|Arizona||Rich Rodriguez (7-6)||Kevin Sumlin|
|Arizona State||Todd Graham (7-6)||Herm Edwards|
|Arkansas||Brett Bielema (4-8)||Chad Morris|
|Central Florida||Scott Frost (13-0)||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 (2-0)||Willie Taggart|
|Georgia Southern||Tyson Summers (0-6), I Chad Lunsford (2-3)||Chad Lunsford (0-1, 2017)|
|Kent State||Paul Haynes (2-10)||Sean Lewis|
|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 (1-0)||Joe Moorehead|
|Nebraska||Mike Riley (4-8)||Scott Frost|
|Oregon||Willie Taggart (7-5)||Mario Cristobal (0-1, 2017)|
|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 (0-1, 2017)|
|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 (0-1)||Jimbo Fisher|
|UCLA||Jim Mora (5-6), I-B Jedd Fisch (1-1)||Chip Kelly|
|UTEP||Sean Kugler (0-5), I Mike Price (0-7)||Dana Dimel|
Arizona hired Kevin Sumlin on Sunday (January 14) as head coach to complete a domino effect of changes that began on November 26 when he was fired by Texas A&M. The Aggies subsequently plucked Jimbo Fisher from Florida State on December 1, leading the 'Noles to hire Willie Taggart away from Oregon on December 5 after just one season with the Ducks. Oregon filled its position from within by promoting co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal on December 8, just 3 days after handing him the interim tag. The Arizona job became vacant when Rich Rodriguez was fired on January 2.
Rodriguez' dismissal came in the wake of a sexual harassment claim that could not be substantiated after an outside law firm investigated the allegation. Rodriguez denied the allegation and the complainant declined multiple requests to participate in the investigation. Nonetheless, the school said it was "in the best interest of the University of Arizona and our athletics department to go in a new direction". Arizona completed a 7-6 season with a loss to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl. Rodriguez was 43-35 over 6 seasons with the school, but just 24-30 in PAC-12 play. His best year came in 2015 when the Wildcats won the league's south division title in 2015, but lost 51-13 to Oregon in the conference championship game before falling 38-30 to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl to finish the year 10-4.
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. He left Houston with a 35-17 record.
At Texas A&M, Sumlin was 51-26 in 6 seasons, but 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. The former Texas A&M assistant under R.C. Slocum in 2001 and 2002 was fired from the Aggies the day after a loss at LSU dropped the team to 7-5. Sumlin had led his teams to 9 bowl games in 10 seasons, though he didn't coach in Houston's 2012 Ticket City Bowl win or the Aggies' Belk Bowl loss in December. Tony Levine was Houston's head coach in the Ticket City Bowl win over Penn State, and Jeff Banks served as interim head coach for the Aggies' in a 55-52 loss to Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl.
Five days after Sumlin was fired from A&M, Fisher resigned from FSU and was immediately announced as the head coach of the Aggies. Florida State was just 5-6 when Fisher stepped down, but associate head coach and defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins led the team to a victory over Louisiana-Monroe the next day to get the school to a 36th straight bowl game. Haggins later led FSU to an Independence Bowl in over Southern Miss to save the 'Noles from suffering their first losing season since 1976 which was Bobby Bowden's first year at the school and his only losing campaign.
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. The 2017 team was among the preseason favorites to win another national title, but lost starting QB Deondre Francois in an opening-day loss to Alabama. Florida State won only 3 of its first 9 games.
With Fisher headed to Texas A&M, the Florida State administrators needed just 4 days to secure Willie Taggart. Oregon had just completed a turnaround 7-5 campaign after the 2016 team had sunk to 4-8 under Mark Helfrich. The former Western Kentucky quarterback, and later WKU head coach, has quickly built a reputation as a man with great recruiting strengths and the ability to rebuild programs in a hurry. 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.
Cristobal's promotion by Oregon was somewhat surprising as his only previous head coaching experience was at FIU from 2007-2012 where he was 27-47 over-all, 20-26 in the Sun Belt, and 1-1 in bowl games. 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.
Before Arizona's announcement of firing Rodriguez, the last empty seat on the 2018 coaching carousel had been filled on Monday December 18 when Kent State hired Syracuse's Sean Lewis to replace Paul Haynes. Lewis, a Dino Babers protege, served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Orange for the last 2 seasons and also worked under Babers at Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois. Haynes was fired the day before Thanksgiving (November 23) following a 2-10 season and a 14-45 mark over 5 years at the school. 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.
Coastal Carolina announced on January 5th that Joe Moglia will resume his duties as head football coach in 2018 after taking a medical sabbatical during the 2017 season to fight an allergic reaction in his lungs. Jamey Chadwell served as interim head coach as the Chanticleers went 3-9 in their inaugural season in the FBS and the Sun Belt conference.
Louisiana-Lafayette hired Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier as its new head coach on December 15, 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 December 12, replacing Chad Morris. Dykes began his tenure with the Mustangs by losing 51-10 to 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 December 6. Hunter Yurachek was named 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.
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.
Tennessee officials on 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 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 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, announcing on December 5 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 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 tended to Nebraska matters like the early signing period, but Frost coached UCF to a 34-27 upset of Auburn in the Peach Bowl to conclude a 13-0 season.
Rice announced on December 5 that Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren will be the next head coach of the Owls. Bloomgren had been on the Cardinal staff since 2011 and, before that, was an NFL assistant with the New York Jets from 2008-2010. Rice fired 11-year head coach David Bailiff on 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 on 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 stayed on for ASU's Sun Bowl game versus N.C. State, but lost 52-31. Graham's 12-year head coaching career at Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State has produced a 95-61 record. With the Sun Devils, he was 46-32 overall, 31-23 in the PAC-12, and 2-3 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 led the Bulldogs to a win over Louisville in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
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. Georgia Southern finished 2-10 with Lunsford going 2-4.
Matt Luke's season-long audition at Ole Miss paid off as the school removed the interim tag on 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 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 season-ending win over California with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch serving as interim head coach. However, Fisch was unsuccessful at guiding UCLA to a bowl win as the Bruins fell 35-17 to Kansas State in the Cactus Bowl.
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.
|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 (11-3)|
|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 (7-5)|
|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. (6-7)|
|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.
|Team||2015 Coach (Record)||2016 Coach (Record)|
|Ball State||Pete Lembo (3-9)||Mike Neu (4-8)|
|Baylor||Art Briles (10-3)||I Jim Grobe (7-6)|
|Bowling Green||Dino Babers (10-3), B Brian Ward (0-1)||Mike Jinks (4-8)|
|BYU||Bronco Mendenhall (10-3)||Kalani Sitake (9-4)|
|East Carolina||Ruffin McNeill (5-7)||Scottie McGomery (3-9)|
|Georgia||Mark Richt (9-3), B Bryan McClendon (0-1)||Kirby Smart (8-5)|
|Georgia Southern||Willie Fritz (8-4), B Dell McGee (1-0)||Tyson Summers (5-7)|
|Hawaii||Norm Chow (2-7), I Chris Naeole (1-3)||Nick Rolovich (7-7)|
|Illinois||Tim Beckman (6-7, 2014), I Bill Cubit (5-7), Bill Cubit (0-0)||Lovie Smith (3-9)|
|Iowa State||Paul Rhoads (3-9)||Matt Campbell (3-9)|
|Louisiana-Monroe||Todd Berry (1-9), I John Mumford (0-2)||Matt Viator (4-8)|
|Maryland||Randy Edsall (2-4), I Mike Locksley (1-5)||D.J. Durkin (6-7)|
|Memphis||Justin Fuente (9-3), B - Darrell Dickey (0-1)||Mike Norvell (8-5)|
|Miami (Fla.)||Al Golden (4-3), I Larry Scott (4-2)||Mark Richt (9-4)|
|Minnesota||Jerry Kill (4-3), I Tracy Claeys (0-2), Claeys (2-2)||Tracy Claeys (9-4)|
|Missouri||Gary Pinkel (5-7)||Barry Odom (4-8)|
|North Texas||Dan McCarney (0-5), I Mike Canales (1-6)||Seth Littrell (5-7)|
|Rutgers||S Kyle Flood (3-6), I Norris Wilson (1-2)||Chris Ash (2-10)|
|South Carolina||Steve Spurrier (2-4), I Shawn Elliott (1-5)||Will Muschamp (6-7)|
|Southern Miss||Todd Monken (9-5)||Jay Hopson (7-6)|
|Syracuse||Scott Shafer (4-8)||Dino Babers (4-8)|
|Texas State||Dennis Franchione (3-9)||Everett Withers (2-10)|
|Toledo||Matt Campbell (9-2), Jason Candle (1-0)||Jason Candle (9-4)|
|Tulane||Curtis Johnson (3-9)||Willie Fritz (4-8)|
|UCF||George O'Leary (0-8), I Danny Barrett (0-4)||Scott Frost (6-7)|
|USC||Steve Sarkisian (3-2), I Clay Helton (5-2), Helton (0-2)||Clay Helton (10-3)|
|UTSA||Larry Coker (3-9)||Frank Wilson (6-7)|
|Virginia||Mike London (4-8)||Bronco Mendenhall (2-10)|
|Virginia Tech||Frank Beamer (7-6)||Justin Fuente (10-4)|
|S - Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood was suspended 3 games for contacting a professor about the academic eligibility of a player.|
Lovie Smith was announced on March 7 as the new head coach at Illinois. Spring football, scheduled to start March 11, will be postponed until Smith is able to complete his staff. New Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman, on his first official day on the job, fired Bill Cubit on March 5. Cubit was the interim head coach during the 2015 season and was named the permanent head coach on November 28, just before the Illini completed a 5-7 season with a 24-14 loss to rival Northwestern. Cubit reportedly had a 2-year deal. Cubit stepped up when the school fired Tim Beckman on August 29, a week before the season opener at home against Kent State. Beckman's dismissal was triggered by an investigation into player mistreatment which revealed he allegedly meddled in medical issues and inappropriately treated athletes who left the team but remained on scholarship. Cubit was the offensive coordinator under Beckman, and was previously the head coach at Western Michigan where he compiled a record of 51-47 from 2005-2012, and Widener College from 1992-1996 (34-18-1).
The Tampa Bay Bucs announced on January 24th that the NFL team had hired away Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken to serve as offensive coordinator. Under Monken, Southern Miss enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in 2015 with a 9-3 regular season before suffering losses in the CUSA Championship game and the Heart Of Dallas Bowl. The Golden Eagles won only 3 games the previous year, and just 1 contest in 2013. Monken leaves with a 13-25 record at the Hattiesburg school.
On March 1, Southern Miss announced Jay Hopson as Monken's successor. The Ole Miss grad spent the last 4 seasons as the head coach at Alcorn State where his teams collected a 32-17 record and consecutive SWAC titles the last two seasons. Hopson served two stints as an assistant at USM, coaching DB's from 2001-2003 and serving as defensive coordinator from 2005-2007.
After just two seasons as the head coach at James Madison, Everett Withers is leaving the Dukes to take the same position at Texas State. Withers also served as the interim replacement for Butch Davis at North Carolina after Davis was fired just weeks before the season began amid ongoing NCAA investigations. In spite of the unique circumstances, He led UNC to a 7-6 record, but was replaced at the end of the year by Larry Fedora and Withers went to Ohio State as defensive coordinator. Withers leaves James Madison with a record of 18-7, including a first-round FCS playoff loss in 2014 and a second-round loss this year. The move was announced on January 5.
The Texas State job came open when Dennis Franchione, age 64, announced his retirement from coaching on December 22. Franchione's Bobcats were just 3-9 this season, taking an expected step backward after a 7-5 campaign in 2014. It was his 5th season at the San Marcos school where he also served as head coach from 1990-1991 when it was called Southwest Texas State University. He ushered the program into the FBS in 2012. Overall, the Kansas native spent 30 seasons as a head coach at various levels, most notably at TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M. His overall career record was 213–135–2, including 39-43 at Texas State.
On January 15, UTSA named LSU assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator, Frank Wilson, to replace Larry Coker as head coach. Coker stepped down as head coach at UTSA on January 5 after building the program from scratch. The Roadrunners were 22-26 in 4 seasons as a Football Bowl Subdivision school after going 4-6 in 2011 as a Football Championship Subdivision independent. Coker, 67, was the head coach at Miami from 2001-2006 and led the Hurricanes to a national title in his first season with the school.
Pete Lembo resigned as head coach at Ball State on December 22 to become Maryland's associate head coach and special teams coordinator. Lembo was 33-29 in 5 seasons at the Muncie, Indiana school, but the Cardinals backslid to 5-7 in 2014 and just 3-9 in 2015.
On January 6, Ball State hired former student and player Mike Neu to replace Lembo. Neu spent the last 2 seasons as the quarterbacks coach of the NFL New Orleans Saints. As Ball State's quarterback from 1990-1993, Neu threw for 6,271 yards and was named MAC MVP in his senior season.
On December 20, Georgia Southern confirmed the hiring of Colorado State defensive coordinator Tyson Summers as its replacement for Willie Fritz who moved on to Tulane. The Tifton, Georgia native spent 1 year as the safeties coach at Georgia Southern in 2006. He was the DC on UCF's Fiesta Bowl winning team in 2013. Fritz was 17-7 in 2 seasons at Georgia Southern where he led the Eagles to the Sun Belt title in 2014. This year, he added the school's first-ever NCAA postseason bowl game with their berth in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl. Georgia Southern named running backs coach Dell McGee as interim head coach for the bowl game.
Tulane announced the hiring of Fritz on December 12 where he took the reins from Curtis Johnson who was fired on November 28. Johnson's dismissal came after a loss to Tulsa dropped the Green Wave to 3-9. Johnson was 15-34 in 4 seasons, including a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl loss in 2013 that stands as the only winning season for the Green Wave since 2002.
BYU on December 19 announced Kalani Sitake as its new head coach following BYU's loss to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl which served as the final game for Bronco Mendenhall. Sitake spent the 2015 season as the defensive coordinator at Oregon State, following 10 seasons as an assistant with Utah.
Mendenall was announced December 4 as Mike London's successor at Virginia. He leaves BYU after 11 seasons that produced a 99-43 record overall, 6-5 in bowl games. Virginia announced Mike London's resignation on November 29, though it sounded more like a firing. Athletic director Craig Littlepage said, "We expect our football program to compete for the Coastal Division title on an annual basis, which puts us in a position to win the ACC championship and be competitive nationally." London was 27-46 in 6 seasons, made just one bowl game, and had just one winning season. His teams were a paltry 14-34 in ACC games, including 0-6 vs. rival Virginia Tech.
East Carolina basically went down the street to find its new head coach. The Greenville, North Carolina school announced December 13 that it lured away Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery to replace Ruffin McNeill who was fired on November 4. The Pirates limped home with a 5-7 record in 2015 to bring McNeill's records at his alma mater to 42-34 overall, 8-8 in American Conference games the last 2 seasons, and 24-10 in Conference USA games from 2010-2013. East Carolina never won a divisional or conference championship on his watch and was just 1-3 in lower level bowl games. Montgomery was a star for Duke at wide receiver in the late 1990's.
Louisiana-Monroe announced on December 14 that it had hired McNeese State head coach Matt Viator to replace Todd Berry. The Warhawks fired Berry on November 14, following a 59-21 loss at home to Arkansas State that dropped the Warhawks' 2015 record to 1-9. Berry was 28-43 at UL-M in nearly 6 full seasons with a high water mark of 8-5 in 2012 which resulted in the program's first FBS bowl invitation (a 45-14 loss to Ohio in the Independence Bowl). However, that was his only winning season as Louisiana-Monroe was 6-6 in 2013 and 4-8 in 2014. Berry previously coached at Army (5-35) and Illinois State (24-24) for a career record of 57-102. Defensive line coach John Mumford assumed the role of interim head coach for the school's final 3 games and went 1-2. At McNeese State, Viator was 77-33 in 10 seasons with 5 FCS playoff appearances and 3 first-round wins.
On December 7, Rutgers announced Chris Ash as its new head coach. The Ohio State defensive cooridnator (2014-2015) has been an FBS assistant since 2000 with the likes of Iowa State and Wisconsin, among others. Ash replaces Kyle Flood who was fired on November 29 after a season of turmoil that included a 3-game suspension of Flood and the arrests of at least 7 players. The school also fired athletics director, Julie Herrmann, and named her successor, Pat Hobbs. Rutgers was 4-8 this season with assistant Norris Wilson going 1-2 during Flood's suspension. In all, Rutgers was 27-24 overall during Flood's tenure and 12-19 in conference games.
Bowling Green on December 7 named Mike Jinks as its new head coach. The former Texas high school coach (2005-2012) spent the last two seasons at Texas Tech as RB coach and the 2015 season as associate head coach. He replaces Dino Babers who vacated the Falcons' post to fill the head coaching vacancy at Syracuse on December 5, the day after leading Bowling Green to the MAC title over Northern Illinois. Babers was 18-9 in 2 seasons at BGSU and advanced his squad to the MAC Championship each year.
Syracuse fired Scott Shafer on November 23 after going 13-23 in 3 years (6-17 in the ACC). He had been promoted from defensive coordinator when Doug Marrone left to become the head coach of the Buffalo Bills (NFL), a job which Marrone left after just 2 seasons (now assistant head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars). After his dismissal, Shafer coached and won the final game of the season on November 28 vs. Boston College to improve his records to 14-23 overall, 7-17 in the ACC.
South Carolina announced on December 6 that Will Muschamp will be the next head coach of the Gamecocks. Muschamp spent the past season as the defensive coordinator at Auburn. Ironically, Florida fired Muschamp as head coach the morning after the Gators lost 23-20 in overtime to South Carolina. Muschamp ended his tenure in Gainesville with a 28-21 overall record, and was 17-15 in the SEC. His 2012 squad tied for the SEC's eastern division title, but couldn't play for the SEC Championship because of a tie-breaking loss to rival Georgia.
Steve Spurrier resigned as the head coach of South Carolina on October 13, a few days after a 45-24 loss at LSU left the Gamecocks with a 2-4 record. His resignation took effect immediately. Co-offensive coordinator Shawn Elliott was 1-5 after being named interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Spurrier was 86-49 at South Carolina and his over-all collegiate coaching record of 228–89–2 includes an 11-10 record in bowl games and a 5-3 mark in SEC Championship games. The 'Ol Ball Coach began his collegiate head coaching career at Duke (1987-1989), going 20-13-1 and capturing an ACC co-championship in his final season before moving to Florida. With the Gators, Spurrier went 122-27-1 and a remarkable 87-12 in the SEC. His Florida teams lost 1 or fewer conference games in 9 of his 12 years with the school, claiming 6 conference titles and the 1996 national championship. He resigned from Florida after the 2001 season to coach the Washington Redskins in the NFL in 2002 and 2003, but left that job after achieving little success. He was hired at South Carolina in 2005 where he undeniably elevated the program's level of competitiveness, but was unable to deliver a conference title and the Gamecocks won only 1 division title during his 10 full seasons in Columbia.
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was announced December 6 as the new head coach at Georgia where he will replace Mark Richt. Miami introduced Richt as its new head coach on Friday (December 4). Earlier in the week (November 29), Georgia said the school and Richt had mutually agreed to end his tenure as head coach, effective after the bowl season. But on December 3, Richt informed the school that he will not coach the Bulldogs in their bowl game. Georgia promptly announced Bryan McClendon as the interim head coach and the Bulldogs beat Penn State 24-17 in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Georgia was 9-3 this year with Richt at the helm and he leaves with a 15-year record of 145–51 overall, 83–37 in the SEC. His Bulldog teams won the East division title of the SEC 5 times and won the SEC Championship in 2002 and 2005. Richt was a backup quarterback to Jim Kelly at Miami (1979-1982) and later served for several years as a Graduate Assistant, QB coach and OC under Bobby Bowden at Florida State.
On October 25, the day after Miami fell to 4-3 with a humiliating 58-0 loss at home to Clemson, Al Golden was sent packing and tight ends coach/running game coordinator Larry Scott was tasked with trying to right the ship for the rest of the season. After Scott took over, the 'Canes went 4-1 in the regular season. Despite a 20-14 loss to Washington State in the Sun Bowl, Miami still beat most preseason expectations with a final overall record of 8-5. Golden was 32-27 overall, 17-18 in the ACC. Golden was hired on December 12, 2010 to replace Randy Shannon who had gone 28-22 overall, 16-16 in the ACC.
Seth Littrell was announced December 6 as the new head coach at North Texas. It will be the first head coaching job for Littrell, the North Carolina offensive coordinator. The Mean Green fired Dan McCarney on October 12, just hours after a 66-7 home loss to FCS member Portland State on October 10 dropped UNT's record to 0-5. Interim head coaching duties were handled by offensive coordinator Mike Canales for the remainder of the season. Under Canales, the Mean Green went 1-6.
Missouri hired from within and promoted defensive coordinator Barry Odom to head coach, the school announced December 3. Odom was a star linebacker at Mizzou from 1996-1999. Before returning to Columbia for the 2015 season, Odom spent 3 years under Justin Fuente at Memphis. Odom replaces Gary Pinkel who announced his resignation on November 13, effective at the end of the season. Pinkel, the head coach of Missouri since 2001, was diagnosed with Lymphoma in May. The decision came at the end of a week in which Pinkel gave his support to members of the football team who were threatening to boycott, amid racial tensions, the upcoming game against BYU in Kansas City if the school didn't fire it's president. The president ultimately resigned. Pinkel, the winningest coach in school history, went 1-2 after the announcement and finished with a record of 118-73 in 15 seasons. His 2015 squad went 5-7 after starting 3-0. Pinkel saw the transition from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012 and won consecutive SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014.
Memphis on Thursday (December 3) hired Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell as its new head coach to replace Justin Fuente. He has worked under Todd Graham exclusively since 2007 when he joined Graham's staff at Tulsa, and then followed him to Pittsburgh and ASU.
Virginia Tech confirmed on November 29 the hiring of Fuente to replace Frank Beamer after the bowl season. Memphis' bowl responsibilities were transferred to offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey (lost 31-10 to Auburn in Birmingham Bowl). At Fuente's request, his staff at Virginia Tech will include Bud Foster, the long-time defensive coordinator under Beamer. The former TCU offensive coordinator under Gary Patterson has served as the head coach of Memphis for the last 4 seasons where he quickly turned the program around. Fuente was 26-23 overall at Memphis, including 19-6 the last 2 years.
Beamer announced on November 1 that his 29th season at Virginia Tech will be his last as a college football head coach. At the time, 3 games remained in a 4-5 season. The Hokies closed 2-1, including a 23-20 win at rival Virginia (12th straight) on November 28 to become bowl eligible. Ironically, Beamer's 23rd straight bowl game would be the Independence Bowl which is where the streak began in 1993. Virginia Tech defeated Tulsa 55-52 in that bowl game to send Beamer out with an overall record of 280-144-4, a mark which led all active FBS head coaches. His 238 victories at Virginia Tech included wins over football powerhouses such as Alabama, LSU, Texas and Ohio State. Beamer said he is doing what he always said he would do, and has always done - respond in the best interest for Virginia Tech. In Blacksburg, he rose his Alma mater's football significance from nonexistent to major status. Before BeamerBall, the Hokies had made 6 bowl appearances and won only one. Before BeamerBall, Virginia Tech was a floundering independent playing in a largely empty small stadium. 29 years later, the school has enjoyed 23 straight bowl appearances, 11 bowl victories, a national championship game, and 7 conference championships, all while playing in a generally sold out and dramatically improved 66,000-seat stadium on a campus with some of the best and newest facilities across the whole spectrum of athletics.
Toledo on December 2 promoted offensive coordinator Jason Candle to head coach to replace Matt Campbell after Campbell filled the opening at Iowa State of the fired Paul Rhoads. Iowa State announced Campbell's hiring on November 29. Toledo's interim head coach for the upcoming bowl game will not be defensive coordinator Jon Heacock, as previously announced, since Candle was promoted from within. It was originally believed that Candle would join Campbell at Iowa State.
Rhoads was fired on November 22, the day after a 38-35 loss to Kansas State in which the Cyclones coughed up a 21-point halftime lead. Rhoads coached his teams' last regular season game at West Virginia and lost 30-6, dropping his record 32-55. His five predecessors going back to 1979 also had losing tenures. Dan McCarney (1995-2006) had the most success since Earle Bruce in the 70's. McCarney's best year was 2000 when Iowa State went 9-3 and tied the school record for wins in a season for just the 2nd time in program history. But McCarney had 7 losing campaigns in a 12-year tenure, and even Earle Bruce began with three 4-win seasons before leaving after three 8-win campaigns.
Campbell was 35-15 in 4 seasons with Toledo, including 9-2 this year. His first game as head coach of the Rockets was a 42-41 Military Bowl victory over Air Force.
Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin was confirmed on December 2 as the new head coach of Maryland. The 37-year old had previous gigs with Florida from 2010-2013 and Stanford 2007-2009. This will be his first head coaching job. Maryland gave Randy Edsall the boot on October 11, the day after a 49-28 loss to Ohio State. Rumors of his impending dismissal came to light in the days leading up to that game. Edsall was 22-34 in 4+ seasons at College Park. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was handed the duties of interim head coach. Locksley's prior head coaching stint at New Mexico was a certifiable disaster as he produced a 2-26 record. Locksley's Terps went 1-5, managing to win the season finale over Rutgers, to improve his record to 3-31.
Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost was announced December 1 as the new head coach at Central Florida. The UCF Knights are coming off a tumultuous, winless season that saw George O'Leary announce his immediate retirement on October 25 and the program finished the year with quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett as the interim replacement. O'Leary took over the Knights' program in 2004 and went 0-11 in his first year, but guided the team to an 8-4 mark the following season and the school's first-ever FBS bowl bid (Hawaii Bowl). He would go on to lead UCF to a total of 7 bowls and a 3-4 record in those games. The high water mark came in 2013 when the Knights went 12-1 and defeated Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Overall, he was 81-68 in Orlando and 133-101 in his career.
USC on November 30 made the announcement that most observers thought it should - Clay Helton is the head coach. Helton stepped up after Steve Sarkisian was forced to take a leave of absence to deal with personal problems after the 17-12 loss to Washington on Thursday, October 8. The following Monday (October 12), that leave became permanent with the announcement of his firing. It appeared as though public ridicule of the university left the school with no other option. Sarkisian had offseason problems which were largely dismissed in early August. Based on internal comments, Sarkisian was alleged to have shown up intoxicated at team meetings and may have been under the influence during the Washington game. Helton took over as interim coach, a position he held for the 2013 season Las Vegas Bowl win over Fresno State, and rallied the troops to a 5-2 finish and the PAC-12 South title. However, the Trojans lost to Stanford in the PAC-12 Championship, and then to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl to make Helton 0-2 as the official head coach.
Rutgers on November 29 said it fired Kyle Flood after a season of turmoil that included a 3-game suspension of Flood and the arrests of at least 7 players. The school also fired athletics director, Julie Herrmann, and named her successor, Pat Hobbs. Rutgers was 4-8 this season with assistant Norris Wilson going 1-2 during Flood's suspension. In all, Rutgers was 27-24 overall during his tenure and 12-19 in conference games.
Former Hawaii quarterback and assistant coach, Nick Rolovich, was announced November 27 as the new head coach of Hawaii in 2016. Rolovich has spent the past 4 seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Nevada, the same positions he held under Greg McMackin at Hawaii.
On November 1, Hawaii fired Norm Chow. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 2-7 overall, 0-5 in the Mountain West, after a 58-7 loss at home to Air Force. Assistant coach Chris Naeole was handed the interim duties for the rest of the season and went 1-3. Chow, like Beamer, is 69 years old. Hawaii was his first and only head coaching gig after years as a well-respected offensive coordinator for BYU, N.C. State, USC and others. Chow had very little to work with at Hawaii and compiled a 10-36 record (4-25, Mountain West). At least his teams were predictable as the Congrove Computer Rankings were 42-4 in projecting the outcome of Hawaii games while Chow was in charge, including 9-0 this year.
Tracy Claeys had the interim tag removed from his title on November 11 and signed a 3-year contract as head coach for Minnesota. The longtime assistant to Jerry Kill was named interim head coach after Kill announced his immediate retirement on October 28 due to health reasons. Kill deals with epileptic seizures and had a previous bout with kidney cancer in 2005. Minnesota had a record of 29-29 during his tenure. However, Tracy Claeys was the acting or interim head coach for 7 of those games and was 4-3, leaving Kill's official record at 25-26. Claeys was 0-2 in the interim capacity with losses to Michigan and Ohio State, and 1-1 after the interim tag removed.