Three schools have already made new head coaching hires and nine others are searching for a replacement. Among those finding employment are Les Miles who last coached in late September of 2016, and Mack Brown who hasn't patrolled the sideline since 2013.
North Carolina fired Larry Fedora on Sunday (November 25) after a 2-9 season. A sever downward trend left UNC with no other option than to seek someone who could have an immediate impact on everything from fundraising to recruiting to ticket sales. At 67 years young, it's tough to imagine Brown being the long-term solution, but he is undeniably a quick fix and an unexpected hire.
As far as Les Miles is concerned, it's a dramatic upgrade for Kansas and a move that left a lot of pundits shaking their heads as to how Miles didn't hold out for a gig at a football school. Let's face it - when you think of the 'Rock Chalk Jayhawk' cheer, you conjure up images of hardwood and hoops. Not football.
Kansas hasn't posted a winning record in football since 2008 under Mark Mangino, a coach who was ultimately fired in November of 2009 amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse. Since then, the program has been through Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, Clint Bowen (longtime DC and brief interim head coach), and David Beatty.
When the team hits the field in the fall of 2019, Miles will be the sixth head coach in Lawrence in the last 11 seasons. Would Colorado not have been a better option for him?
Colorado fired Mike MacIntyre on November 18, a day after the Buffaloes lost their sixth straight game following a 5-0 start. MacIntyre improved the talent and I have to believe Miles would have recruited the program to the next level in a short time frame. I'm not certain anyone can really elevate Kansas to Big 12 contender status.
Another one of the more puzzling moves is Charlotte ditching the only coach it has ever had, Brad Lambert. He oversaw the development of the program and its quick ascent from the FCS to the FBS. He was fired a week before the season ended, but was permitted to coach the team one last time when Charlotte visited FAU the following Saturday and the 49ers pulled off a 27-24 upset to finish 5-7. He leaves with an overall record of 22-48 which isn't great by any standard, but who does Charlotte think it will find who is better suited to help the school ascend the ranks of Conference USA?
Texas State is also a head scratcher. I understand Everett Withers had records of 7-28 overall and 2-21 in the Sun Belt, but you're Texas State. You're going to be out-recruited regularly in the state of Texas by so many other established FBS programs including neighboring UTSA which plays in the Alamodome while you average 13,000 fans in a 30,000-seat stadium in San Marcos. A resume that includes stints with the New Orleans Saints, the Texas Longhorns and the Ohio State Buckeyes is a strong testament as to why Withers deserved more time.
Lastly, Matt Canada should be hired as the permanent head coach at Maryland as quickly as possible. Though Maryland lost its last 4 games to finish 5-7, Canada pulled off an amazing feat in the midst of a major scandal. For months, the school was under the microscope for the tragic and senseless death of redshirt freshman Jordan McNair, the offensive lineman who collapsed on May 29 while running a punishment drill, and died June 13. The school actually moved to reinstate Durkin when the team was 5-3 under Canada and had begun to heal its wounds. He was fired the day after his reinstatement when members of the student body, government officials and even some team players protested.
It is disturbing that one of the Maryland front-runners is Mike Locksley, considering the baggage he would bring with him. His past includes a suspension for punching an assistant and an age and sexual harassment lawsuit that was curiously later withdrawn. Even if you want to dismiss the issues, you have to wonder why the school would be seriously considering a guy who has a head coaching record of 3-31?
As you can see, it has already been a fascinating season of hiring and firing. You can keep tabs on all the moves by regularly checking the Coaching Changes page at collegefootballpoll.com.