College Football Coaches Hot Seat: Predicting the Next 10 To Be Fired
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College football has changed a great deal over the past two decades. There used to be patience and loyalty within college football programs. However, this is a new era of football, and the money and pressure are too great for athletic directors to wait too long to make a switch.
Coach's like Mark Richt entered the season on the hot seat despite all of their success. However, there have been a few who have since worked their way off the list.
Ron Zook and Dabo Swinney are now off of the hot-seat list. Moreover, with a win in Georgia's next game against Florida, Mark Richt will officially be off the hot seat as well.
However, the following 10 coaches are not so lucky, and their tenure will soon be over at their respective schools.
Very Warm: Coach Larry Porter (Memphis Tigers)
Porter can remember his fonder days at LSU
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The life of a college football coach can be downright cruel. Coaches are put on hot seats way too early and demands can be way too high. The fact that Larry Porter is on the hot seat and near termination is not fair, but it is a reality.
Coach Porter is only halfway through his second season. However, if things do not change quickly, it might be his last. Porter is a Memphis graduate who took over the head coaching duties at his Alma Mater last season. Prior to that, Porter had served as a running-back coach at LSU from 2005-2009.
For Porter, it was his dream job, but it is quickly becoming a nightmare. After a disastrous inaugural season (1-11), the 2011 season is not looking any brighter for the Tigers. They are currently 1-5 and have not been competitive in most of their games.
The Tigers are currently 116th in scoring offense and 116th in scoring defense as well. Moreover, they are struggling in attendance and overall fan interest. Even when they hosted a ranked-SEC team, there were still a large number of empty seats.
Do not be surprised if Porter is fired at the end of this season or the middle of next season.
Very Warm: Gill Turner (Kansas Jayhawks)
Good coach but bad situation
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The hiring of Turner Gill as the head coach of the University of Kansas was an exciting hire for many fans. Gill’s record was not overly impressive in regards to wins and losses. With that said, when you consider that this record was at the University of Buffalo, it becomes more impressive. Gill was a Big 12 guy and recruiting was sure to pick up.
He was the complete opposite of previous head coach Mark Mangino. Mangino was obnoxious and hard to deal with for the media. I remember listening to the Mark Mangino Coach's Show on the radio one time and being amazed.
He berated and embarrassed a fan who phoned in. His personality was overlooked at the time because he was winning. He took Kansas to levels that the Jayhawk nation had never experienced in football. However, his demeanor finally caught up with him, and he was fired.
All of the expectations for Gill were quickly quenched when he lost his coaching debut 6-3 to North Dakota State. While one game cannot define a coach, there have been few positives in his first season and a half.
Kansas finished the 2011 campaign 3-9 and has looked even worse so far this season. The Jayhawks are 2-4 and have given up 42 or more points in each game but one. The remaining 2011 schedule for Kansas is brutal. The Jayhawks will be fortunate to win one more game this season and back to back 3-9 seasons will be tough for fans to swallow.
While football expectations are not very high at Kansas, the way they’re losing are below even their standards.
Very Warm: Joker Phillips (Kentucky Wildcats)
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It has been a long time since Kentucky was considered a good football program. However, under former Wildcat head coach Rich Brooks, they were making progression toward that goal. Brook led Kentucky to four straight winning seasons.
When Brooks retired, offensive coordinator Joker Phillips was promoted to head coach. Last season was full of ups and downs as their consecutive winning seasons streak was halted with a 6-7 season. While this season was expected to be a mediocre season, it is going bad by all fans standards.
The Wildcats are 2-4 and did not even look good in their two wins. With their remaining schedule, four wins would be a stretch. Did the Wildcats make a mistake hiring Phillips? Perhaps, the greater question is, are they willing to let the program sink all the way back to the bottom of the SEC before they make a change?
It is too early to know if Phillips is going to be a good coach. However, it is too risky to wait too long to find out. It took years for Brooks to build this program up to being competitive. It might only take one more season to destroy all of that progress.
I see no reason to believe he will make it through the 2012 season. It is time to call Mike Leach back home.
Find the Classifieds: Frank Spaziani (Boston College)
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Boston College was on the verge of becoming a national contender. Former head coach Jeff Jagodzinski had led the Golden Eagles to 20 wins in his first two seasons, and they also won two divisional championships.
Then, out of nowhere, Jagodzinski was fired for interviewing for the New York Jets opening. Boston College would hire Frank Spaziani to become their new head coach. While his first two seasons were not atrocious the program is on a clear decline.
After going 15-11 in his first two seasons, the Golden Eagles are now 1-5 in his third. It is possible and perhaps probable that Boston College will finish the season without one win over a FBS team. This is unacceptable for a team that has had 12 straight winning seasons. In other words, Spaziani will not be back to attempt the start of a new winning streak.
Find the Classifieds: Dan Enos (Central Michigan Chippewas)
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Dan Enos took over a team that had four straight winning seasons and a top-25 ranking the season before his arrival. Since his arrival, the Chippewas have been anything but a top-25 team. In his first season, Central Michigan limped through the season to a record of 3-9.
That was a decline of nine games from the previous season for the Chippewas.
This season is much of the same for Central Michigan. They are currently 2-5 with only one win over an FBS team. A change would give the Chippawas their fourth coach in eight years. The others left for greener pastors, but Enos might be leaving by force.
Chances are he makes it to 2012 season, but there are no guarantees he will finish it.
Find the Classifieds: Rick Neuheisel (UCLA Bruins)
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I must admit, I am somewhat baffled as to why UCLA has not been better under current head coach Rick Neuheisel. They have assembled a strong coaching staff and are in a great recruiting market. Moreover, USC is facing sanctions that should have allowed UCLA to catch up with their cross-town rivals.
Unfortunately for Bruins fans, this has not been the case. Neuheisel’s overall record at UCLA is 18-25, and this is far below the programs initial expectations.
If Neuheisel suffers their third losing season in just his fourth year, the Bruins patience might be gone, and to be honest, who could blame them. I still believe that Neuheisel is a good coach, but there are no excuses in year four. You have had time to bring in your players, and the talent surrounding Los Angeles is better than what his record has shown.
Neuheisel has one season left on his contract. However, do not be surprised if one of his coordinators is promoted before or during next season.
Dead Man Walking: Dan Fickell (the Ohio State)
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Luke Fickell will be relieved of his coaching duties this season. While this might not technically be considered him being fired since he is just an interim coach, Fickell is not the man for this job at this time.
While there are several causalities in the wake of the Jim Tressell ordeal, few will be affected as much as Fickell. Even if the Buckeyes finish strong, Fickell was only a temporary hire. Unless program-shattering sanctions come down, the Ohio State will have a new coach next season.
The bad part of it is Fickell might not be asked to remain. With a new coach coming in and not wanting a struggle for power, he is likely not to offer Fickell a position.
For Fickell, this will be more difficult because there is no other place he would rather be. He was happy as an assistant, but now, he may be soon unemployed.
Swan Song: Neil Callaway (UAB)
One of the greatest mistakes an assistant coach can make is to take the first head-coaching job that was offered to them just because it is a promotion. It is possible that Neil Callaway has made this mistake.
Callaway is the lowest-paid coach in the Conference USA and has to work with the lowest recruiting budget in the conference as well. This combination is a recipe for disaster. While the expectations are always low at UAB, Callaway might have raised them going into this season.
Last season, UAB suffered a 4-8 season. However, they almost upset two SEC teams in Tennessee and Mississippi State. With 16 starters returning from that team, expectations were for a winning season. Instead of improvement, the Blazers have started out 0-6.
No one should argue that they have had a difficult schedule, but UAB is now feeling pressure to invest more money into the football team, and they are unlikely to do this with Callaway at the helm.
I, for one, think Callaway is a solid coach. Too bad he chose the wrong school for his first job.
Swan Song: Bob Toledo (Tulane)
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Bob Toledo has enjoyed some mild success as a head football coach. He spent seven seasons at UCLA and only had two losing seasons. Moreover, he had back-to-back 10-win seasons during his tenure. The problem is that none of that success has come while at Tulane.
Toledo’s best season at Tulane was a 4-8 record, and that won't buy you much rope. The Green Wave is off to another disastrous season. Tulane currently has a record of 2-5 and are unlikely to win any of their remaining five games.
While no one will ever accuse Tulane of being a national powerhouse, a 15-40 record is unacceptable. His $600,000 a year salary is not a top-tier coaching salary. However, on the same hand, there are several coaches doing more with a lot less.
You can take it to the bank; this will be Toledo’s last season with Tulane.
Swan Song: Houston Nutt (Ole Miss)
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As the 2011 season approached, all of the hot-seat talk surrounded University of Georgia coach Mark Richt. However, I stand by the same stance I had at that time. The next coach that will be fired/resign in the SEC will be Houston Nutt, not Mark Richt.
Mark Richt’s season might have started with an undesired 0-2 start, but his team has won five games in a row. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is just sinking further and further into the sea of irrelevance.
Rumors (which were denied by Arkansas) were that Nutt bolted Arkansas for Ole Miss because he was about to be fired. If that is the case, he might want to start faxing out his resume again. Nutt’s first two seasons at Ole Miss were filled with promise and future expectations. However, after an embarrassing home loss to FCS member Jacksonville State and a proceeding 4-8 season, the heat got turned up.
This season has not gone well for Coach Nutt, and there are no promising signs for the future. In fact, if his buyout was not so high, he probably would have already received his walking papers. Nutt will make $2.75 million this season, and yet, the team is a miserable 2-4 so far this season, with only one win over an FBS team.
If Ole Miss has the boldness to pay for his estimated $4 million buyout, this will be Nutt’s last season at Ole Miss.