Sunday, December 14, 2008

Coaching changes

Let's take a look at the coaching changes so far this offseason, as well as those positions that are still open.

A majority of the openings have already been filled, which isn't surprising -- because the end of the season (particularly if you're in a bowl game) stretches so close to to National Signing Day at the beginning of February, administrators understand the importance of not having an extended period in coaching limbo in which commits might be tempted to go elsewhere.


Old: Stan Brock was fired after compiling a 6-18 record over two seasons (3-9 each year).

New: TBD. The administration has pledged a national search, but expect Brock's replacement to have some experience at either Army or one of the other military academies. One name that has been brought up is former Black Knights coach Bob Sutton, who is now defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. New York Giants receivers coach Mike Sullivan and University of Kansas offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, both of whom are former Army assistants, have also been mentioned as candidates.


Old: Tommy Tuberville parted ways with the school after 10 seasons and a record of 85-40 (5-7 this year). There has been some debate as to whether he actually resigned or was fired, which was only compounded by the school's announcement that it will pay Tuberville the $5.1 million buyout it would have owed him if he had been fired.

New: Iowa State head coach and former Auburn and Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik accepted the position Saturday. Chizik had little success at Iowa State, going 5-19 in two seasons, but it's hard expect much of a turnaround in Ames in that short of a period. Chizik certainly established himself as an excellent defensive strategist in his time as an assistant, serving as D-coordinator with the Tigers for their undefeated season in '04, then going to Texas and helping the Longhorns finish undefeated in their national championship season in '05. There won't be much patience at Auburn though, and as was the case with Tuberville, finding an effective offensive coordinator will be key for Chizik. Iowa State has yet to name a replacement, but Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell will likely be on the short list, as he was considered for the position before it was given to Chizik in 2007.


Old: Gregg Brandon was fired after six years with a 44-30 record (6-6 this season). Brandon had only one losing season (2006) after taking over from Urban Meyer when he left for Utah.

New: Dave Clawson, offensive coordinator at Tennessee, was hired shortly after Brandon's firing. While the Volunteers' offense struggled this season, Clawson came to Tennessee before the season with an impressive lower-level track record -- he turned both Fordham and Richmond into national powers in I-AA and was twice named national coach of the year (once at each school). Based on his past success as a head coach, it seems likely that he'll be able to continue the Falcons' run as one of the top teams in the MAC.


Old: Tommy Bowden resigned six games into the season with a 3-3 record. The Tigers had been ranked No. 9 in the AP preseason poll, but only a 4-2 finish and a win in the finale against South Carolina under interim coach Dabo Swinney allowed them to salvage a bowl bid . Bowden finished 72-45 in 10 years at Clemson, but never won an ACC title.

New: Swinney took over on an interim basis after Bowden stepped down, and the Tigers' rally was enough to get him the full-time gig. Swinney had served as the team's assistant head coach for the previous two years and was wide receivers coach for the previous five years. He had also worked as a wide receivers/tight ends coach at Alabama prior to his time at Clemson. He has no previous head coaching experience.


Old: Jeff Genyk was fired after posting a 15-42 record over five years (3-9 in 2008).

New: TBD. EMU's athletic director is consulting with former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr on the search, and it's believed that several of Carr's ex-assistants are in the running. Iowa wide receivers coach Erik Campbell (a former UM recievers coach), New Orleans Saints tight ends coach Terry Malone (a former UM offensive coordinator), Louisville defensive coordinator Ron English (a former UM defensive coordinator) and Detroit Lions QB coach Scot Loefler (a former UM QB coach) are just of the names that have come up so far. A former Michigan player, Corwin Brown (now the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame), is also considered a leading candidate.


Old: Ron Prince was dismissed after three years with a 17-20 record (5-7 this year).

New (sort of): Bill Snyder, who retired and was replaced by Prince prior to the 2006 season, was hired to return as head coach at the school he brought to national prominence. Snyder coached the Wildcats for 17 years, turning what had been an abysmal program into a national title contender. He finished with a career record of 136-68-1, but there are legitimate questions as to whether someone who will turn 70 midway through the season will be able to provide the energy needed to make the Wildcats relevant again.


Old: Shane Montgomery resigned after four seasons with a record of 17-31 (2-10 this year).

New: TBD. Few notable names have come out publicly, but Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell (a Miami alum), Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and former Notre Dame defensive coordinate and Cincinnati head coach Rick Minter have been mentioned as possible candidates. Also likely to be considered is Illinois co-defensive coordinator Curt Mallory, whose father, Bill, was Miami's head coach from 1969-73.


Old: Sylvester Croom stepped down after three seasons -- including several national coach of the year awards in 2007 -- with a record of 21-38 (4-8 in 2008).

New: Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, who has been at Urban Meyer's side since their time as assistants at Notre Dame, was hired recently and has started to build a stuff, although it is unclear whether he will call plays for the Gators in the BCS championship game. Like Meyer, Mullen is considered one of the foremost experts on the spread offense. His familiarity with the SEC and connections with high school coaches in the Southeast should allow him to make a smooth transition in recruiting, but Starkville is a tough place to win.


Old: Rocky Long stepped down after 11 seasons, compiling a 65-69 record and taking the Lobos to five bowl games.

New: New Mexico settled quickly on Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who had served under Ron Zook as running backs coach at Florida before joining Zook in Champaign for the last four seasons. Locksley certainly revitalized the Illini offense -- with the help of Juice Williams, Rashard Mendenhall and Arreliouis Benn -- but is probably best-known for his recruiting prowess. He has been recognized by Rivals, Sports Illustrated and others on numerous occasions as one of the more persuasive recruiters in the country.


Old: Hal Mumme was fired after four years with an 11-38 record (3-9 this season) and one ugly ACLU investigation.

New: TBD. Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson appears to be the leading candidate, while San Jose State assistant coach Kent Baer and Nebraska defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders have also been mentioned. Defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn, who was the only assistant not fired at the time of Mumme's exit, is also likely to receive consideration.


Old: Chuck Long was fired after three years with a 9-27 record, including a 2-10 mark in 2008, the school's first 10-loss season.

New: Ball State head coach Brady Hoke, who led the Cardinals to unprecedented success this season, agreed Sunday to take over the Aztecs. Hoke had worked as a defensive assistant at Michigan prior to becoming coach at Ball State, where he compiled a 34-38 mark in six seasons. Hoke had never served as a college coordinator or head coach before going to Muncie, but this year's 12-1 season propelled him onto the national scene. Cardinals offensive coordinator Stan Parrish has been named Hoke's replacement.


Old: Greg Robinson was fired after four years with a 10-37 record (3-9 in 2008).

New: After missing out on Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly and East Carolina head coach Skip Holtz, the Orange settled on New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator and Syracuse alum Doug Marrone. Marrone has been at the helm of a Saints offense that has been one of the NFL's best for the past three years, but he has never been a head coach. Prior to his time with the Saints, he served as an offensive line or tight ends coach with several colleges and the New York Jets. As noted in my previous post, Syracuse won't be easy to turn around, especially for someone with no experience as a college head coach.


Old: Phil Fulmer was asked to step down after 17 seasons with a 152-52 record and one national title. The Vols finished with a losing record in two of Fulmer's final four seasons, including 2008.

New: Former Oakland Raiders head coach and USC assistant Lane Kiffin, 33, was hired shortly after Fulmer's dismissal. Kiffin served as recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator with the Trojans, sharing play-calling duties with quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian. Similar to Gene Chizik's stint at Iowa State, it's hard to count Kiffin's 5-15 record over a 1 1/2 seasons with Oakland against him. That said, his college experience is limited exclusively to the six years he spent at USC (two as O-coordinator). His recruiting prowess will quickly be put to the test --Tennessee is desperately in need of an influx of offensive talent, and Kiffin will be competing head-to-head against coaches such as Nick Saban and Urban Meyer for the players he needs.


Old: Tom Amstutz resigned after eight years with a 58-41 record (3-9 in 2008). He led the Rockets to two MAC titles, but finished with a losing record in each of the last three seasons.

New: Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman accepted the Toledo job, which will be his first as a head coach. Beckman was the Cowboys' coordinator for only one year, but has an extensive defensive background. Prior to his time Oklahoma State, he was cornerbacks coach for Ohio State and defensive coordinator for Bowling Green, so he certainly knows his way around northwest Ohio.


Old: Brent Guy was fired after four seasons with a 9-38 record (3-9 in 2008).

New: Gary Andersen, defensive coordinator at Utah, will take over the Utes' instate rivals following the Sugar Bowl against Alabama. Guy, a finalist this year for the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach, spent 10 years as a Utah assistant wrapped around a year as the head coach at Southern Utah. He also was a high school coach in Utah before joining the Utes' staff and is considered an outstanding recruiter. He won't have an easy task, though, going up against his former school and BYU for the few quality recruits available in the region.


Old: Tyrone Willingham was fired after four seasons with an 11-37 record, including an 0-12 mark in 2008 (Washington finished as the only winless team in the FBS).

New: After Seattle Seahawks coach-in-waiting Jim Mora Jr., Fresno State's Pat Hill and Cincinnati's Brian Kelly took themselves out of the running, Washington picked USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Sarkisian has an extremely limited track record, serving as quarterbacks coach of El Camino (Calif.) Junior College for a year before holding the same position with USC for four years sandwiched around one year as QB coach of the Oakland Raiders. He took over as the Trojans' O-coordinator when Lane Kiffin left for Oakland, but has no head coaching experience. He faces a tough rebuilding job with the Huskies, who have suffered four straight losing seasons and have little talent other than QB Jake Locker.


Old: Joe Glenn was fired after six seasons with a 30-41 record (4-8 this season).

New: It was announced last week that Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen had accepted the position and will take over following the Alamo Bowl. Christensen was the architect of Gary Pinkel's explosive offenses at Toledo and then Missouri, serving as offensive coordinator since 1997. He was a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award in 2007, and while he has no head coaching experience, he is highly thought of as an offensive mind and should be able to find some success in the Mountain West.


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