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Coaching Carousel 2011 – Race and Money Matters

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Now that the coaching carousel has stopped, let's analyze what the coaching changes brought college football. Racially, Floyd Keith, Executive Director of the Black Coaches and Administrators recently trumpeted in his letter, "A Change Has Finally Come", that "A remarkable story has unfolded; especially since 2009." Keith reflects, "...the BCA acknowledges a significant change on the landscape of collegiate sports: the realization of equity in collegiate football hiring. 9 of the 28 (32%) searches (FBS and FCS) conducted in 2011 selected a coach of color."

Here's a list of the coaching changes for 2011 with the prior Head Coaches listed with his tenure and the new Head Coaches listed with their prior positions with any relationship they have had with the hiring school.

Coaching Changes For 2011 Season (21, 11 BCS)

Team Out In

Arkansas State Steve Roberts (9 yrs) Hugh Freeze (Ark St OC)

Ball State Stan Parrish (3 yrs) Pete Lembo (Elon HC)

Colorado Dan Hawkins (5 yrs) Jon Embree (Redskins TE Coach, alum)***

Connecticut* Randy Edsall (12 yrs) Paul Pasqualoni (Miami Dolphins DC)

Florida** Urban Meyer (6 yrs) Will Muschamp (Texas DC, GA alum, coach-Aub)

Indiana Bill Lynch (4 yrs) Kevin Wilson (Okla OC)

Kent State Doug Martin (7 yrs) Darrell Hazell (Ohio State WR Coach)***

Louisiana-Lafay Rickey Bustle (9 yrs) Mark Hudspeth(Miss St Pass GameCoord)

Maryland Ralph Friedgen (10 yrs) Randy Edsall (Conn HC)

Miami (Fla.) Randy Shannon (4 yrs) Al Golden (Temple HC)

Miami (Oh)* Mike Haywood (2 yrs)Don Treadwell (Mich St OC, ex-asst coach)***

Michigan Rich Rodriguez (3 yrs) Brady Hoke (San Diego St, ex-asst coach)

Minnesota Tim Brewster (4 yrs) Jerry Kill (Northern Illinois HC)

North Texas Todd Dodge (4 yrs) Dan McCarney (Fla DL)

Northern Illinois* Jerry Kill (3 yrs) David Doeren (Wisconsin DC)

Pittsburgh Dave Wannstedt (6 yrs) Todd Graham (Tulsa HC)

Mike Haywood (Miami, Oh HC)***

San Diego State* Brady Hoke (2 yrs) Rocky Long (SD St DC)

Stanford* Jim Harbaugh (4 yrs) David Shaw (Stanford OC, alum)***

Temple* Al Golden (5 yrs) Steve Addazio (Fla OC)

Tulsa* Todd Graham (4 yrs) Bill Blankenship (Tulsa Asst Coach, alum)

Vanderbilt** Robbie Caldwell (1 yr) James Franklin (MD HC in Waiting)***

*Schools whose head coaching search was occasioned by their HC being hired away.

**Schools where the head coach retired.


The six new African-American head coaches chosen were Jon Embree (Colorado), Darrell Hazell (Kent State), Don Treadwell (Miami - Ohio), Mike Haywood (Pittsburgh, subsequently fired), David Shaw (Stanford) and James Franklin (Vanderbilt).

Keith further points out that:

- of the 50 head coaching appointments in FBS since the first one in 1979, 54% (27/50) have occurred in the past seven years

- in the past five year hiring cycle (2007-11) 48% (24) of the appointments have occurred

- in the past two years, 14 appointments have occurred, doubling the number of head coaches who began the 2009 football season

- from a low of five head coaches of color in December, 2008 to the current eighteen is a 360% increase in a little more than two years

The current historical high of 18 head coaches of color means that 15% of FBS head coaches are of color. Keith attributes this change to the BCA's hiring report card and to the NCAA's efforts. As far as the NCAA, Keith says, "The executive office of the NCAA plays a significant role in the promotion and funding of this cause. The NCAA has provided outstanding football professional development academies via the previous Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which is now entitled Leadership Development in a recent NCAA restructuring. The NCAA Future Coaches Academy, the NCAA Expert Coaches Forum and the NCAA Champions Forum have been conducted for NCAA future head football coaches."

The net total of 12 minority coaching hires in the past two years is more than the 9 yrs from 2001-08 (10). The six minority coaching hires by BCS schools in the last two years are equal to all BCS hires in the previous 9 years.

Losses for minority coaching this year were Randy Shannon and Mike Haywood. Time will tell if Haywood's firing impacts his coaching career more like George O'Leary's from ND or like Tyrone Willingham's from UW.

Here's the list of minority hiring from 2001 to the present. What jumps out is the infrequency of hiring minorities in the first eight years of the last decade, the progress made in the last four years, and how many minorities (7) have now been hired for BCS schools (67 total with Utah and TCU) - 10.4%, all within the past two years. Only percentage-wise have there been more minorities hired in a coaching year than the last two years. Comparing numbers for FBS, FCS and BCS hiring, there is no comparison, which occasions Keith's statement about "a remarkable story" and "a significant change on the landscape of collegiate sports: the realization of equity in collegiate football hiring."

2001 - 0 hires out of 25, 16 BCS

2002 - 1 hire - Willingham at ND out of 13, 8 BCS (1 of 8 BCS)

2003 - 1 hire - Dorrell at UCLA out of 18, 10 BCS (1 of 10 BCS)

2004 - 1 hire - Croom at Miss St out of 13, 5 BCS (1 of 5 BCS)

2005 - 1 hire - Willingham at UW, 2 fired - Willingham at ND, Samuel at NM St out of 23, 12 BCS (1 of 12 BCS)

2006 - 2 hires - Prince at Kansas St, Gill at Buffalo out of 11, 4 BCS (1 of 4 BCS)

2007 - 2 hires - Cristobal at FIU, Shannon at Miami out of 24, 13 BCS (1 of 13 BCS)

2008 - 2 hires - Sumlin at Houston, Niumatalolo, 1 fired - Dorrell at UCLA, out of 18, 9 BCS (0 of 9 BCS)

2009 - 4 hires - English at EMU, Haywood at Miami(O), Locksley at NM, Walker at NM St, 3 fired - Prince at K St, Croom at Miss St, Willingham at UW out of 22, 11 BCS (0 of 11 BCS)

2010 - 7 hires - McNeill at ECU, Gill at KU, Phillips at Kentucky, Strong at Louisville, Porter at Memphis, London at Virginia, Taggart at W. Kent; 1 left - Gill at Buffalo out of 23, 11 BCS (3 of 11 BCS)

2011 - 6 hires - Embree at CU, Hazell at Kent St, Treadwell at Miami(O), Shaw at Stanford, Franklin at Vandy, Haywood at Pitts; 1 left - Haywood, Miami (O) and was then fired at Pitt, 1 fired - Shannon at Miami (Fl), out of 21, 11 BCS (3 of 11 BCS)

Not only are African-Americans being hired, but they are being hired by BCS schools - eight of thirteen minority head coaching hires in the last two years are at BCS schools.

2011 - 21, 11 BCS, 6 AA - 4 BCS; 2010 - 23, 11 BCS, 7 AA - 4 BCS; 2009 - 22, 11 BCS, 4 AA - 0 BCS.

Current African American & other minority coaches

Here are the current minority coaches in FBS with BCS teams designated and their current tenure.

Turner Gill (BCS) - 2 schools, 4 yrs total; Mario Cristobal - 4 yrs

Kevin Sumlin & Ken Niumatalolo - 3 yrs

Ron English, Mike Locksley, Dwayne Walker - 2 yrs (Records - English and Locksley both 2-22. Walker 5-20)

Mike London (BCS), Joker Phillips (BCS), Charlie Strong (BCS), Larry Porter, Ruffin McNeill, Willie Taggart (Gill to KU, BCS) - 1 yr

Jon Embree (BCS), David Shaw (BCS), James Franklin (BCS), Darrell Hazell, Don Treadwell - 1st year in 2011

Total 2011 - 18 Head Coaches of color in FBS (15%), +10 in FCS.

As important as head coaching gains for minorities are, a pool of qualified minority applicants for future hires is as important, traditionally from the coordinator positions. Minorities also made significant gains in coordinator positions, especially BCS positions.

Minority Coordinator gains - Colo OC - Eric Bieniemy, alum; FIU DC, Todd Orlando (former UConn DC); Michigan OC, Al Borges, (from SD St OC);Middle Tenn OC - Willie Simmons, promoted from RB coach; Okla co-OC, Jay Norvell, promoted from WR coach; Purdue DC, Gary Emanuel, now sole DC; Stanford OC, Pep Hamilton (promoted from WR coach); Stanford co-DC, Derek Mason (promoted from Secondary coach); Texas DC, Manny Diaz (from Miss St DC); Utah OC, Norm Chow (former UCLA OC, alum)

Teryl Austin - ex-Fla DC, interviewed for Texas DC

Justin Fuente, TCU co-OC - interviewed for LSU OC

Randy Shannon, ex-Miami HC - interviewed for Texas DC, UCLA DC, and seems to be close to an agreement to become Maryland's DC

At least ten new minority coordinators will begin next season. eleven if Shannon is hired at Maryland, and two more had interviews for prominent positions. Clearly, minorities are making great strides in this area that's traditionally a step to head coaching hires, too.

English, Locksley and Walker - all from the 2009 coaching hiring cycle - will enter their third years in rebuilding football programs. Their combined records are 9-64. With poor performances and lack of progress in the development of their programs this coming year, their jobs could potentially be in jeopardy. However, all are in states where state budgets are stressed and buyout monies with the additional burden of new coach's contracts may not be justified. Firing Locksley and Walker would put a double burden on the state of New Mexico. For now, I anticipate they will be safe for the 2012 hiring cycle.

Other Hiring Factors

Schools still like known commodities. Promoting from within ranks when a head coach leaves happened four times this past year (Arkansas State, San Diego State, Stanford and Tulsa). Three schools (Colorado, Stanford, and Tulsa) hired alums. Two schools (Miami-Ohio and Michigan) hired coaches who had been assistant coaches there. Beyond those seven schools, six other schools (Connecticut, Florida, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Minnesota and Northern Illinois) hired coaches who had experience in their conference or region or were from nearby states. This hiring practice makes sense in recruiting and in connecting with alumni and fans, but has worked against hiring minorities in the past. One study has shown that hiring an alum means the coach will have a longer tenure. Athletic directors are quicker to pull the trigger when there is evidence of a disconnect between the coach and the school and its fans. Alums may understand the culture, fanbase and recruiting pools better. This may help Embree at Colorado and Shaw at Stanford.

Only eight schools out of the 21 hired new head coaches who were not alums, not previously worked there, not promoted and were from outside the region. Perhaps not only the NCAA is given minority coaches more skills and the BCA is placing more transparency on the process, but this may signify a growing talent pool of qualified minority candidates who are working their way up through the coaching ranks and becoming known to many regionally as well as nationally.

The coordinators at Colorado, FIU and Stanford were hired or promoted by minority head coaches. Head coaches still like to hire from within, keep a similar system, and hiring alumni play big factors in these decisions regardless of race. Michigan's foray into the spread offense under Rodriguez with his disconnect may be a caution to many athletic directors who consider making large changes, as successful as his offense became this year. His banquet plea of wanting to be "a Michigan man" was answered by their hire of Brady Hoke, one of Gary Moellar's and Lloyd Carr's assistant coaches.

Money, Money, Money

Stan Parrish left Ball State after three years with a 6-19 overall record and $1.4 million in his pocket: the $700,000 he earned the past two seasons and the $700,000 the school will pay him during the next two years. Parrish's record over 6 seasons as a head coach ('86-88, '08-10) - 8-41. The state of Indiana will pay both Parrish and new coach Pete Lembo and his staff. Ouch!

As usual, this coaching cycle hire also set off a round of speculation that resulted in new contracts and/or extensions to many highly-paid head coaches. The Michigan opening put new contracts on the desks of Jim Harbaugh, Brady Hoke, and Les Miles. Stanford and San Diego State were unsuccessful in keeping their head coaches, while Miles got a three year extension with more incentives at LSU.

The Florida and Miami job openings occasioned similar tremors. Dan Mullen, rumored for both the Florida and Miami openings, received a raise of over $1.4 million per year to $2.65 million per year for four years plus raises for his assistant coaches to stay at Mississippi State. Jimbo Fisher got over a $1 million raise to $2.75 million plus one year extension. (Bobby Bowden's last contract was for $2.5 million per year.) Gus Malzahn got an $800,000 raise to $1.3 million per year to turn down a more lucrative Vanderbilt offer.

In Texas, Tommy Tuberville got a $500,000 a year raise to $2 million plus a one year extension. Gary Patterson was provided a two year contract extension. Were there worries that with Will Muschamp leaving his Head Coach in Waiting position that Texas could discuss a transition to one of their coaches with a planned departure of Mack Brown?

As an illustration of how ineffective and costly these contract changes can be look no farther than Bobby Petrino and Houston Nutt. Bobby Petrino signed a 10 year extension with Louisville in July, 2006, with a salary increase to $1.6 million a year, complete with pay escalation clauses and retention bonuses of $1 million at three times in the contract. Six month later, Petrino then left to be head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, resigning after just 13 games, to become Arkansas's head coach in December 2007 for $2.7 million a year. This year, when rumored to be a candidate for the Florida position, Petrino's contract was extended with a raise to $3.56 million per year with new incentive and buyout provisions. With job-jumping and escalations due to rumors of a new candidancy, Petrino has seen his salary jump about $2 million in 4 years, excluding bonuses. Arkansas may have insured his continued presence with a buyout by either side of $18 million and a non-compete clause with other SEC schools.

Houston Nutt received raise from Arkansas to $1 million in February, 2007. He resigned from Arkansas in November, 2007 - 9 months later - and announced he had accepted the Mississippi job only hours afterwards for $1.7 million plus $100,000 raises per year. In December, 2008, Nutt signed a raise to $2.5-2.8 million after a turnaround 9-4 season. Nutt will receive a 5% raise - about $700,00 - this year and his assistant coaches will make $445,000 more in 2011. In four years, Nutt, too, has seen his salary jump almost $2 million per year. In his second year, Ole Miss again went 9-4, but slumped to 4-8 last year. Pay for performance has not reached college football where four wins in a twelve game season can equal over $1 million in raises to the coaching staff.

Since Jimmy Sexton was the agent for six of the coaches who got new positions or received raises (Freeze, Fisher, Malzahn, Muschamp, Nutt, and Tuberville), understandably some agreements were reached with written contracts coming later - and that many of the raises put those coaches in similar salary situations.

At some point, the fiscally responsible decision is to buyout the coach - or hope someone else hires him away from you.

Successful minority coordinators have similarly benefited. In 2009, John Chavis's salary jumped about 40% to $700,00 from $450,000 when his name came up for the vacant Georgia DC position.

Norm Chow, fired this past year from UCLA where he was making $650,000 a year, settled for a buyout of his last two years for $1 million. He is now the OC at his alma mater, Utah, at $275,000 per year. Chow's experience in the Pac-10 should benefit the newest Pac-10 member.

Decisions, Coaching Careers and Tenure

Total 2011 - Head coaches fired - 12 (5.66 yrs at school ave), 7 at BCS schools. Head coaching searches searches due to HC being hired away - 7 (4.57 yrs at school including Randy Edsall's 12 years at UConn, w/o Edsall - 2.85 yrs/school). Retirements - 2 (Urban Meyer, Robbie Caldwell)

In the pecking order of college football, the Temples, Tulsas, San Diego States, Northern Illinoises, Miami (O)s, cannot compete with Miami (Fl), Florida, Michigan, and Pittsburghs whose deeper BCS pockets will attract successful non-BCS coaches after 2-3 years.

You might ask why some state universities in down economies are willing to dig deep and pay more to those coaches illustrated above. Why not take a chance on an up-and-coming young star - minority or not? The answer is probably the adage of "A bird in the hand..." - as well as having television contract money that makes such huge salaries possible. The number of BCS head coaches who have been with schools for longer than ten years is probably less than ten. Taking chances such as Michigan did may not pay off. Notre Dame's coaching and schematic changes is paying off for the Irish. In the end, most athletic directors are cautious and conservative. But the advances in minority hiring have been remarkable and historical.

In the two articles I have written on this, Randy Shannon and Mike Haywood had featured photos. Holy, Madden. Let's hope Turner Gill kicks the curse.

Let us know what your thoughts are.

For current salary analysis of both head and assistant football coaches: USA Today's - NSLI Coaches' Salary Database