College Football 2011: Grading All the New Coaching Hires

T.J. Mcaloon@@tjmcaloonContributorJanuary 19, 2011

College Football 2011: Grading All the New Coaching Hires

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    "Here today gone today!" Those famous words were said by comedian Chris Rock during his comedy routine in describing the music industry. However, the same can be said for coaches in the NFL and in the college game. 

    You have two seasons of winning seven or more games plus a bowl victory, but your next season you go 5-7 and miss a bowl game. Well, don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split ya! 

    Or you have the coaches who get their big break at your small little Division I school. You are glad that he led your team to a MAC or WAC conference title and the school just signed him to a big extension through the 2020 season. But he sees the bright lights of the SEC and he's gone faster than the ink can dry on his new contract.

    Yes, this coaching carousel that we watch at the end of every college football year never gets old. Sometimes it's good to see a coach leave. Then sometimes you have the coach that says, "I can't wait to defeat Florida and sing Rocky Top all night long!" 

    Still bitter about that one huh, Tennessee?

    Twenty-one coaches have either been fired, resigned or arrested (thanks Pitt!). Take a click through to see the grade that they have received. 

Arkansas State: Hugh Freeze

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    This one is not going to make a lot of people go "WOW they got Hugh Freeze!" In fact to find a picture of Hugh a certain grader had to go out of the B/R photo library. 

    But, Hugh is brought from his offensive coordinator position up to the head coaching position after taking the Wolves from 95th on offense to 45th last year. 

    Also Hugh was Michael Oher's coach in high school and that turned out pretty good, right? 

    Grade: B

Ball State: Pete Lembo

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    We have the Ball State Cardinals of the MAC. Another coaching change that probably didn't hit home for most of you, unless your name was Jason Whitlock. 

    Ball State last year went 2-10 in 2009 and 4-8 in 2010 under former Stan Parrish. Lembo comes in from coaching at Elon University in North Carolina. In Lembo's five years as a head coach at Elon and Leigh University in Pennsylvania, he went 79-36.

    Grade: A

Colorado: Jon Embree

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    In Colorado's first year in a new conference (the Pac-10) they promoted Washington Redskins tight end coach Jon Embree as their head coach. Embree was on Gary Bennett's staff back in 2001-02. He also played for the Buffalos in the mid-80's as a tight end. 

    The Buffalos could go nowhere but up with this hire. However, it is strange that they hired Embree instead of keeping interim head coach Brian Cabral. Under Cabral the Buffalos went 2-1 in their final three games after losing five straight. 

    Grade: C-

Connecticut: Paul Pasqualoni

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    Fresh off of a Fiesta Bowl appearance the Big East co-champions UCONN Huskies needed to fill the void that Randy Edsall left when he bolted for Maryland. They did this by bringing in long-time Syracuse head coach Paul Pasqualoni.

    Coach Pasqualoni coached the Orange from '91-2004. He has coached some of the best college players to transition to the NFL such as: Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison and Dwight Freeney. 

    Grade: B+

Florida: Will Muschamp

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    Here was the big coaching change that had everyone paying attention. First there was Urban announcing that he was going to step down after the bowl game due to health reasons, again. Why again? Well, because Urban said the same exact thing after his Sugar Bowl win in 2009. 

    Well, the Brett Favre of college football coaching has seemed to call it quits for good, as days after Urban stepped down Florida announced the University of Texas' defensive coordinator and prince to the Texas kingdom, Will Muschamp as the new head coach.

    Muschamp brings one of the best defensive minds in college football today. However, he will be pressed to find a way to fix a Florida offense that struggled last year.

    Grade: B 

Indiana: Kelvin Wilson

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    Indiana last year started their 2010 college football year off strong sweeping their non-conference play. The Hoosier team seemed on pace to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. But, they struggled in their conference play only winning one game. 

    That game was the final one of the year and against the school's biggest rival Purdue, although the win could not save the job of head coach Bill Lynch.

    In comes former Oklahoma offensive coordinator to lead this Indiana team into the new Big Ten. He knows how to recruit and run an offense and has the highest of confidence from the IU decision makers, as Wilson was signed to a seven-year deal worth $1.2 million a year.

    Grade: A-

Kent State: Darrell Hazell

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    This is Darrell's first chance at a head coaching position. For the past seven years he spent his time as offensive coordinator for THE Ohio State University and Rutgers. He takes over for long-time head coach Doug Martin. Under Martin, Kent State went 5-7 last year. 

    Grade: C

Louisiana: Mark Hudspeth

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    If you just said, "Who the F is this guy?" well, then you wouldn't be the first. 

    Hudspeth served as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the past two years. Before that, he compiled a 66-21 record with North Alabama, a Division II school.

    Grade: C-

Maryland: Randy Edsall

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    This move came as quite the surprise to the alumni and fans of UCONN. Fresh off a Big East title and first ever BCS appearance and with a strong class returning to the program, the sky seemed the limit for Edsall and the Huskies. 

    For Maryland it seemed as if they were about to hire former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. 

    Well, neither happened as Leach is still searching for a new employer and Edsall left for Maryland. 

    Grade: B-

Miami (FL): AL Golden

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    At the end of the 2010 regular season the Hurricanes announced that they would not be bringing back head coach Randy Shannon. Rumors began to run that they would bring in a big name coach to excite the program.

    Names like John Gruden, Mike Leach, Urban Meyer were being thrown out there. Then the big day came when The U announced their new head coach. And the winner was?

    AL Golden!


    Yes, The U begins their quest to get back to the top of college football this year with former Temple head coach AL Golden. While at Temple he was able to guide the program to its first bowl game since the '90s. 

    Grade: B+

    Side note: If you want a great YouTube watch, search AL Golden training video. Sit back and enjoy the '80s and early '90s hair metal music in the background. 

Miami (OH): Don Treadwell

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    Does it seem like the MAC has just flipped all of their coaches this year? 

    Well, Treadwell takes over for former head coach Michael Haywood (we'll get into him in a bit). Last year Treadwell ran a Michigan State offense that ended their season with a share of the Big Ten title. 

    Last year the Miami OH program went from 1-11 to a MAC conference championship. They would have kept their head coach if not for him taking a position with the University of Pittsburgh (once again more on that later).

    Seems to be a good fit. 

    Grade: B

Michigan: Brady Hoke

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    Just like Miami, FL, the Michigan program fired their head coach after the 2010 season. And just like Miami the Michigan fanbase thought that they would get a big name to re-energize the program. 

    Names like Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles, both alumni of the university, were have said to be on Michigan's top list of candidates. 

    What happened? Both said thanks, but no thanks.

    Instead Michigan hired former defensive coordinator and most recently head coach at Ball State and San Diego State, Brady Hoke. 

    Not a big name, but he has had a lot of success while at his previous two head coaching stops.

    Grade: B+

Minnesota: Jerry Kill

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    If this piece was grading the names of the new head coaches, well then this would get an A+. 

    Jerry takes over a program that has upgraded everything about their program. A new stadium, new facilities and now a new coach. 

    The previous three years Kill was 23-16 at Northern Illinois University. Last year NIU finished 10-3 and a MAC West Title. However, in two bowl games, Kill is 0-2. 

    Grade: C+

Northern Illinois: Dave Doeren

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    And the team that Jerry Kill just left is next on our list, as they hired former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren. 

    Doeren guided this Wisconsin team to a share of the Big Ten conference title and a Rose Bowl berth. He is in first stint as a head coach. 

    Grade: D+

Pittsburgh: Mike Haywood

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    Welcome to the BLEEP show that is the Pittsburgh football program after their last regular season game against Cincinnati, where they clinched a three-way tie for the Big East title. 

    Try to follow me through this slide and the next slide. If you have any questions or are more confused now than you were after the movie Inception, well don't worry you are not the first. 

    Okay, so Pitt's head coach, Dave Wannstedt, resigns from his position as head coach after Pitt's last game against Cincinnati. Pitt's AD goes on a one-man coaching search that ends in the hiring of Miami OH's head coach Mike Haywood. 

    Haywood preached accountablity and being responsible for the actions on and off the field during his first press conference as Pitt's new head coach.

    Then 15 days after he is announced as head coach, Haywood is arrested for felony assault in South Bend, Indiana.

    Days after his arrest he is fired as Pitt's head coach. 

    Grade: F-

Pittsburgh: Todd Graham

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    Now we come to the current head coach of Pitt, Todd Graham. But before the hiring of Graham, Pitt had to play in its bowl game. A game where they were without a head coach, since one was fighting a FELONY criminal charge, and the other had just resigned. 

    So in stepped Wannstedt's assistant coach and defensive coordinator Phil Bennett. Oh and by the way Bennett was leaving after the season to coach else where too.

    The Panthers went onto win big in their BBVA Bowl Game against Kentucky. Good for the program, but bad since a majority of players where seen yelling, "This one is for you coach Wannstedt!"

    After the bowl game, Graham was introduced as head coach and was given the task of cleaning up this bleep storm. 

    Grade: A+ (only because he has not gotten arrested.....yet)

San Diego State: Rocky Long

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    Rocky takes over this San Diego State program after Brady Hoke left for Michigan. It should be an easy transition for a resurging Aztec program. 

    While Rocky and Brady were working together the last few years with San Diego State. Last year the team finished with a 9-4 record and a bowl game appearance. 

    He was the head coach at New Mexico from 1998-2008. 

    Grade: B-

Stanford: David Shaw

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    This coaching vacancy came as a surprise to some since Stanford's starting quarterback Andrew Luck announced that he was coming back to school to finish his degree. 

    Jim Harbaugh, despite this decision, decided it was time to try his hand coaching in the NFL, as he agreed with a deal with the NFL San Francisco's 49ers. 

    Stanford was stuck with a coaching hole with Harbaugh gone and needed to fill that spot quickly since Harbaugh helped resurrect the program. 

    In steps former Stanford player and Harbaugh assistant since 2008 David Shaw. While at Stanford under Harbaugh, Shaw has coached the receivers and running backs. 

    Grade: B-

Temple: Steve Addazio

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    Out goes former Temple coach AL Golden to Miami FL and in comes former Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio.

    Yes, the Florida offense last year struggled heavily under first-year starter John Brantley. However, Addazio was the coordinator while football Jesus Tim Tebow was there. 

    The new coach brings a lot of success from Florida, which can only be good news for a program that got its first taste of success in a long time this year.

    Grade: A

Tulsa: Bill Blankenship

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    And finally we end our carousel with Tulsa and their recent head coaching change. The only reason why it is recent is because of the Pitt coaching situation that we have already discussed. 

    Gone is Tulsa's head coach Todd Graham and now in is former Tulsa quarterback Bill Blankenship. 

    The last four years Blankenship has served on the Tulsa coaching staff in multiple roles. He has been an associate head coach, running backs coach and special teams coach. 

    Grade: C+

    Thanks for the read through as Professor McAloon is now off to his office hours. These grades are final and are NOT up to debate. But you can always drop me a line on my Twitter page @tjmcaloon.

    Thanks for the read!