Five College Coaches on the Hot Seat for 2009
1. Charlie Weis (Notre Dame)
No fan base is larger or more devoted than that of the Fighting Irish, the team ESPN's Tony Kornheiser refers to as "The University of College Football in America". Not only are the Irish fans the biggest and most devoted, but they don't suffer embarrassment well.
On the surface, Weis' record doesn't look that bad, two BCS bowl games, and only one losing record. However, a trip just below the surface shows something more distressing in the hearts of Irish fans.
Over the past two seasons, the Irish are 9-15, the lost to Navy for the first time since Roger Staubach was calling plays in Annapolis, and worst of all, they lost to a horrendous Syracuse team with a lame duck coach in South Bend.
Weis has exactly one season to turn things around in the shadows of Touchdown Jesus (no less than 10-plus victories and a BCS bowl WIN) or he will find himself on the unemployment line.
2. Steve Kragthorpe (Louisville)
Never has a coach promised so much and delivered so little (with the exception of an endless barrage of excuses) than Steve Kragthorpe. Hired to continue a solid level of success built by Howard Schnellenberger, John L. Smith, and Bobby Petrino, Kragthorpe has managed to take the work of these men and destroy it in less than 24 months.
Under Kragthorpe Louisville went from a top-10 team returning 18 starters, to a 6-6 record in 2007 and 5-7 mark in 2008. Also, remember Weiss' embarrassing loss to Big East laughing stock Syracuse? Krathorpe has two losses to the 'Cuse during his tenure.
To add insult to injury, the Louisville athletic administration has offered every excuse possible for Kragthorpe's failures blaming everybody from the players to Bobby Petrino. The administration has even went as far as to blame fans for Kragthorpe's failures, simply because they will not accept subpar football.
3. George O'Leary (Central Florida)
The stakes are high at UCF as they completed construction of a new football stadium and have lofty goals of consideration for a possible Big East expansion in the future. Needing momentum to move the program forward, they find themselves in neutral under George O'Leary.
O'Leary might very well be the definition of the word "embattled" after his resume-gate scandal at Notre Dame and three-year exile from the head coaching ranks. O'Leary reached the heights of his profession only to find himself seven years later fighting for his job at a Conference USA school.
One might argue that of the five coaches on this list O'Leary has the best chance to turn things around. He plays in a weak conference, he's had success at UCF even as late as 2007, and he's proven to be a pretty decent coach. Despite all of these factors, the future is now if O'Leary wants to find himself employed 365 days from now.
4. Dan Hawkins (Colorado)
How could this not work? Take the hottest coach in America, put him at a school not far removed from success at the highest levels, and give him every resource in the world he needs to be successful.
Don't ask me how it didn't work, the only fact on the table is that it simply hasn't. What started out as a promising season in Boulder with a win over West Virginia turned into a house of horrors for Hawkins who now finds himself 13-24 over his three years leading the Buffaloes.
Maybe it was the fact that the Big XII isn't the WAC, maybe he wouldn't take the same "shortcuts" that McCarthy and Neuheisel took, or that he insisted on starting his son at quarterback. Regardless, Hawkins had better start winning and winning quick or fans at Fulsom Field will make life very tough on Coach Hawkins.
5. Al Groh (Virginia)
Somebody once said of former N.C State coach Chuck Amato that, "Nobody did less with more than Coach Amato."
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Chuch Amato 2.0, and his name is Al Groh.
Nobody doubts that Groh can recruit, he's proven that time and time again as his classes are regularly ranked in the top-25 by both Scout and Rivals. However, it's what he's done (or hasn't done) with that talent once they reach Charlottesville that has him on the hot seat.
While Groh's record hasn't been as bad as others on this list (56-44 in eight seasons), there is a feeling in the ACC that the conference is so (well) average; that the title is there for the taking every season. Tommy Bowden's failure to capitalize given his strong recruiting cost him a job this season, and if Groh can't get his wealth of talent to start producing, he may join Coach Bowden in 2009.
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