2010 College Football Coach Firings & Hirings

There have been some college football coach firings earlier this year (Tim Brewster - Minnesota), recently (Randy Shannon - Miami, Bill Lynch - Indiana), and possibly soon to be (Rich Rodriguez - Michigan, others). All of these positions need to be filled, and instead of having several small threads, I thought we could have just one big thread to discuss the rumors and our opinions, especially since some of them could be related (Jim Harbaugh leaves Stanford to coach Michigan).

Now on to what I want to talk about:

Michigan is in a dangerous spot. Rich Rodriguez’ support was split from almost Day 1 of his tenure and his supporters having been leaving to go the other side steadily since then. I’ve been pro-Rich but now I’m on the fence.

Pros - has a good offence with young star players, has been an innovator of spread/option system and can run an offense, is a good recruiter, the entire team is young and should improve with time

Cons - defense has gotten worse with each passing year, 3-3-5 defense does not work as the primary style against power running teams (Wisconsin, Michigan State), has a lot of baggage from both West Virginia and the NCAA sanctions, graduation rate of players in lower than it was with Carr, is blown out by rivals (Ohio State games have not even been close)

The problem that I see is that for the short term Rodriguez is still the best option. Anyone with a pro or smash mouth style of offense will need time to recruit different type of players. Additionally, the defense should be better next year. Even a mid-level defense (60th-70th nationally) would probably earn 9 to 10 wins with no change to the offense from this year.

Verdict - If Michigan can be guaranteed an excellent, A-level coach, then they should fire Rich Rod. If they don’ have such assurances, they should stay put and give him another year.

While he resigned instead of being fired:

Bobby Johnson - Vanderbilt

He resigned after their game against Wake Forest last weekend

Here in the Bay Area, the conventional wisdom is that (a) 49ers HC Mike Singletary is gonna get the boot as soon as the season ends ignominiously and (b) the job will be offered to Harbaugh. So Captain Comeback just needs to decide whether he’d rather stay in college vs NFL, and whether he’d rather stay in the Bay Area vs Michigan.

The rumors that were flying around the Miami corner of the internet were that Jon Gruden was in negotiation with the school. Last night, ESPN issued a (hopefully non-denial) denial, which said he’s committed to ESPN. Butch Davis was committed to Miami until he committed to the Cleveland Browns a week later, and Nick Saban was committed to the Dolphins until he committed to Bama a short time later. I’m hoping for a similar deal with Gruden.

If it doesn’t work out to get Gruden, the top of my wishlist has Chris Petersen. His teams play smart football; he’s an offense-minded coach (something we really need); he isn’t strictly spread, nor option, nor this nor that; his defenses always play well; he probably sees the writing on the wall that a MNC just isn’t going to happen at Boise (it was going to take a huge effort even if unbeaten, let alone with 1 loss), but a successful Miami will always be in the running; and he’s affordable compared to his salary at BSU. No other big schools appear to be in the running to get him, so I think this is the best chance for Miami to go for broke.

Regarding Rodriguez, I think he should get one more year, but that’s also an outsider’s perspective. I’m sure there are many who follow the team that could give me a boatload of reasons for him to pack his bags. My reasons for support are that his 2nd and 3rd years have shown improvement, the team’s young, etc. They’ll have OSU at home next year, and if Pryor goes pro, then Michigan has a good chance to make some noise in the Big 10. Also, while Harbough would be a great coach to sign, can they get him before the NFL? Does he want to go to Michigan? Who else could they get? Les Miles? They’d love to have his luck for the OSU games, I’m sure. But he’s always walking that edge of clinching defeat from the jaws of victory.

A guy on the Miami message board always quotes Kissinger (?), “that which needs to be done eventually needs to be done immediately.” This was his reasoning behind wanting Randy Shannon gone. But you also need to have a plan in place for the 2nd half of the equation (who’s the replacement?). Would Michigan have part 2 in place?

Rich Rod should have learned from Charlie Weis. That is, if you’re an offensive minded head coach, you better hire a very good defensive coordinator. I thought Greg Robinson would improve UM’s defense, but they are still very, very bad. I think Rich Rod will get another year and I think he better do something about that defense or it will be his last.

Dan Hawkins got fired at Colorado, too, right? I liked Hawkins, but man he took a bad program and probably made it worse. That job is not very attractive right now.

The problem is, Rich Rod likes to run that 3-3-5 defense, and Greg Robinson, I assume, given his druthers, would probably not.

Seems to me that Harbaugh has been chomping at the bit to get the Michigan job. He can stay in Stanford as long as he likes, as far as I’m concerned. The Irish are in a better position with Rich Rod in Ann Arbor and Harbaugh on the west coast.

Rich Rod has 3 years left on his contract. Assuming no firings for cause (because of NCAA violations), his buyout decreases from $4 million this year to $2.5 million next year.

I think if Harbaugh indicates interest in the job, Rich Rod will be gone. Michigan played hard and didn’t quit against the Buckeyes, and they still lost by 30 (and it could have easily been by 38 or more). Denard Robinson seems like the only stud recruit he’s landed. Their receivers and kickers were lousy against OSU. Their defense, though young, was completely overmatched. His offense pretty much has to blow opponents off the field to be successful, but the defenses in the Big Ten have adjusted to the spread.

Colorado isn’t in that bad of a spot. They are moving to the PAC-12, which will double their revenues almost immediately from what they were getting in the Big XII, which were a split of the leftovers after Texas took their share. They also got placed in the PAC-12 South, which means they will have at least one game in Southern California each year, which is their #1 out of state recruiting location. The team may not be great, but the job of head coach is more desirable than it has been in years.

This is the way it stacks up right now:

Pie-in-the-sky if all the stars align fantasy choice - Les Miles. Despite his sucess, the fans and boosters at LSU haven’t ever taken a liking to Miles. He’s said to several people that he doesn’t like the SEC brand of football with the shady recruiting and the relentless pressure from the boosters. He’s also said on the record that the favorite place he’s ever coached was in Boulder and he loves the town. On the other hand, he makes a ton of money, about 75% more than what CU wants to spend. It isn’t going to happen, although he has been contacted.

Bill McCartney. He won a national title for CU 20 years ago and coached them through their glory days. He wants the job. He’s also in his 70’s and has been out of football for 16 years. The recruits of today weren’t born when he won the national title. It was a big story early but the interest has waned.

Troy Calhoun, Air Force. Candidate #1 right now. He’s pretty much the #1 up-and-comer of current head coaches. Of the people in the know, he is on top of the list of realistic candidates.

Brian Cabral. The interim head coach. Won two of his three games. He played for CU and won the Super Bowl with the 85 Bears. He is ready to be a head coach, but will probably have to start at a lower level.

Eric Bienemy. Another former Buff and an assistant with the Vikings. Only a matter of time before he gets his shot, but has no experience as either a Head Coach or a Coordinator.

Jon Embree. Another former Buff and a coach with the Redskins. Pretty much exactly the same situation as Bienemy.

No he didn’t. He stepped down this past offseason. His replacement, Robbie Caldwell, just resigned after the Wake game.

Thanks for the correction - I had heard about the coach resigning but to be honest didn’t know his name. Obviously, the google link I referenced for the name was referring to the previous coach.

So why does The Donald care who Miami hires? Does he have any connection to The U, or Mike Leach?


I think Dennis Erickson might be gone after this year, especially if ASU loses to UA this week. ASU isn’t bowl eligible this year.

I know there is a thread specifically about Urban Meyer’s resignation here.

However, a coveted coaching spot has opened up and will have ripple effects throughout the sport. I’m selfishly wondering what all the gossip will do to Dan Mullen and Mississippi State in their bowl game against Michigan.

Open positions:
Ball State
Kent State
Miami (FL)
Northern Illinois

Arkansas State - Hugh Freeze
Colorado - Jon Embree
Minnesota - Jerry Kill
North Texas - Dan McCarney

They became friends on a random trip Leach made - asked to visit and got in.

I think they like that the other shoots straight.

Obviously, I have no inside information about any coaches’ plans or desires.

I will only say, as a Notre Dame fan , that Michigan should learn from our school’s big mistake. They should not fire Rich Rodriguez unless they’re absolutely CERTAIN that Jim Harbaugh wants the job, on terms they’re willing to accept.

I say this because Notre Dame was SURE, not so long ago, that Urban Meyer was just dying to coach for them. They fired Tyrone Willingham precisely because they assumed the hiring of Meyer was a done deal, a mere formality.

Of course, it turned out that Meyer had other options that he liked better, and went to Florida. That left the Irish scrambling to find a coach, and ended up with Charlie Weis.

Jim Harbaugh would be a fantastic hire, and if the Wolverines KNOW for a fact that they can get him, they should bring him on board, pronto. But it may well be that Harbaugh will have other options (he was a successful pro QB and may very well have some interesting offers from the NFL). Are you SURE he’d rather come to Ann Arbor than coach, say, the 49ers? I’m not saying that Michigan shouldn’t pursue Harbaugh; they definitely should! But they shouldn’t make any dangerous assumptions. Don’t fire Rodriguez until you KNOW Harbaugh (or Les Miles or whoever) is on board. You don’t want to find out that your dream candidate is bound for someplace else, and then have to star ta desperate search for SOMEBODY to take the job.

IMO, that was not the ONLY reason. The Weis supporters were quick to point out that Willingham left Weis with a bunch of 2 and 3 star recruits, not the usual assortment of 5 star players.

Personally, I don’t know if that is true or not, but many of the Weis faithful were so passionate about their dislike of Willingham that it had to have some semblance of truth.

And everyone know how Willingham did when he moved on to his job at Univ of Washington.

Rich Rod is a disaster. Two of the 3 phases of football are a mess. Defense and special teams are terrible. Michigan can barely kick extra points . They give up big plays of kickoffs and punts. The defense can not even slow down a good offense.
He has not even been a good ambassador for the school. He got them in NCAA trouble . Michigan does not like that. He offended a bunch of boosters at a banquet last week too. He may be looking for a buyout and going back to a new school.

Yeah, this is revisionist bullshit. Notre Dame hasn’t pulled 5-star recruits in 15 years. Long before Willingham came on the scene. How many did Charlie pull?

These were Charlie Weis supporters. But looking back over the rankings, the recruiting class (as ranked by Rivals) did get better after Weis took over.

ND overall ranking/5 star players/4 Stars

Willingham Hired December 2001

2002 24/0/12
2003 12/2/6
2004 32/0/3

Willingham Fired/Weis Hired

2005 40/0/2
2006 8/2/10
2007 8/1/12
2008 2/3/16
2009 21/1/9

Weis Fired/Kelly Hired

2010 14/0/10