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2010
College Football Season
Coaching Changes

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2010 Head Coaching Changes and How They Fared

CFP Staff
Updated August 2, 2010

After Bobby Johnson stunned the Vanderbilt faithful with his announcement on July 14 that he is retiring, effective July 31, the Commodores quickly named assistant head coach and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell as the interim successor. With fall practice set to begin August 6, "interim" was removed from his title on August 2.

Johnson was 29-66 in in 8 seasons in Nashville, including a victory in the 2008 Music City Bowl in the first bowl appearance for the 'Dores since 1982. It was Vanderbilt's first postseason win in football since the 1955 Gator Bowl and just its second in school history out of four bowl appearances (2-1-1).

Caldwell was an original member of Johnson's staff at Vandy after spending 2 seasons as OL coach at North Carolina and 11 at North Carolina State.

The late announcement by Johnson brings the total number of FBS head coaching changes to 23 which accounts for nearly 20% of all FBS teams.

Ruffin McNeill was named head coach at East Carolina on January 21. McNeill, a Texas Tech assistant for 10 years, was the interim head coach in the Red Raiders' dramatic 41-31 comeback victory over Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl. However, he found himself without a job in Lubbock after Tommy Tuberville was named Texas Tech's new head coach.

How New Coaches Fared
TEAM 2009 COACH W-L 2010 COACH W-L
Akron J.D. Brookhart 3-9 Rob Ianello 1-11
Buffalo Turner Gill 5-7 Jeff Quinn 2-10
Central Michigan Butch Jones 12-2 Dan Enos 3-9
Cincinnati Brian Kelly 12-1 Butch Jones 4-8
East Carolina Skip Holtz 9-5 Ruffin McNeill 6-7
Florida State Bobby Bowden 7-6 *-Jimbo Fisher 10-4
Kansas Mark Mangino 5-7 Turner Gill 3-9
Kentucky Rich Brooks 7-6 *-Joker Phillips 6-6
Louisiana Tech Derek Dooley 4-8 Sonny Dykes 5-7
Louisiana-Monroe Charlie Weatherbie 6-6 Todd Berry 5-7
Louisville Steve Kragthorpe 4-8 Charlie Strong 7-6
Marshall Mark Snyder 7-6 John "Doc" Holliday 5-7
Memphis Tommy West 2-10 Larry Porter 1-11
Notre Dame Charlie Weis 6-6 Brian Kelly 8-5
San Jose State Dick Tomey 2-10 Mike MacIntyre 1-12
Tennessee Lane Kiffin 7-6 Derek Dooley 6-7
Texas Tech Mike Leach 9-4 Tommy Tuberville 8-5
UNLV Mike Sanford 5-7 Bobby Hauck 2-11
USC Pete Carroll 9-4 Lane Kiffin 8-5
USF Jim Leavitt 8-5 Skip Holtz 8-5
Vanderbilt Bobby Johnson 2-10 #-Robbie Caldwell 2-10
Virginia Al Groh 3-9 Mike London 4-8
Western Kentucky David Elson 0-12 Willie Taggart 2-10
*-Jimbo Fisher and Joker Phillips were head coaches-in-waiting.
#-Robbie Caldwell resigned after just 1 season.

He replaces Skip Holtz who was hired away from East Carolina by USF on January 14, just six days after Jim Leavitt was fired by the Bulls. Holtz, the son of coaching icon Lou Holtz, was 38-27 in five season with the Pirates. He took over a team that had suffered four straight non-winning seasons and was a combined 3-20 in the two seasons prior to his arrival. East Carolina was 5-6 in Holtz' inaugural year, but went to bowl games in each of his final four seasons and captured the last two CUSA championships.

Leavitt's dismissal from South Florida came on January 8 after a review concluded that he physically mistreated a player. Leavitt denies the allegation and insists he has never struck a player. Leavitt is the only football coach in USF's history. His 95-57 overall record includes a 68-40 mark during the 9 seasons that USF has participated as a full-fledged member of the FBS. The Bulls have gone to five straight bowl games since joining the Big East conference in 2005.

Tuberville was announced as Mike Leach's replacement at Texas Tech on January 9. The former Auburn head coach spent 2009 as a TV analyst after stepping down from the Tigers on December 3, 2008 after a 36-0 loss to Alabama concluded a 5-7 campaign. He was 85-40 overall with the Tigers, and 52-30 in SEC games. His 2004 Auburn team went 13-0, including a 16-13 win over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. That squad was left out of the BCS title game when undefeated teams from USC and Oklahoma were ranked 1 and 2 in the BCS Standings (Auburn was No. 3). Tuberville's overall record, including a four-year stint with Ole Miss, is 110-60.

Leach was fired by Texas Tech on December 30, the day he was hoping to get a court restraining order that would allow him to be with his team at the Alamo Bowl. The school had suspended him two days earlier for alleged mistreatment of WR Adam James (son of ESPN analyst Craig James) who had been diagnosed with a mild concussion. Leach compiled a record of 84-43 in ten seasons in Lubbock with winning records and bowl appearances each year, and he was 5-4 in the previous nine bowl games.

Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes was hired January 20 as the new head coach at Louisiana Tech, replacing Derek Dooley. The 40-year-old son of former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with Kentucky in 1997. His dad was the head coach of the Red Raiders from 1986-1999.

Dooley was both the head football coach and athletic director at Louisiana Tech when he resigned on January 15 to become the head coach at Tennessee, replacing Lane Kiffin. Dooley was 17-20 in three seasons at the Ruston, Louisiana school. He is the son of Georgia coaching legend and former athletic director Vince Dooley. His uncle, Bill Dooley, was also a notable head football coach for over 25 years.

Kiffin was named as Pete Carroll's replacement at USC on January 12 after Carroll accepted an offer to be the head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks on January 11. Kiffin, 34, spent a little more than one season (2007-2008) as the head coach of the NFL's Oakland Raiders where he was 5-15 when he was fired. He was 7-6 in his only season at Tennessee which ended in a 37-14 blowout loss to Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Kiffin was an assistant at USC from 2001-2006, including offensive coordinator from 2005-2006.

Carroll replaces the fired Jim Mora at Seattle. Carroll was a ridiculous 97-19 (.836) in nine seasons with the Trojans, including seven consecutive seasons of 11 wins or more from 2002-2008 during which the school won or shared seven PAC-10 titles. Carroll's 2004 team crushed Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl to win the BCS Championship. His 2003 team was voted No. 1 in the AP Poll even though LSU won the BCS title, creating the only split decision of the BCS era (1998-present). Carroll previously coached in the NFL with the New York Jets (1994) and the New England Patriots (1997-1999), compiling a 33-31 record.

Kentucky announced on January 4 that Rich Brooks was retiring and head coach-in-waiting Joker Phillips no longer needed to wait. Phillips was named Brooks' successor in 2007. Brooks was 39-46 in seven seasons with the Wildcats and has an overall career record of 128-154-4. His last four Kentucky teams played in bowl games.

Florida announced Urban Meyer's resignation the day after Christmas, citing undisclosed personal health issues. The next day, it became an indefinite leave of absence. The change of mind came after a Sunday morning practice in New Orleans in preparation for the Gators' Sugar Bowl clash with Cincinnati where he said he believed in his gut that he would lead Florida in 2010. The Gators demolished the Bearcats 51-24 in the bowl game. As for Meyer's leave of absence, he didn't check out until February 4th and returned for Spring practice in March.

The UNLV job was filled December 22 when it hired Montana head coach Bobby Hauck to take over the program. Hauck's Grizzlies lost the NCAA FCS title game 23-21 to Villanova on December 18. Hauck is 80-17 in three seasons at the Missoula school, including 0-3 in FCS championship game appearances in 2004, 2008 and 2009. Prior to taking the job at Montana, Hauck was an assistant under Rick Neuheisel at Washington (1999-2002) and Colorado (1995-1998).

UNLV announced on November 15 that Mike Sanford won't be retained. UNLV won its next game to finish the season at 5-7 overall, 3-5 in the MWC. Sanford was 16-43 overall in five seasons at UNLV, and just 8-32 in Mountain West Conference games.

An exceptional year of coaching hires includes Buffalo's selection of Jeff Quinn which was announced on December 20. Quinn has been caught up in the Brian Kelly-Butch Jones-Central Michigan-Cincinnati-Notre Dame circle for awhile, and his story was beginning to seem like a case of "always the bridesmaid, never the bride".

Butch Jones was Brian Kelly's replacement at Central Michigan. Now, he replaces him at Cincinnati, too. Jones was formally introduced at a December 16 press conference.

Jones left his post as receivers coach with West Virginia to make CMU his first head coaching position in 2007. He had previous ties to the Chippewas, having coached the tight ends, receivers and running backs at various times from 1998-2004. In between Kelly's departure and Jones' hiring, Quinn served as interim head coach in Central Michigan's bowl win over Middle Tennessee. When Quinn wasn't named head coach at CMU, he joined Kelly's staff at Cincinnati. Quinn was in the same boat with the Bearcats, serving as interim head coach in their Sugar Bowl game against Florida.

Notre Dame introduced Kelly as their new head coach on December 11. After a 13-year career at Division 2 Grand Valley State (118-35-2) where he won two national titles, and a pair of successful 3-year tenures at Central Michigan (19-16) and Cincinnati (34-6), the 47-year-old Kelly landed what he called his dream job with the Irish.

Over the last two seasons, Kelly led Cincinnati to unprecedented heights with back-to-back Big East titles and BCS bowl berths. He guided the 2009 Bearcats team to an undefeated regular season (12-0) and 3rd-place finish in the BCS Standings. He was rewarded for his success with the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award the night before his departure to Notre Dame was officially announced.

Meanwhile, Central Michigan has had even greater success under Jones as it captured a pair of MAC titles (2007, 2009) while compiling a 3-year record of 27-13. The Chippewas were 11-2 in 2009 under Jones. They went on to defeat Troy 44-41 in the GMAC Bowl with Steve Stripling serving as interim head coach.

Central Michigan announced Michigan State running backs coach Dan Enos as its new hire on January 12. The 41-year-old recently completed his fourth season with the Spartans. It is his first head coaching job at any level.

Charlie Weis learned his fate at Notre Dame on November 30 when he was fired. The writing was on the wall for Weis after the Irish fell to 6-6 with the come-from-ahead loss at Stanford in the season finale. It was Notre Dame's fourth consecutive loss as it concluded its third straight season with at least 6 losses for the first time in school history. Though it was bowl eligible, the school opted not to accept a postseason bid.

At some point, one has to wonder how much the school is bringing all of this failure upon itself with the constant instability in the coaching staff. The 2008 Hawaii bowl win over Hawaii was Notre Dame's first postseason triumph since 1993 when Lou Holtz was the head coach. Kelly will be Notre Dame's fourth head coach this decade, excluding George O'Leary who was hired in 2001 but never coached a game. Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham preceded Weis and none were given more than 5 years. Willingham was cut loose after just 3 seasons. Notre Dame appears to be shouting the wrong message - win now at all costs.

For the record, Weis went 19-6 in his first two seasons. But he was just 16-21 over the last three campaigns for a career mark of 35-27.

Mike MacIntyre became the new head coach at San Jose State on December 16, exactly one month after Dick Tomey announced his retirement from coaching on November 16.

MacIntyre comes to San Jose State after working the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Duke. He was a defensive secondary coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-06 and the New York Jets in 2007. MacIntyre was an assistant at Ole Miss from 1998-2002 before going to the NFL.

Tomey's record was 25-35 in five seasons at SJSU. He was also the head coach at Hawaii and Arizona during his 29-year career and he compiled an overall record of 183-145-7. Tomey is the current president of the 10,000-plus member American Football Coaches Association.

On December 17, West Virginia associate head coach John "Doc" Holliday was introduced as the new head coach at Marshall. Holliday also coached tight ends and fullbacks, and was the recruiting coordinator for the Mountaineers. Holliday played linebacker at WVU from 1976-1979 and served as an assistant with the Mountaineers through 1999. He returned to WVU in 2008 after working with N.C. State and Florida.

Holliday replaces Mark Snyder who forcibly resigned on November 29. That move was made after the team returned from a 52-21 whipping at UTEP to finish the season 6-6, good enough to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2004. Defensive coordinator Rick Minter, who was Cincinnati's head coach from 1994-2003, was interim coach for Marshall's 21-17 win over Ohio in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Snyder was 26-37 overall, 17-23 in CUSA.

UL-M on December 16 introduced former Warhawks assistant Todd Berry as its new head coach, replacing Charlie Weatherbie. Berry was the offensive coordinator under Weatherbie in 2004 and 2005 before leaving to coach quarterbacks at Miami in 2006. He spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator under Mike Sanford at UNLV, but Sanford and his staff were dismissed from that school in November.

Weatherbie was let go on November 30. In his 7-year tenure, UL-M was 31-51 overall and 24-24 in conference games. Oddly, the firing came after UL-M enjoyed only its second non-losing season since joining the FBS ranks in 1994. Weatherbie also coached the Warhawks to a 6-6 record in 2007, and his 2005 team won a share of the Sun Belt conference even though its overall record was just 5-6.

Kansas announced Turner Gill as its new head coach on December 14, replacing the ousted Mark Mangino. Gill had been the head coach at Buffalo for the last 4 season where he logged records of 20-30 overall and 14-18 in MAC games. In his last 3 seasons, Gill was 13-11 in the MAC and 18-20 overall at a school that had won more than 2 games just once in the 7 years prior to his tenure. His 2008 squad captured the MAC Championship with an upset of undefeated Ball State. Gill is a former Nebraska assistant from 1992-2004 where he participated in bring the 'Huskers 2 outright national championships and a split title. As the starting quarterback at Nebraska from 1981-83, he led the Cornhuskers to a 28-2 record and a 20-0 mark in Big Eight Conference play. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1983 when teammate Mike Rozier claimed the honor.

Officially, he resigned, but Mangino was forced out as Kansas' head football coach on December 3 after an investigation into his treatment of players. Kansas finished the 2009 season on a 7-game skid after beginning the year with 5 straight wins. The 5-7 campaign came just two years after Mangino won coach of the year honors for guiding the Jayhawks to a 12-1 record in 2007, capped by a victory in the Orange Bowl. Mangino spent 8 years leading the Jayhawks and compiled a 50-48 record overall, but was just 23-41 in Big 12 games. The 2007 season was the only year in his tenure that Kansas finished above .500 in the Big 12.

Rob Ianello has spent most of his 23-year coaching career as a receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. On December 10, it was announced that he is making the move from Notre Dame to Akron. Ianello was in South Bend for all five years of Charlie Weis' tenure, and he was named the interim head coach when Weis was fired. He previously had stints at Arizona and Wisconsin after beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Alabama.

Ianello replaces J.D. Brookhart who was fired on November 28, a day after the Zips ended a 3-9 campaign with a 28-21 victory over Eastern Michigan. Brookhart left with a 30-42 record (22-26, MAC) that included a 2005 MAC Championship season that was capped by a Motor City Bowl loss to Memphis (38-31). Those still stand as the first and only MAC title and bowl appearance in the school's history.

Charlie Strong was named the new head coach at Louisville on December 9. Considered to be one of the top defensive coordinators in the country, Strong has spent the last seven seasons in that position at Florida, and held the additional post of Associate Head Coach for the last two seasons. It was his fourth different stint at UF, having coached at Florida from 1991-94; 1988-89 and 1983-84. He served as Florida's interim head coach in 2004, falling to Miami 27-10 in the Peach Bowl.

Louisville canned Steve Kragthorpe on November 28, a day after Louisville completed the regular season at 4-8 with a 34-14 home loss to Rutgers. Kragthorpe was just 15-21 in three seasons with the Cards, replacing the highly-successful Bobby Petrino when he left to take the head coaching job with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. Petrino returned to the college ranks with Arkansas a year later. Kragthorpe was 6-6 in his first season and 5-7 in 2008. Kragthorpe's conference record was just 5-16, including 1-6 in each the past two seasons. The Cardinals were 41-9 in Petrino's 4 seasons as head coach.

Virginia announced Mike London as its new head coach on December 7. London is a former Virginia assistant under Al Groh who left to take the head coaching job at FCS member Richmond in 2008. In London's first year at the helm, Richmond went 13-3 and captured the 2008 FCS national championship. The Spiders went 11-2 in 2009. The announcement of London's hiring came just two days after his team lost to Appalachian State in the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs.

Virginia fired Groh from his alma mater on November 29, less than 24 hours after a 3-9 season ended with another humbling defeat at the hands of rival Virginia Tech. The loss dropped Groh's record against the Hokies to 1-8 and lowered his overall record at the school to 59-53. Groh's ACC record was an even .500 at 36-36. Virginia was one of just two ACC schools to miss the 2008 bowl season.

Bobby Bowden announced his retirement from Florida State on December 2 after essentially being forced out by the school he put on the map.

"The bowl game will be my last game as head football coach at Florida State," said Bobby Bowden. "It's been a great 34 seasons." The Seminoles went on to defeat West Virginia in the Gator Bowl 33-21. Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles' head coach-in-waiting took the reigns after the game.

Bowden is second on the all-time win list with a record of 389-129-4 (.749), including 316-97-4 (.763) with the Seminoles. He trails only Joe Paterno (394) in career victories. In his 34 seasons at Florida State, Bowden received National Coach of the Year honors 6 times. His teams won national championships in 1993 (AP, Coaches' polls) and 1999 (BCS). In his final season, Bowden guided Florida State (7-6) to its 28th consecutive bowl appearance, the longest current streak in the nation. His teams won an NCAA-record 11 consecutive bowls from 1985-1995, had 14 straight 10-win seasons from 1987-2000, and 14 consecutive top-5 finishes in the AP poll. His inaugural season at Florida State (1976) was his only losing campaign at that school and he had just two losing seasons in his entire 44-year career, the first coming at West Virginia when he was 4-7 in 1974.

On November 28, Memphis hired Larry Porter to replace Tommy West. Porter, a running back for the Tigers from 1990-1993. Porter has coached running backs at Arkansas State, Oklahoma State and LSU. It will be his first head coaching job.

West was fired on November 9 after a 2-7 start, but stayed on to finish the season. The Tigers completed the 2009 campaign with a dismal 2-10 record, West's worst season at the school. West used his opportunity at the press conference microphone to blast the dilapidated facilities and lack of commitment to the football program. The comments were not profound revelations. Everyone knows those are the facts. The question is whether or not Memphis will try to become a serious football school and whether or not these are the economic times to make that commitment. The area around the Liberty Bowl is depressed and lost its historic Libertyland theme park in 2005.

Western Kentucky alumnus Willie Taggart was named David Elson's successor on November 23. As Stanford's running backs coach last season, Taggart coached Toby Gerhart, the nation's leading rusher and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Taggart himself was a standout QB for the Hilltoppers from 1995-1998, setting 13 school records. He served as an assistant coach at WKU from 1999-2006, and was assistant head coach from 2003-2006.

Elson was fired on November 9, but finished an 0-12 season with the team. The Hilltoppers enter 2010 with the nation's longest current losing streak at 20 games, and the school has lost 25 straight games to FBS teams. 2009 was WKU's first season as a full-fledged FBS program and member of the Sun Belt conference. Elson's record at the school was 39-44 in 7 seasons.