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2007 Coaching Changes: McMackin Promoted To Head Coach At Hawai'i

by CFP Staff
January 16, 2008

Hawaii announced on January 16 that defensive coordinator Greg McMackin was promoted to head coach. McMackin has a wide range of experience in college and the NFL, primarily as a defensive coordinator, and this is his first head coaching job.

June Jones was introduced as the new head coach at SMU on January 7, leaving behind the island paradise of Hawaii and the program he built into a perennial winner. In the five years prior to taking over the Warriors in 1999, the team had won just twelve games in five seasons and was winless in 1998. Jones guided Hawaii to a 9-4 record in his first season.

Jones replaces Phil Bennett who was the first coach to be fired in 2007. He was allowed to finish the season after his dismissal came on October 28 when the Mustangs were 1-7, 0-4 in CUSA, vastly underachieving the preseason expectations. The preseason forecast, based on the Congrove Computer Rankings, called for Bennett's squad to turn in records of 8-3 in 2005, 9-3 in 2006, and 8-4 this season. Instead, his teams came in three wins below expectations in 2005 and 2006, and seven victories off of this season's forecast as they finished 1-11. Bennett was just 18-52 since taking the reigns in 2002 and fell short of expectations in five of his six campaigns, meeting only the 3-8 projection in 2004. SMU has not been to a bowl game since defeating Notre Dame 27-20 in the 1984 Aloha Bowl.

SMU was given the "death penalty" by the NCAA for numerous violations and was shut down completely for two seasons - 1987 and 1988. The program re-started in 1989 but has enjoyed just two non-losing seasons, including a 6-6 campaign under Bennett in 2006. The Mustangs went 6-5 in 1996.

Jones was 75-41 with Hawaii, and 4-2 in bowl games. The Warriors went 12-0 in the regular season in 2007 as the only team in the FBS to go undefeated. They lost 41-10 to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

How New Coaches Fared
Arkansas Houston Nutt 8-5 Bobby Petrino 5-7
Baylor Guy Morriss 3-9 Art Briles 4-8
Colorado State Sonny Lubick 3-9 Steve Fairchild 7-6
Duke Ted Roof 1-11 David Cutcliffe 4-8
Georgia Tech Chan Gailey 7-6 Paul Johnson 9-4
Hawaii June Jones 12-1 Greg McMackin 7-7
Houston Art Briles 8-5 Kevin Sumlin 8-5
Michigan Lloyd Carr 9-4 Rich Rodriguez 3-9
Mississippi Ed Orgeron 3-9 Houston Nutt 9-4
Navy Paul Johnson 8-5 Ken Niumatalolo 8-5
Nebraska Bill Callahan 5-7 Bo Pelini 9-4
Northern Illinois Joe Novak 2-10 Jerry Kill 6-7
SMU Phil Bennett 1-11 June Jones 1-11
Southern Miss Jeff Bower 7-6 Larry Fedora 7-6
Texas A&M Dennis Franchione 7-6 Mike Sherman 4-8
UCLA Karl Dorrell 6-7 Rick Neuheisel 4-8
Washington State Bill Doba 5-7 Paul Wulff 2-11
West Virginia Rich Rodriguez 11-2 Bill Stewart 9-4

The morning after leading West Virginia to a 48-28 Fiesta Bowl victory against Oklahoma, West Virginia removed the "interim" label from Bill Stewart's title and promoted him to head coach. In all, six teams went to bowl games with interim head coaches and Stewart was the only one whose team was victorious.

Stewart was named interim head coach two days after Rich Rodriguez accepted the head coaching position at Michigan, replacing the retiring Lloyd Carr. Stewart was the associate head coach under Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was 60-26 at West Virginia with four Big East titles in the last five years, and at least ten victories each of the last three years. His contract with West Virginia will force Michigan to pony up a $4 million buyout, and his total package at Big Blue is expected to be in the $4 million range annually.

Carr coached Michigan in its 41-35 Capital One bowl upset of Florida.

Carr formally announced his retirement from Michigan on November 19. The 62-year old Carr spent 13 seasons with the school, compiling a record of 122-40. His teams captured two outright Big Ten titles and shared three others. Michigan was voted No. 1 by the AP at the end of the 1997 season, but shared the national title with Nebraska which was voted No. 1 by the coaches.

The Wolverines are winless in four straight games to the Buckeyes for the first time since 1972-1975 when they went 0-3-1, and have gone 0-4 against their hated rival for the first time since 1960-1963. Carr was 6-7 against Ohio State, but just 1-6 against current Buckeyes' coach Jim Tressel. Michigan was 6-7 in bowl games under Carr. He was 1-3 as a head coach in Rose Bowl games.

Carr's resignation had been expected, even long before the 2007 season opened with a shocking home loss to Appalachian State.

Rodriguez becomes the second head coach of a major sport to be lured away from West Virginia by Michigan. Head basketball coach John Beilein was hired in April in a move that cost Michigan his $2.5 million buyout.

UCLA hired former Bruins' quarterback Rick Neuheisel as the permanent replacement to Karl Dorrell. Neuheisel's last head coaching job was with Washington where he went 33-16 but was let go after it was discovered he participated in an NCAA basketball tournament pool. He later won a settlement as the result of a wrongful termination suit for that dismissal.

Prior to coaching the Huskies, Neuheisel went 33-14 in four seasons at Colorado. There, he came under fire for improper contact with recruits that led to the Buffaloes being put on two years probation for what the NCAA termed "secondary violations".

He spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.

Neuheisel was the MVP of UCLA's 45-9 Rose Bowl win over Illinois at the end of the 1983 season.

Dorrell was fired by UCLA on December 3, a day after the school accepted a bid to face BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. Dorrell's defensive coordinator, DeWayne Walker, served as interim head coach in the 17-16 loss.

Dorrell had just signed an extension in February of 2007 that was to keep him on the Bruins' sideline through 2011. The former UCLA receiver spent five seasons coaching his alma mater and compiled a record of 35-27 over-all, 24-18 in PAC-10 games, with bowl appearances each season. The 2005 campaign was his best when UCLA finished 10-2. He was just 1-3 in bowl games (Las Vegas, Silicon Valley, Sun and Emerald).

Oklahoma assistant Kevin Sumlin was named the new head coach at Houston at a press conference on Friday (Dec. 14).  Sumlin served as co-offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach with the Sooners. He has been on Bob Stoops' staff since 2003. His previous experience includes Texas A&M (2001-2002), Purdue (1998-2001) and Minnesota (1993-1997). He played linebacker at Purdue from 1983-1986.

Sumlin replaces Art Briles who was hired at Baylor on November 28, making the short geographical move from Houston to Waco. Briles took over a Houston program in 2003 that had experienced just one winning campaign in twelve years, and went 7-6 in his first campaign. He took the Cougars to four bowl games in five years, and his over-all record with the Cougars was 34-28. In 2006, Houston won the CUSA championship.

Chris Thurmond, recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach the past two seasons, was the interim head coach for Houston's 20-13 loss to TCU in the Texas Bowl.

Briles inherits a Baylor program that has not been to a bowl game since 1994. He replaces Guy Morriss who was fired on Nov. 18 after five seasons. The Bears have not had a winning season 1995, and were 18-40 under Morriss with a season-best of 5-6 in 2005. Morriss' teams went just 7-33 in Big 12 games. The Bears were 3-9 over-all in 2007, 0-8 in the conference.

David Cutcliffe was hired at Duke on December 14. Cutcliffe was Eli Manning's head coach at Ole Miss and he compiled a 44-29 record in six seasons with the Rebels. He spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, and stayed with the Vols in that capacity for their 21-17 win over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.

Duke announced the dismissal of head coach Ted Roof on November 26. Roof took over the program seven games into the 2003 season and guided the Blue Devils to a 2-3 record as interim head coach. He was named head coach on December 6, 2003 and posted records of 2-9, 1-10, 0-12 and 1-11 for a cumulative record of 6-45 over-all, and 3-33 in ACC games.

On December 13, Northern Illinois announced the hiring of Southern Illinois head coach Jerry Kill. The Salukis were just elminated from the FCS playoffs the previous Saturday in a 20-17 los to Delaware. Kill compiled a career record of 104-57 in 14 seasons as a head coach at SIU, Emporia State and Saginaw Valley State.

Kill replaces Joe Novak announced his retirement on November 26 after 12 years as head coach at the DeKalb, Illinois school. Novak departs with a career record of 63-75 after a 2-10 season in 2007 with a junior-laden, injury-riddled team. From the middle of the 1999 campaign through the end of the 2006 season, his Huskies won 58 of 90 (64.4 percent) of their games, won or shared the MAC West Division title four times, made two bowl appearances (2004 Silicon Valley Classic and 2006 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl) and played in the league's championship game in 2005. Northern Illinois was one of just 18 programs in the nation, and the only team not affiliated with a Bowl Championship Series conference, to post seven straight winning seasons from 2000-06.

December 11 saw two more coaching announcements, most notably the return of Bobby Petrino to the college ranks as the head man at Arkansas.

Petrino resigned his head coaching position from the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and immediately began recruiting for the Razorbacks. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring served as interim coach in the 38-7 Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri.

Petrino left Louisville after the 2006 season to take the job in Atlanta where success seemed imminent. That decision backfired when Falcon QB Michael Vick was indicted on federal dog fighting charges and was sentenced on December 10, 2007 to 23 months in prison. The Falcons were just 3-10 under Petrino.

Petrino had signed a 10-year pact with Louisville worth $25 million prior to the start of the 2006 college football season. He then led the Cardinals to a 12-1 campaign that included a Big East title and their first BCS bowl berth, a 24-13 win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl. The Cardinals went 41-9 in Petrino's four years as head coach, including a 2-2 record in bowl games. Louisville elevated its bowl status each year during Petrino's tenure, with a 2003 GMAC bowl bid followed by invitations to the Liberty, Gator and Orange Bowls.

Petrino replaces Houston Nutt who resigned November 26 and was announced the next day as the new head coach at Ole Miss. Coming off a 50-48 triple-overtime victory at LSU in the season finale to finish the regular season 8-4, Nutt ended his Arkansas tenure with a 75-48 (.634) record. His career record is 111-70 (.613). His teams won or shared three Southeastern Conference Western Division titles, and made two appearances in the SEC Championship game.

Nutt replaces Ed Orgeron who was promptly fired on November 24, a day after the Rebels blew a 14-0 4th quarter lead to lose to rival Mississippi State. Ole Miss finished 3-9 over-all, 0-8 in the SEC for their fourth consecutive losing season. The Rebels were just 10-25 over-all in Orgeron's three-season tenure, and only 3-21 in the SEC.

Also on Tuesday (Dec. 11), Washington State hired Paul Wulff who was 53-40 as a head coach at FCS member Eastern Washington. Wulff played for the Cougars and graduated in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in social science.

Doba resigned November 26 after five seasons. He was 30-29 with the Cougars. Prior to becoming the school's head coach, he served as an assistant for 14 years.

On December 12, Southern Miss announced the hiring of Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora as the replacement for Jeff Bower. Bower stepped down as head coach November 26 despite his 14th consecutive winning season and 10th bowl invitation in the past 11 campaigns. Bower was terse in his comments at a press conference that was held to announce the change. He spent 29 years at the Hattiesburg, Mississippi school as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Bower was 119-83-1 after coaching the Golden Eagles in a 31-21 loss to Cincinnati at the Bowl on Dec. 22 in Birmingham.

Also on December 12, Colorado State named former assistant Steve Fairchild as the new head coach. Fairchild was Sonny Lubick's quarterbacks coach from 1993-1996, and offensive coordinator from 1997-2000. The Rams forced out Lubick on November 27 after 15 seasons. Lubick was 108-74 with the Rams, taking them to 9 bowl games. His teams won two outright titles each in the WAC and Mountain West conferences. They also shared a title in each.

Navy made it to a bowl game for the fifth straight season under head coach Paul Johnson. It was announced December 7 that Johnson had become the new head coach at Georgia Tech, replacing Chan Gailey. Interim head coach Jon Tenuta, who was Gailey's defensive coordinator, coached the Yellow Jackets in a 40-28 loss to Fresno State at the Humanitarian Bowl.

Prior to Johnson's arrival, the Midshipmen had never appeared in more than two consecutive bowl games. Johnson was 45-29 in 6 years as head coach of Navy, and 43-19 over his last five years. He was 11-1 against Army and Air Force. The Midshipmen have also captured five straight Commander-In-Chief's Trophies as winners of the annual round-robin scheduling between Navy, Army and Air Force.

Gailey was "relieved of his duties" on November 23.  Gailey had a 44-32 record in six seasons and his teams went to a bowl game every year. Gailey's ACC record of 28-21 includes a loss to Wake Forest in the 2006 conference championship game. The Yellow Jackets finished the 2007 season with a record of 7-5 over-all, 4-4 in the ACC.

The day after Johnson left, Navy promoted his assistant head coach, Ken Niumatalolo, to head coach. Navy lost 35-32 to Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl in Niumatalolo's debut.

Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Bo Pelini was hired December 2 as head coach of the Cornhuskers. Pelini was the interim head coach for Nebraska at the 2003 Alamo Bowl after Frank Solich was fired, and the Cornhuskers won that game 17-3 over Michigan State. He has spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at LSU.

Bill Callahan was fired from Nebraska on November 24 after a four-year tenure that saw his teams go just 15-18 in games against Big 12 opponents and 27-22 over-all. The program sank unquestionably to new lows under Callahan's guidance, setting numerous school records for futility.

The writing was on the wall in Callahan's first season when the 'Huskers finished 5-6 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1968. Among other things, 2004 was the first losing season at Nebraska since 1961; the first time in eight meetings that they lost to Texas Tech when they were bombed 70-10; and the first time Nebraska failed to win a conference road game since 1959 when the league was known as the Big 7.

This past season, Kansas scored the most points ever in a game against Nebraska when they beat the 'Huskers 76-39. At the time, that defeat gave the Cornhuskers their first five-game losing streak since 1958. In 2007, Nebraska allowed 455 points in a 12-game season to easily surpass the previous low-water mark of 335 points in a 14-game season in 2002.

Former head coaching legend Tom Osborne was brought back to Nebraska to serve as interim athletic director on October 17. It was Osborne who reviewed Callahan's performance and ultimately fired him. Osborne had also been serving as interim head coach since November 28.

Mike Sherman was named as the new head coach at Texas A&M on November 26, just three days after Dennis Franchione resigned November 23. less than an hour after the Aggies beat rival Texas for the second consecutive season. Franchione had been under considerable fire all season and ended his five-year tenure with a record of 32-28. Under his watch, Texas A&M was a lackluster 19-21 in Big 12 games and 3-12 against rivals Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas.

Franchione's defensive coordinator Gary Darnell served as "interim head coach" in Texas A&M's 24-17 loss to Penn State in the Alamo Bowl.

Sherman was the head coach of the NFL's Green Bay Packers from 2000-2005 and is currently in his second season with the NFL's Houston Texans where he is the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. The school said he was the only candidate considered for the job. Sherman was the Aggies' offensive line coach from 1989-1993 and 1995-1996. He played defensive end and offensive tackle at Central Connecticut State University.


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