|Arizona State||Todd Graham (7-5), effective after bowl game||Herm Edwards|
|Arkansas||Brett Bielema (4-8)||Chad Morris|
|Central Florida||Scott Frost (12-0)||Josh Heupel|
|Coastal Carolina||I Jamey Chadwell (3-9)||Joe Moglia|
|Florida||Jim McElwain (3-4), I Randy Shannon (1-3)||Dan Mullen|
|Florida State||Jimbo Fisher (5-6), I-B Odell Haggins (1-0)||Willie Taggart|
|Georgia Southern||Tyson Summers (0-6), I Chad Lunsford (2-3)||Chad Lunsford (1-0, 2017)|
|Kent State||Paul Haynes (2-10)||?|
|Louisiana-Lafayette||Mark Hudspeth (5-7)||Billy Napier|
|Mississippi||Hugh Freeze (5-7, 2016), I Matt Luke (6-6, 2017)||Matt Luke|
|Mississippi State||Dan Mullen (8-4), B Greg Knox||Joe Moorehead|
|Nebraska||Mike Riley (4-8)||Scott Frost|
|Oregon||Willie Taggart (7-5)||Mario Cristobal|
|Oregon State||Gary Andersen (1-5), I Cory Hall (0-6)||Jonathan Smith|
|Rice||David Bailiff (1-11)||Mike Bloomgren|
|SMU||Chad Morris (7-5)||Sonny Dykes|
|South Alabama||Joey Jones (4-8)||Steve Campbell|
|Tennessee||Butch Jones (4-6), I Brady Hoke (0-2)||Jeremy Pruitt|
|Texas A&M||Kevin Sumlin (7-5), B Jeff Banks||Jimbo Fisher|
|UCLA||Jim Mora (5-6), I-B Jedd Fisch (1-0)||Chip Kelly|
|UTEP||Sean Kugler (0-5), I Mike Price (0-7)||Dana Dimel|
Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday hired Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier as its new head coach, replacing Mark Hudspeth. The 38-year-old Napier is a former Furman quarterback who has also held assistant coaching positions at Alabama and Clemson. Hudspeth was fired on Sunday (December 3) after a 5-7 season. Hudspeth was 51-38 in 7 seasons, including 4-1 in the only bowl games the school has played in. However, NCAA sanctions for academic fraud and payments to players forced the school to vacate 22 victories from 2011-2014, including wins in the 2011 and 2013 New Orleans bowls.
Sonny Dykes was introduced as the new head coach at SMU on Tuesday (December 12), replacing Chad Morris. Dykes will begin his tenure with the Mustangs by facing one of the two teams that he previously led as head coach, Louisiana Tech, in the Frisco Bowl. Dykes was 22-15 in three seasons with Louisiana Tech from 2010-2012, ending his stint in Ruston with a bowl-less 9-3 campaign (the WAC only had 2 bowl spots available). He left Louisiana Tech to take over at California where he was fired on January 8, 2017 after four seasons that produced a 19-30 record with just one winning campaign.
Morris was announced as the new head coach at Arkansas on Wednesday (December 6). Hunter Yurachek was announced as the new Director of Athletics earlier in the day, leaving his Houston post where he was the Assistant Director of Athletics. Morris spent 3 seasons as the head coach at SMU, following a 4-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Clemson. He was 14-22 with the Mustangs, including an 8-16 mark in American Athletic Conference games. Jeff Traylor had been named interim head coach for the bowl game, but will now join Morris at Arkansas.
Morris replaces Bret Bielema who was fired immediately after a 48-45 home loss to Missouri on Thanksgiving weekend (November 24). The loss dropped the Razorbacks to a 4-8 finish, including 1-7 in the SEC. in 5 seasons, Bielema's Arkansas teams were a pedestrian 29–34 overall, a woeful 11–29 in the SEC, and 1-2 in bowl games. Bielema left Wisconsin for the Arkansas job in December, 2012 when John L. Smith concluded a pre-arranged one-year campaign Smith stepped in when Bobby Petrino was fired after an April Fool's Day motorcycle accident uncovered an affair with a 25-year-old former Arkansas volleyball player whom Petrino hired to work in the football office. Bielema had significant success at Wisconsin, going 68-24 after replacing the program's savior, Barry Alvarez. In Madison, Bielema's teams were 37-19 in Big Ten games and 2-4 in bowl games.
Oregon removed the short-lived 'interim' tag from Mario Cristobal on Friday (December 8) making him the official replacement for Willie Taggart who spent just one season leading the Ducks. Cristobal's only previous head coaching experience was at FIU from 2007-2012 where he was 27-47 over-all with a 20-26 record in the Sun Belt and a 1-1 mark in bowl games. Cristobal had just been named interim coach 3 days earlier after Taggart replaced Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. Taggart was 7-5 this season at Oregon after last year's team went 4-8 under Mark Helfrich. Cristobal is the third head coach of Oregon in 3 years. Taggart is now with his 3rd different team as head coach in just under a year. On December 10, 2016, he was the head coach at USF. On the 11th of December in 2016, he was the head coach at Oregon. On December 5, 2017, Taggart moved on to FSU.
Fisher resigned on December 1 to accept the head coaching job at Texas A&M, replacing the fired Kevin Sumlin. Fisher was 83-23 overall, 48-17 in the ACC, and 5-2 in bowl games and postseason playoff games. His teams won 3 straight ACC titles from 2012-2014, and the 2013 squad went 14-0 and won the last Bowl Championship Series (BCS) national title. Odell Haggins, associate head coach and defensive tackles coach, served as interim head coach for FSU's make-up home game versus Louisiana-Monroe which the 'Noles won to become bowl eligible at 6-6.
Taggart, the former Western Kentucky quarterback, and later head coach, has quickly built a reputation as a man with great recruiting strengths and the ability to rebuild programs in a hurry. It shouldn't be difficult to recruit, or rebuild, one of the top football programs in the country. While his 47-50 overall record isn't scintillating, his final year at each of the three schools he's coached have produced winning seasons and a combined mark of 24-12.
Sumlin was considered to be a prize catch by Texas A&M after he had led Houston to a 12-0 record in 2011 before the Cougars fell to Southern Miss in the Conference USA Championship game. The former Texas A&M assistant under R.C. Slocum in 2001 and 2002 was fired from the Aggies on November 26, the day after a loss at LSU dropped the team to 7-5. Sumlin was 51-26 overall in 6 seasons, and barely above water in SEC games at 25-23. His first team lost just 2 games, the second lost 4, and each of the last four teams have had 5 losses. Texas A&M, of course, is in the SEC Western division which is packed with traditional powers Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Special teams coordinator Jeff Banks was named interim head coach for the Aggies' bowl game.
Tennessee officials on Thursday (December 7) confirmed the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt as its next head coach. Pruitt began his collegiate coaching career under Saban as the Director of Player Development in 2007 and worked his way up to defensive backs coach before getting his first defensive coordinator gig with Florida State for its 2013 national championship season. Then he was inexplicably off to Georgia for 2 years before returning home to 'Bama for the 2016-17 as the DC for Saban. Pruitt will reportedly stay on with the Tide through their Final Four playoff run while simultaneously handling his new UT head coaching duties. Pruitt replaces Butch Jones who was fired on November 12, the day after a 50-17 loss at Missouri dropped the Vols to 4-6 overall and 0-6 in the SEC. The Vols finished the season with two more losses after defensive line coach Brady Hoke took over in an interim capacity. Jones revitalized programs at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, leading to his hiring in Knoxville where his teams also showed improvement year-over-year until backsliding terribly in 2017. Tennessee was projected to go 9-3 overall and finish second in the SEC eastern division at 6-2.
South Alabama on Thursday (December 7) plucked Steve Campbell from Central Arkansas where he was 33-15 in 4 seasons. He previously led Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to a JUCO national title in 2007, and Delta State to the D-2 title in 2000. In 19 seasons as a head coach, Campbell is 159-53 with zero losing seasons. Campbell becomes just the second head coach in the short history of the football program which Joey Jones helped launch in 2009. Jones announced his resignation on November 20 and his 9-year stint ended with a loss at New Mexico State the following Saturday. Under Jones' guidance, South Alabama went 23-4 an a FCS independent over 3 seasons, then moved up to the FBS in 2012 where the Jaguars are now 29-46 overall, 18-29 in the Sun Belt and 0-2 bowl games. South Alabama was 4-8 this season.
UTEP on Wednesday (December 6) announced the hiring of Dana Dimel as head coach. Dimel was the head coach of Wyoming from 1997-1999, and Houston from 2000-2002, but has largely been an assistant coach at Kansas State for most of his career. He replaces Sean Kugler who was in the midst of his 5th season in El Paso when he resigned from his alma mater on October 1 after an 0-5 start. Kugler was 18-36 overall and 11-22 in CUSA games. Former UTEP head coach Mike Price (2004-2012) served as interim head coach for the final seven games and went 0-7. The Miners were the only FBS team to go winless in 2017.
UCF wasted no time naming a replacement for Scott Frost. The school on Tuesday (December 5) announced that their new guy is Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. UCF's website touts the dramatic improvement of Missouri's offense under Heuple, noting that the Tigers ranked 124th in the nation in total offense in 2015. After Heupel arrived in 2016, the Tigers led the SEC and were 13th nationally. In 2017, Mizzou ranked No. 7 in the nation in total offense and 10th in scoring at 39.3 points per game. Heupel was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2000 when he led Oklahoma to an undefeated season and a national championship with an 11-2 victory over Florida State, though FSU's Chris Weinke won the Heisman.
Frost became Nebraska's next coach on Saturday (December 2), immediately after UCF beat Memphis in the American Conference Championship game at UCF. Nebraska fired Mike Riley on November 25 after the 'Huskers concluded a 4-8 campaign with a 56-14 loss at home to Iowa in game that was tied 14-apeiece at the half. Riley was 19-19 overall in three seasons in Lincoln, and 12-14 in the Big Ten. Reports said Frost's hire was a done deal earlier in the week, but was kept under wraps out of respect for his current team with a pending conference championship and undefeated season on the line. the Knights won a double-overtime thriller, sealing the deal with an interception on the Tigers' potential game-tying possession. UCF named offensive coordinator Troy Walters as interim head coach for day-to-day operations while Frost tends to Nebraska matters like the early signing period, but Frost will reportedly coach UCF in its New Year's Six bowl game. As expected, the playoff selection committee placed the Knights in the Peach Bowl where they will face Auburn.
Also on Tuesday (December 5), it was reported that Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren will be the next head coach at Rice. Bloomgren has been on the Cardinal staff since 2011 and, before that, was an NFL assistant with the New York Jets from 2008-2010. Rice announced the dismissal of 11-year head coach David Bailiff on Monday (November 27). The program was backsliding since winning the Conference USA title in 2013 when the Owls went 10-4. Over the next four years, Rice went 8-5, 5-7, 3-9 and now 1-11. Bailiff was a cumulative 57-80 overall with a 40-48 mark in Conference USA games. By enrollment, Rice is the 5th-smallest school in the FBS with 6,740 undergrad and post-grad students (2016).
Arizona State named Herm Edwards as its next head coach late Sunday (December 3). The Athletic Director, Ray Anderson, is Edwards' former agent. Reports said Edwards will keep Todd Graham's staff as dictated by Anderson. Edwards hasn't coached a down of football in any capacity since he last served as head coach of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs from 2006-2008. His only time as a college coach was spent at San Jose State from 1987-1989 where he was in charge of the defensive backs. His all-time NFL head coaching record is 54-74. He left the New York Jets to join the Chiefs amid a tampering charge, and was fired three years later by Kansas City.
Graham was fired on November 26 by Arizona State after completing a 7-5 regular season (6-3, PAC-12) by defeating state rival Arizona. Graham and his staff will stay on for ASU's Sun Bowl game versus N.C. State. Graham is 46-31 overall, 31-23 in the PAC-12, and 2-2 in bowl games.
Oregon State on November 29 inked a deal with one of its former standout players to become its next head coach. Washington offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Jonathan Smith becomes the first Oregon State grad to serve in that capacity. As a player, Smith was a walk-on who wound up starting 38 games at quarterback and, in 2000, led the Beavers to an 11-1 season that culminated with a 41-9 rout of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. It is the school's greatest season since joining the PAC-8/PAC-10/PAC-12 in 1968.
On October 9, Oregon State unexpectedly became the second team to make a head coaching change in the middle of the 2017 season when the school and Gary Andersen agreed to part ways with a complete release from contractual obligations. The Beavers were 1-5 after a 38-10 loss to USC in their last outing and Andersen was just 7-23 overall in Corvallis. His teams were just 3-18 in PAC-12 play. Defensive backs coach Cory Hall was given the interim head coaching tag and went 0-6.
Mississippi State announced on November 29 that it has hired Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead as the successor to Dan Mullen. On Sunday (November 26), Mullen was named the new head coach at Florida, opening the vacancy at MSU. Running backs coach and special teams coordinator Greg Knox was tabbed as interim coach for the bowl season for the Bulldogs. Moorehead will not stay with Penn State for its bowl game and will not coach the Bulldogs in their bowl, but he will be Starkville to observe the players and presumably oversee the new early signing period from December 20-22.
Mullen spent 9 seasons in Starkville, becoming the school's second-winningest head coach behind Jackie Sherrill. He was 69-46 overall, but just 33-39 in the SEC. His 2014 season was the only one in which the Bulldogs finished above. 500 in the SEC (6-2). He had four seasons of 4-4 finishes and four seasons below .500. But Mullen is a former Gator assistant linked to the Urban Meyer coaching tree. He was Meyer's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Florida from 2005-2008, and Meyer's QB coach at Utah (2003-2004) and Bowling Green (2001-2002).
Florida fired Jim McElwain in mid-season, following Georgia's 42-7 rout of the Gators in Jacksonville on October 28. By Sunday afternoon, McElwain was out and defensive coordinator Randy Shannon was named interim head coach. Administrators said they were irked by McElwain's unsubstantiated comments that family members and players had received death threats. Another catalyst could have been the increase in empty seats at Florida Field as the result of an offense that had been stagnant since the suspension of QB Will Grier for PEDs in October of 2015 (Grier later transferred to West Virginia), or the numerous misdeeds by members of his team, or the perception the team was going backwards instead of improving. Wins shouldn't have been the biggest issue as an ESPN article written by Edward Aschoff and Mark Schlabach pointed out that McElwain had a 22-12 record and was the first coach to take his team to the SEC championship game in each of his first two seasons.
Florida was 3-4 at the time of McElwain's dismissal and the Gators went 1-3 under Shannon's interim guidance. Mullen becomes the eighth person to lead the Gators as head coach or interim coach since Steve Spurrier stepped down after the 2001 season.
Georgia Southern on November 27 removed the interim tag from Chad Lunsford's title. Georgia Southern fired Tyson Summers on October 22 after an 0-6 start. on the heels of a 5-7 campaign in 2016. Lunsford has spent a total of 9 seasons with the program, including the last 5. The promotion occurred after the Eagles earned consecutive wins of 52-0 over South Alabama and 34-24 over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Matt Luke's season-long audition at Ole Miss paid off as the school removed the interim tag on Sunday November 26, making him the next official head coach of the Rebels. He guided the program to a 6-6 season, concluding with a 31-28 upset win over Mississippi State in the annual Egg Bowl rivalry game. It was quite an achievement considering Hugh Freeze resigned on July 20, just 44 days before Ole Miss opened the 2017 season at home versus South Alabama.
Freeze's resignation continued a messy trail of public relations issues and NCAA violations dating back to the Houston Nutt era. The final straw may have been a call to an escort service found on Freeze's school-issued phone after Nutt filed suit against Freeze and Ole Miss in federal court a week earlier for allegedly orchestrating a smear campaign against him. Nutt lost his job after the 2011 season due to a handful of NCAA violations and a woeful final two seasons. The NCAA has cited numerous violations by Freeze and his staff from October 2012 to January 2016 and leveled the most serious charge of lack of institutional control. In response, Ole Miss self-imposed a 2017 bowl ban and other restrictions. The NCAA on Friday (December 1) announced its penalties which added 2018 to the bowl ban and a further reduction of scholarships.
Freeze was 39-25 in five seasons, but 5-7 in 2016. His teams were 19-21 in the SEC and finished 5th or worse in the SEC western division in 3 of his 5 seasons. Luke had served alongside Freeze as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
On November 25, UCLA announced Chip Kelly as its new head coach. Kelly replaces Jim Mora who was fired the Sunday after a 28-23 loss to USC. Mora was 3-3 versus the Trojans, winning the first three and losing the last three. His 50% mark against USC was not much different than his career PAC-12 record of 28-26. The problem was that in the last 3 years he was 10-16 in PAC-12 games, 0-3 vs. USC, and just 17-19 over-all. The Bruins became bowl eligible with a 30-27 win over California on Friday with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch serving as interim head coach.
Kelly was 46-7 in 4 seasons at Oregon, reaching BCS bowls each season and losing 22-19 to Auburn in the 2010 season BCS national title game. He was 33-3 in PAC-10/PAC-12 games, as opposed to Mora's 28-26 mark. Kelly left Oregon to become head coach of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles from 2013-2015, and the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. He was 26-22 with Philly, 2-14 with the '49ers.
After a 2-10 season, Paul Haynes is out as head coach at Kent State, the school announced the day before Thanksgiving (November 23). The former Golden Flashes player replaced Darrell Hazell who moved on to Purdue after an 11-3 season in 2012. Haynes was just 14-45 in 5 seasons with a high water mark of 4-8 in his initial campaign. He missed the first two games of 2017 while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell was acting head coach during that period.
|Team||2016 Coach (Record)||2017 Coach (Record)|
|Baylor||I Jim Grobe (7-6)||Matt Rhule (1-11)|
|California||Sonny Dykes (5-7)||Justin Wilcox (5-7)|
|Cincinnati||Tommy Tuberville (4-8)||Luke Fickell (4-8)|
|Coastal Carolina||Joe Moglia (10-2)||I Jamey Chadwell (3-9)|
|Connecticut||Bob Diaco (3-9)||Randy Edsall (3-9)|
|FAU||Charlie Partridge (3-9)||Lane Kiffin (10-3)|
|FIU||Ron Turner (0-4), I Ron Cooper (4-4)||Butch Davis (8-4)|
|Fresno State||Tim DeRuyter (1-7), I Eric Kiesau (0-4)||Jeff Tedford (9-4)|
|Georgia State||Trent Miles (2-8), I Tim Lappano (1-1),||Shawn Elliott (6-5)|
|Houston||Tom Herman (9-3), Major Applewhite (0-1)||Major Applewhite (7-4)|
|Indiana||Kevin Wilson (6-7)||Tom Allen (5-7)|
|LSU||Les Miles (2-2), I Ed Orgeron (5-2), Orgeron (1-0)||Ed Orgeron (9-3)|
|Minnesota||Tracy Claeys (9-4)||P.J. Fleck (5-7)|
|Nevada||Bill Polian (5-7)||Jay Norvell (3-9)|
|Oklahoma||Bob Stoops (11-2)||Lincoln Riley (12-1)|
|Oregon||Mark Helfrich (4-8)||Willie Taggart (7-5)|
|Purdue||Darrell Hazell (3-3), I Gerad Parker (0-6)||Jeff Brohm (6-6)|
|San Jose State||Ron Caragher (4-8)||Brent Brennan (2-11)|
|Temple||Matt Rhule (10-3), B Ed Foley (0-1)||Geoff Collins (6-6)|
|Texas||Charlie Strong (5-7)||Tom Herman (6-6)|
|USF||Willie Taggart (10-2), B T.J. Weist (0-1)||Charlie Strong (9-2)|
|Western Kentucky||Jeff Brohm (10-3), B Nick Holt (1-0)||Mike Sanford, Jr. (6-6)|
|Western Michigan||P.J. Fleck (13-1)||Tim Lester (6-6)|
Coastal Carolina made its FBS debut in 2017 without its head football coach. Joe Moglia announced on July 28 that he was taking a 5-month sabbatical to address a health issue. In his own press release, Moglia said, "For three years now, I have had a bronchial asthmatic reaction to allergies, which causes inflammation around my lungs. The inflammation restricts the lungs, which could create a serious breathing problem." Moglia expects to be able to return by the end of the season. He appointed offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell as interim head coach. The Chanticleers were 10-2 in a transition season in 2016.
The college football world was shocked June 7 by the announcement that 56-year-old Bob Stoops is retiring as head coach at Oklahoma, effective immediately. The reins will be handed over to 33-year-old offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. In 18 seasons in Norman, Stoops compiled an overall record of 190-48, including a 121-29 mark in conference play. Under the direction of Stoops, the Sooners took 9 outright conference titles and 1 co-title. From 2000-2008, Stoops guided the storied program to 4 BCS Championship game appearances and won the 2000 title in just his second year at the school. As for Riley, he was anticipated to be the school's next head coach, but not this soon. Riley had just been granted a 3-year extension on his contract as offensive coordinator in May. Considered to be one of the top offensive guru's in college football, Riley won the 2015 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant.
Cal on January 14 announced Justin Wilcox as its new head coach, replacing the fired Sonny Dykes. It's the first head coaching job for Wilcox who spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Wisconsin as defensive coordinator and previously worked at Cal as linebackers coach (2003-2005) under Jeff Tedford. Cal fired Dykes on January 8, forty-four days after the team finished its season at 5-7. Dykes was 19-30 overall in 4 seasons, but just 10-26 in the PAC-12. His teams never finished above .500 in conference play. In a statement posted on the school's athletics website, Director of Athletics Mike Williams said, "...Coach Dykes clearly built up our program – both on the field and in the classroom – and he leaves Cal in a stronger position than when he arrived... I understand that the timing may not be ideal – it rarely is... We believe that this change will reinvigorate the program, stimulate lagging ticket sales and renewals, and energize our donor base." Thus, it primarily appears to be a financial move, perhaps urged by high-level donors.
On January 13, Western Michigan announced its new head coach would be its own star quarterback from the late 90's, Tim Lester. From 1996-99, the school sports hall-of-fame member (inducted 2011) passed for 11,299 yards and 89 touchdowns while setting 17 school records. This is his second trip back to his alma mater as a coach, having held the QB coach responsibilities in 2005-06. He replaces P.J. Fleck who made the jump from the MAC to the Big Ten when it was announced on January 6 that Fleck was hired to replace Tracy Claeys at Minnesota. That move came just 3 days after Claeys was fired. Claeys sealed his own fate when he tweeted of his support of a players' threatened bowl game boycott when 10 players were suspended in the wake of an ugly sex scandal. The administration stood solidly in support of the decision to keep the suspensions in place, and the head coach's tweet appeared to put him publicly at odds with the administration. The players ultimately backed down when they were assured the suspended athletes would get a fair hearing and the Golden Gophers went on to defeat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. Claeys was 11-8 overall, 2-0 in bowl games, since replacing Jerry Kill in the middle of the 2015 season. But the school simply couldn't risk looking like victories mean more than high moral standards.
Western Michigan was the story of the year among the Group of Five conferences (American, CUSA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt) as the Broncos went undefeated in the regular season and earned a Cotton Bowl bid where they lost 24-16 to Wisconsin. Overall, Fleck was 30-22 at WMU.
12 days after the last college football head coaching vacancy had been filled, UConn decided to fire Bob Diaco. The Huskies were 3-9 this season and just 11-26 in 3 seasons under Diaco. The school made the announcement on December 26, the day after Christmas. Two days later, Randy Edsall was announced as the not-so-new hire. Edsall was the head coach of the Huskies from 1999-2010 and oversaw the transition from the FCS to the FBS (classified as 1-AA and 1-A at the time). He was lured away by Maryland after leading UConn to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010, but couldn't duplicate the success he had with the Huskies. He was fired by Maryland halfway through the 2015 season. Overall, Edsall is 96-104 as a head coach.
Former Boise State backup QB (2000-2004) and Western Kentucky QB Coach (2010), Mike Sanford, Jr. had filled what was thought to be the final head coaching vacancy when he was hired at Western Kentucky on December 14. Sanford spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator at Notre Dame. He replaces Jeff Brohm who took the same position at Purdue (December 5).
Brohm left Western Kentucky after a 3-year run that ended with consecutive CUSA titles, a 30-10 record overall and a 2-0 mark in bowl games. At Purdue, Brohm replaces Darrell Hazell who was fired on October 16 with the team sitting at 3-3. Gerad Parker was named to the interim position, and the wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator guided Purdue to an 0-6 finish for a 3-9 overall record.
Hazell was 1-11 in 2013, followed by 3-9 in 2014 and 2-10 in 2015 for a cumulative record of 9-33. It was a far cry from what Purdue thought they would get after Hazell led Kent State to the MAC Championship game in 2012 (lost 43-37 in overtime to Northern Illinois), an 11-3 overall record, an 8-0 regular season conference record, and a final No. 25 ranking in the BCS Standings after rising as high as No. 17. Kent State ended that campaign with its first bowl appearance (lost 17-13 to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl) since 1972 and only its second in school history.
After Brohm announced he was leaving Western Kentucky, the school appointed defensive coordinator Nick Holt as interim coach for the Hilltoppers' Boca Raton bowl game against Memphis on December 20 which WKU won.
Temple hired Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins on December 13 where he assumes the head coaching job that Matt Rhule vacated when he left for Baylor on December 6. Comments seemed to suggest Collins will not stay with Florida for its Outback Bowl game with Iowa on January 2. Rhule replaced Jim Grobe who served as acting head coach in 2016 and the Bears stumbled to a 6-6 finish after an 0-6 start, on par with expectations. Rhule was 28-23 in 4 seasons at Temple, but 20-7 over the past 2 seasons with back-to-back division titles and the 2016 American Athletic Conference title. Assistant head coach Ed Foley was named as Temple's interim head coach for its Military Bowl game (lost, 34-26 to Wake Forest) on December 27. Baylor called upon Grobe when the Bears fired Art Briles on May 25 following an external investigation by the Pepper Hamilton law firm into allegations of covering up incidents of violence and widespread sexual misconduct by his players. Briles was 65-37 overall at Baylor, including a solid 32-7 from 2013-2015.
Lane Kiffin was hired by FAU on December 12. The Alabama offensive coordinator and former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Vols and USC Trojans will be tasked with revitalizing a Florida Atlantic football program which has gone 9-27 over the last 3 years. But Kiffin quickly demonstarted how little he's learned about public relations, or doing the right thing, when his frist recruit was a QB dismissed by Florida State for punching a woman, and one of his first hires was Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, the son of Art Briles. Kiffin replaces Charlie Partridge who was dismissed on November 27 after a third consecutive 3-9 campaign. His Owls teams were 7-17 in Conference USA play. Kiffin's career collegiate head coaching record is 35-21, including 0-2 in bowl games. He will remain on the Crimson Tide as long as they are in the college football playoff.
After being fired from Texas, Charlie Strong landed on his feet as the new head coach at USF. The University of South Florida announced on December 11 that it hired Strong to replace Willie Taggart who resigned from the Bulls to take the same position with Oregon. Strong was fired from Texas on November 26 at the conclusion of a 5-7 campaign. His 3-year stint in Austin failed to show improvement in wins and losses, though most will agree that the program was left in much better shape than when he arrived. Strong had a 16-21 record with zero winning seasons and just 1 bowl appearance (loss). Texas plucked Strong from Louisville after he led the Cards to a 23-3 record his last 2 years and a 37-15 mark in his 4-year tenure.
Taggart needed 3 years to rebuild the South Florida football program. Now, he moves on to Oregon to replace Mark Helfrich who was fired even after getting the Ducks to the national championship game in 2014 (lost 49-20 to Ohio State). Helfrich's dismissal came on November 30 after concluding Oregon's worst season (4-8) since 1991 with a rare loss to rival Oregon State. Helfrich had been promoted from OC when Chip Kelly left for the NFL. His 4-year head coaching mark was 37-16, but just 13-12 over the last two seasons. While Helfrich's stock was dropping, Taggart's stock was rapidly rising. Taggart inherited a South Florida program in complete disarray in 2013 and, after 2 rough seasons, guided the Bulls to an 18-7 mark over the last 2 years. Overall, he was 24-25 in Tampa and 18-14 in the American Athletic Conference. Oregon is his third head coaching stop after cutting his teeth at Western Kentucky. Taggart's career head coaching record of 40-45 is a bit deceptive as we was 7-5 in his last season at WKU and 10-2 at USF. Co-offensive coordinator T.J. Weist was named interim coach for South Florida's Birmingham Bowl game which the Bulls won, 46-39 in OT over South Carolina. Weist was 3-5 as the interim head coach at UConn in 2013.
Luke Fickell, former Ohio State nose guard, longtime Buckeye assistant, and one-season interim head coach/head coach (2011) was named December 10 as Tommy Tuberville's replacement at Cincinnati. With Ohio State preparing for the Final 4 Playoffs, Fickell said he will remain with the school until its' playoff run is over. Tuberville saw the writing on the wall and gave himself a pink slip on December 4. Tuberville was expected to be fired 3 days later when his buyout contractually would've fallen from $2.4 million to $1.5 million. The fan base had directed its displeasure at Tuberville for weeks, and the chorus grew louder when the Bearcats endured a 3-game stretch near the end of the season in which they scored a total of 13 points. The 2016 squad met the lowered preseason expectations according of CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings which warned of a 5-7 campaign and a 2-6 conference mark. The Bearcats finished 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the American Athletic Conference. Overall, Tuberville was 29-22 in four seasons at Cincinnati with 3 bowl trips that resulted in 3 blowout losses.
Houston on December 9 promoted from within and named former Texas quarterback Major Applewhite to replace Tom Herman as head coach after Herman left to accept the job with, ironically, Texas. Applewhite was serving under Herman as offensive coordinator, and since he was already on the staff, will take over immediately and lead the Cougars against San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Todd Orlando, who had been named interim coach for the bowl game, will re-assume his role of defensive coordinator. Applewhite, who holds 8 school records as QB of Texas (1998-2001), was an assistant with his alma mater from 2008-2013, including assistant head coach under Mack Brown. Herman was hired by Texas on November 26, hours after firing Charlie Strong. Herman led Houston to a 9-3 campaign in 2016 and a 22-4 mark in 2 seasons.
Jay Norvell, Charlie Strong's tight ends coach in 2015 at Texas, was announced as the new head coach at Nevada on December 9, replacing Bill Polian. His extensive resume includes NFL stops at Indianapolis and Oakland. Prior to his 1-year stay in Texas, Norvell was an assistant with Nebraska, Oklahoma and UCLA. The former Iowa defensive back (1982-1985) spent last season as the wide receivers coach at Arizona State. Nevada fired Polian on November 27 after a 5-7 season and a 23-27 four-year mark. Polian's downfall seemed to be the lack of success in the conference as the Wolf Pack were just 14-18 in the MWC.
Georgia State on December 8 hired South Carolina assistant Shawn Elliott as head coach to replace Trent Miles. Elliott was the interim head coach at South Carolina in 2015 after Steve Spurrier abruptly retired mid-season, but only managed to guide the Gamecocks to a 1-5 finish. Miles was dismissed on November 12 after a 37-23 loss to UL-Monroe dropped the Panthers to 2-8. In nearly 4 full seasons, Miles was 9-38 overall and 6-23 in the Sun Belt. He took GSU to the Cure Bowl at the end of the 2015 season and expectations were high for a repeat bowl trip in 2016. Tim Lappano was named his interim successor and, under his watch, Georgia State went 1-1.
Brent Brennan is returning to San Jose State where he was an assistant under both Dick Tomey and Mike MacIntyre from 2005-2010. Brennan was named the head coach on December 7, replacing the fired Ron Caragher. Brennan spent the last 6 seasons as the wide receivers coach at Oregon State. Caragher was fired on November 27 after a 4-8 season and 4-year marks of 19-30 overall, 14-18 in the Mountain West.
Purdue announced Jeff Brohm on December 5 as its new head coach. Brohm leaves Western Kentucky after a 3-year run that ended with consecutive CUSA titles, a 30-10 record overall and a 2-0 mark in bowl games. He replaces Darrell Hazell who was fired on October 16 with the team sitting at 3-3. Gerad Parker was named to the interim position and the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator guided Purdue to an 0-6 finish for a 3-9 overall finish. Hazell was 1-11 in 2013, followed by 3-9 in 2014 and 2-10 in 2015 for a cumulative record of 9-33. It was a far cry from what Purdue thought they would get after Hazell led Kent State to the MAC Championship in 2012 (lost 43-37 in overtime to Northern Illinois), an 11-3 overall record, an 8-0 regular season conference record, and a final No. 25 ranking in the BCS Standings after rising as high as No. 17. Kent State ended that campaign with its first bowl appearance (lost 17-13 to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl) since 1972 and only its second in school history.
After Brohm announced he was leaving, Western Kentucky appointed defensive coordinator Nick Holt as interim coach for the Hilltoppers' Boca Raton bowl game against Memphis which the Hilltoppers won 51-31.
Indiana and head football coach Kevin Wilson parted ways on December 1 over "philosophical differences" and the school immediately announced that defensive coordinator Tom Allen had been promoted from within as Wilson's replacement. Wilson was 26-47 in 6 seasons with back-to-back bowl appearances in each of the last 2 seasons. The 2015 team lost to Duke in overtime in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Ed Orgeron was promoted on November 26 to head coach at LSU. The 'interim' tag was removed ion the wake of the Tigers' 5-2 finish under Orgeron who took over when Les Miles was fired on September 25 after a 2-2 start. Miles was on the cusp of dismissal at the end of the 2015 season before an outpouring of support from both fans and national media gave the school impetus to change course. Miles has a record of 141-55 in his career, including a 114-34 mark in Baton Rouge. His 2007 team won the BCS National Title game 38-24 over Ohio State. LSU returned to the BCS title game at the end of the 2011 season, losing 21-0 to Alabama. A familiar name, Ed Orgeron, steps in as interim coach. Orgeron had the interim tag at USC in 2013 after Lane Kiffin was fired and went 6-2.
FIU on November 14 announced Butch Davis as its new head coach. The 64-year old has an extensive resume that includes head coaching tenures of 6 years at Miami (51-20, 33-9 Big East) from 1995-2000 and 4 years at North Carolina (28-23, 15-17 ACC) from 2007-2010, Under his watch, UNC had to vacate 16 wins in the 2008 and 2009 seasons due to NCAA violations. He becomes the permanent successor to Ron Turner who was the first head coach to be let go in 2016 (September 24) after just 4 games. Turner's firing came in the aftermath of a 53-14 loss to Central Florida that dropped the Golden Panthers' record to 0-4. UCF had lost to 14 straight FBS opponents heading into that game. Turner was 10-30 at the Miami school. Ron Cooper, a well-traveled assistant and a former Eastern Michigan and Louisville head coach in the 90's, was named Turner's interim replacement. As a head coach at the FBS level, Cooper was 22-33 with just one winning season (7-4, Louisville, 1995).
Fresno State on November 9th announced the hiring of former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford. There, he replaces Tim DeRuyter who was relieved of his duties on October 23 after the Bulldogs had registered just 1 win in 7 games. DeRuyter was 20-6 in his first two season in the San Joaquin Valley, and a slip to 6-8 in 2014 still produced a conference championship game appearance. But the Bulldogs won just 4 of the last 20 games played under DeRuyter and Fresno State named offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau as the interim coach. Tedford previously served as the head coach at Cal from 2002-2012 where he was 82-57 overall and 50-45 in the PAC-10/PAC-12.