A Review of the More Recent Coaching Changes

March 15, 2021 by Staff

Kansas joins Texas as the only Big 12 teams that will open the 2021 season with a new head coach.  But we still don't know who the new Jayhawk head coach will be.

The mess at Kansas came to a head on Tuesday, March 8 when head coach Les Miles and Kansas agreed to part ways. Two days later, athletic director Jeff Long also agreed to leave. On Thursday, March 10th, the school named Emmett Jones, a three-year assistant with the program, as interim head coach. It also appointed booster, Kurt Watson as interim AD. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord had been serving as 'acting' head coach ever since Miles was put on administrative leave two days prior. DeBord was among those interviewed for the interim position.

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The dust-up began when USA Today uncovered previous allegations of misconduct by Miles at LSU, centered around complaints by female students. After an internal investigation at LSU was concluded in 2013, then-athletic director Joe Aleva recommended Miles be fired but the school instead reportedly banned him from communicating with, or being alone with, female students. Miles was fired 3 years later after a 2-2 start to the 2016 football season. Kansas was 0-9 last season under Miles and just 3-18 in his two seasons in Lawrence. His teams were 1-16 in Big 12 play. For his career, Miles won-loss record is 145-73 overall.

We all thought the last college football opening in the FBS had been filled after UCF announced the hiring of Gus Malzahn on February 15. The former Auburn head coach inked a deal reportedly worth $2.3 million per year over 5 years, according to ESPN's Andrea Adelson. Malzahn will reap a buyout from Auburn of $21.7 million, half of which he has already banked, after being fired on December 13 following a 6-4 campaign.

Malzahn was 68-35 overall at Auburn, and 39-27 in SEC play. In his first season in 2013, he took a 3-9 team from the previous year and went 12-2 with a division title, an SEC title, and a 34-31 loss to Florida State in the final BCS Championship game. Since then, the Tigers have won a single division title (2017) while Alabama has dominated the division and the conference. However, Malzahn was 3-5 against the Tide while everyone else in the SEC went 3-60 against Nick Saban. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was handed the reins as interim head coach for Auburn's 35-19 Citrus Bowl loss to Northwestern. So says casino en ligne crazy vegas.

Tennessee announced on Wednesday, January 27th that it had plucked Josh Heupel from UCF to serve as its new head coach. The Vols had fired Jeremy Pruitt on January 18 "with cause", along with numerous assistants, for alleged NCAA violations. The dismissal "with cause" prevented Pruitt from receiving a buyout settlement, but will almost surely result in a lawsuit. Pruitt, a former Alabama assistant, was hired by Tennessee on December 7, 2017. His teams at Tennessee were 16-19 overall, 10-16 in SEC play, and 1-0 in bowl games. Since 2017, Butch Jones, Brady Hoke (interim) and Pruitt have combined to go 21-28 overall and 10-24 in the SEC.

Heupel spent 3 seasons in Orlando leading the Golden Knights to a 28-8 record over-all, a 19-5 record in the American Conference, and a 1-2 mark in bowl games. 

Former Boise State linebacker Andy Avalos (2001-2005) was named on Tuesday (January 12) as the new head coach of the Broncos, succeeding Bryan Harsin. He was also an assistant with Boise State from 2012-2018, but spent the last two seasons at Oregon as defensive coordinator under Mario Cristobal. As a player, he led the Broncos in tackles every year from 2002–2004. Harsin resigned to take the head coaching job at Auburn on December 22 after Gus Malzahn was fired on December 13. Harsin was 69-19 at Boise State where his teams won Mountain West conference championships in three of his seven seasons, Harsin was a backup quarterback at Boise State in the late 1990's, but played sparingly.

Marshall on Sunday, January 17, announced the hiring of another Nick Saban disciple, Charles Huff, as head coach of the Thundering Herd. Huff was associate head coach as running backs coach for the Tide over the past two seasons. The former Hampton walk-on (2001-2005) has also spent time as an assistant with Penn State and Mississippi State, among other institutions. He becomes the 13th Alabama assistant hired as a head coach in the past 14 years.

The opening at Marshall was created when the school declined to renew the contract of Doc Holliday (announced on Monday, January 4). Holliday had an 11-year tenure in Huntington that produced records of 85-54 over-all and 55-30 in Conference USA. The move is more than a bit surprising, given that the Thundering Herd just played in the conference championship game for the first time since 2014. Marshall began the season 7-0 but ended on a 3-game losing streak, bowing to Rice, UAB (title game) and Buffalo in the school's third straight Gasparilla Bowl. Holliday's teams were 6-2 in bowl games, losing the last two. He leaves as the second-winningest coach in school history (Bob Pruett, 94-23).