching positions, 10.6 BCS. Highest number of new HCs in those seven years - 2007 & 2011 - 24 new HCs. HC hire record for one year is 25 in 2001 with lows of 13 in 2002 and 2004.)

Hires--Biographies linked in Bold Red

BCS Conferences (11)

Arizona - hired Rich Rodriguez. ASU had fired Mike Stoops on Oct 10th, leaving with a record of 41-50 but only 27-38 in conference. Three of RichRod's former assistants, who were coaching for Pitt this season, have left Pitt to join RR in Arizona. A fourth former assistant, now at Indiana, will also be coming to Arizona. Zona has a $2 million budget for RR's assistant coaching staff.

Arizona State hired Todd Graham, HC at Pittsburgh (tenure one year). They had fired Dennis Erickson after five seasons and a 31-30 record, including six wins over FCS schools. His conference record was 21-21 including four losses to end this season at 6-6 and elimination from the Pac-12 championship game. Erickson will coach the Sun Devils in their bowl game. The Sun Devils were rejected by Kevin Sumlin when A&M job opened up. Talks with SMU's June Jones were ended by ASU just before details of a contract were agreed upon. Kyle Whittingham was "interested" until he got a new contract with Utah. Best article on their travails.

Illinois hired Tim Beckman, HC at Toledo. Illinois fired Ron Zook who was 34-51 over seven seasons, including only two winning seasons and a 18-38 record against Big Ten opponents. This year the Illinois lost six straight after winning their first six games.

Kansas - hired current Florida OC, former KC Chiefs and NE Patriots OC, and former ND HC Charlie Weis. KU had fired Turner Gill after two seasons and a 5-19 record. Gill had a contract guaranteeing him $2 million per year for five years.

North Carolina - hired Larry Fedora, HC Southern Mississippi. Everette Winthers was interim head coach this year after Butch Davis was fired this summer. The Heels went 7-5 with a 3-5 conference record.

Ohio State - hired Urban Meyer to replace Luke Fickell, who was the Buckeyes' interim coach this year, after Jim Tressel was fired. Fickell went 6-6 with a 3-5 conference record

Ole Miss hired Arkansas State HC Hugh Freeze. Freeze was an assistant at Ole Miss from 2005-07 and OC there in 2010. Ole Miss had forced Houston Nutt out on November 7th effective at the end of the season. Nutt had a 24-23 overall record, and was just 10-20 in SEC play. " comes down to one thing. It’s not a graduation rate. it’s not community service. it’s about winning. It’s a big, big, big business.” Ole Miss AD Pete Boone will resign in 2012.

Penn State hired New England OC Bill O'Brien. Penn State fired Joe Paterno on November 9th. Tom Bradley was named interim head coach.

Pittsburgh hired Wisconsin OC Paul Chryst. Todd Graham left for Arizona State.

Rutgers - Hired OL coach Kyle Flood. Greg Schiano left for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Texas A&M hired Houston HC Kevin Sumlin to become their new HC. A&M's President has said before the Texas game that Mike Sherman's job was safe. Nine days later, Sherman has been fired. His record is 25-25 in four years at A&M with a 1-3 record against Texas.

UCLA hired Jim L. Mora (oftern referred to as Jim Mora, Jr.) His father, Jim E. Mora, was on the coaching staff for one year there. The Bruins had fired Rick Neuheisel but will allow him to coach the Pac 12 championship game. He is completing his fourth year with a record of 21-28, but only 3-25 against teams with a winning record and was 0-4 against Southern Cal.

Washington State - hired Mike Leach. Paul Wulff was fired after his fourth year. Wulff has a 9-40 record, the worst in WSU coaching history. Wazzu finished in the cellar of the Pac-12 this year (North Division) with a 2-7 conference record and 4-8 record. .

Non-BCS Conferences (14)

Akron hired North Alabama HC Terry Bowden. Akron had fired former Notre Dame assistant coach Rob Ianelllo after two seasons and a 2-22 record, with a 1-15 conference record.

Arkansas State hired Auburn OC Gus Malzahn. Hugh Freeze had left for Ole Miss. Malzahn's contract terms were released with a base salary of $156K plus "all profits from television and radio shows, football camps and clinics" and bonus incentives. Malzahn was the highest paid coordinator in college football last year at $1.3 million. If Malzahn left after one year, he would pay “liquidated damages” of $700,000, dropping to $350,000 after two years and $200,000 after three years.

Colorado State hired Alabama OC Jim McElwain. CSU had fired Steve Fairchild whose record was 16-33 in four years overall and 7-24 against MWC opponents.

Florida Atlantic hired Nebraska DC Carl Pelini. Howard Schnellenberger announced his retirement on August 11th effective the end of the season.

Fresno State hired Texas A&M DC Tim DeRuyter. They had fired Pat Hill after 15 seasons. Over the past six seasons, Fresno has been only 11-29 against teams with a .500 record or better and only 3-15 against the top three WAC teams. Ticket sales have dropped 42% over that period.

Hawaii hired Norm Chow Utah OC, who grew up in Honolulu and is an alumnus of Punahou School. Chow has extensive experience as an OC in college and in the NFL. This is his first HC opportunity. Greg McMackin had retired.

Houston hired Tony Levine Houston Associate HC/WR coach. Kevin Sumlin had left for Texas A&M.

Massachusetts hired Notre Dame's OC Charlie Molner. UMass fired Kevin Morris after three years and a 16-17 record. The Minutemen will be in the FBS subdivision next year in the MAC and will play their home games in Gillette Field, Foxboro.

Memphis hired TCU co-OC Justin Fuente. Memphis fired Larry Porter after two seasons and a 3-21 overall record, 1-15 in conference. Ten of the twenty-one losses came by 35 points or more.

New Mexico hired former Notre Dame HC Bob Davie. UNM had fired Mike Locksley on Sept 25 after the Lobos lost to FCS Sam Houston State to go 2-26 in 2 1/3 yrs.

Southern Mississippi hired South Carolina DC Ellis Johnson. Larry Fedora had left for North Carolina.

Toledo hired Toledo OC Matt Campbell. Tim Beckman had left for Illinois.

Tulane hired Saints WR coach Curtis Johnson. Bob Toledo was forced to resign on Oct. 18th with a 15-40 record over four plus years.

UAB hired Arkansas OC Garrick McGee. UAB had fired Neil Calloway after five seasons of never reaching a .500 record. Overall, Calloway was 18-42, losing their finale to up-to-then winless FAU.

Hires Breakdown -

BCS schools (13) - 1 HC from BCS school (Todd Graham), 4 HCs from non-BCS schools (Tim Beckman, Larry Fedora, Hugh Freeze and Kevin Sumlin), 3 former HCs (Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach and Urban Meyer), 1 former HC with mostly NFL experience (Jim Mora), 1 former HC working as college OC (Charlie Weis), 1 NFL OC (Bill O'Brien), 1 college OC with no HC experience (Paul Chryst) and 1 Assistant Coach (Kyle Flood).

Non-BCS schools (14) - 11 coordinators, 1 NFL position coach, 1 FCS HC (formerly a BCS coach) and 1 former HC.

Three former coaches hired were working in broadcasting when hired - Bob Davie and Urban Meyer for ESPN and Jim Mora for NFL Network.


Over the last four years, eighty-five of the 120 FBS schools (70.83%) have changed head coaches.

Gill, Porter and Ianello had all completed their second year. Locksley was just into his third year. Their combined record was 12-88.

Conclusion: The 27 total head coaching hires sets a record for any one year. The 12 BCS HCs and 14 non-BCS HCs are more than the average hires for each category. Unless Urban Meyer retires for personal or health reasons, we are done for 2011-12.

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