RoadTripSports.com is devoted to keeping you apprised of all things college football. So, from time to time, we’ll update you on coaching changes in FBS for the 2013 season. Yes, some teams are already planning for next year. It’s that time of year for those teams that don’t make it to a bowl game.
Since we last updated RoadTripSports.com’s Coaching Carousel, there hasn’t been a hiring or firing as stunning as Bret Bielema’s at Arkansas.
But Florida International might have come close.
The Golden Panthers jettisoned Mario Cristobal on Dec. 5. Cristobal turned the Golden Panthers into a relevant program in the Sun Belt Conference, but they were coming off a 3-9 season. Yes, Cristobal was 20 games under .500, but does anyone expect a Sun Belt coach that took over a 0-12 team to have a winning record after six seasons? Cristobal took the Golden Panthers to their first conference title and back-to-back bowl games. Perhaps they were tired of his name being linked to every open job. But unless they hire Butch Davis – which is the rumor – it’s hard to see FIU doing better.
Cal made its decision, hiring Sonny Dykes away from Louisiana Tech. This is a friendly hire for Cal. Dykes likes to pass the ball. Cal likes coaches who like to pass the ball. Former head coach Jeff Tedford liked to recruit players who liked to pass the ball and catch the ball. Wait, isn’t Tedford’s recent inability to recruit talented players who can pass and catch the ball what got the Golden Bears in this mess? Hmmmm. Dykes deserves a shot at making a BCS job work, but this hire doesn’t really shake Cal out of its comfort zone.
Tennessee won the Butch Jones derby. The Cincinnati coach said yes to Tennessee after saying no to what seemed like every other coaching opening. The Vols can now put their coaching search out of its misery. It was getting embarrassing for the Vols, who used to be able to say that they had a desirable job. But since the program’s decline in the wake of the dismissal of Phillip Fulmer, the Vols aren’t as desirable. Jones has some work ahead of him. It would help if quarterback Tyler Bray decides to stay for his senior year. Jones’ offensive acumen may make Bray think about staying one more year.
Of course, there was a stunner over the weekend. Tommy Tuberville chose to leave Texas Tech after three seasons to take over for Jones at Cincinnati. Tuberville left a Big 12 job for a Big East job? That doesn’t compute. Sometimes tells me Tuberville was tired of being considered the guy that replaced Mike Leach, who is beloved in Lubbock. Tuberville was constantly under fire this year. Perhaps he was just tired of all of that.
Finally, South Florida hired Western Kentucky’s Willie Taggart. This could be a great hire for the Bulls. Taggart turned a horrible Western Kentucky program into a Sun Belt Conference contender, improved the recruiting base and rallied the locals in supporting the program. The Hilltoppers will miss him, but he has much more to work with in Tampa. Taggart was a rising star. It was only a matter of time before he received a promotion.
The carousel is now up to 25 jobs that have either changed hands or will change hands for 2013. We’ll keep you updated on the insanity.
2012-13 FBS Head Coaching Changes
Arkansas: Out: John L. Smith; In: Bret Bielema
Arkansas State: Out: Gus Malzahn
Auburn: Out: Gene Chizik; In: Gus Malzahn
Boston College: Out: Frank Spaziani; In: Steve Addazio
California: Out: Jeff Tedford; In: Sonny Dykes
Cincinnati: Out: Butch Jones
Colorado: Out: Jon Embree
Florida International: Out: Mario Cristobal
Georgia State: Out: Bill Curry; In: Trent Miles
Idaho: Out: Robb Akey; Interim: Jason Gessner; In: Paul Petrino
Kent State: Out: Darrell Hazell
Kentucky: Out: Joker Phillips; In: Mark Stoops
Louisiana Tech: Out: Sonny Dykes
North Carolina State: Out: Tom O’Brien; In: Dave Doeren
Northern Illinois: Out: Dave Doeren; In: Rod Carey
Purdue: Out: Danny Hope; In: Darrell Hazell
South Florida: Out: Skip Holtz; In: Willie Taggart
Southern Miss: Out: Ellis Johnson
Temple: Out: Steve Addazio
Tennessee: Out: Derek Dooley; In: Butch Jones
Texas-El Paso: Out: Mike Price
Texas Tech: Out: Tommy Tuberville
Western Kentucky: Out: Willie Taggart; Interim: Lance Guidry
Western Michigan: Out: Bill Cubit
Wisconsin: Out: Bret Bielema