COLUMN: College football coaching carousel is a head-scratcher

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

     As the regular college football season came to an end this weekend, predictably it set off a influx of firings, hirings, attempted hirings and in one instance, firing the guy they just hired.

     Prior to this past week, some of the Hawkeye faithful were asking for Coach Ferentz’s head after the team got drilled by Purdue. Then a beat down of Nebraska, which has become an annual event, brought back cheers and accolades to the Hawkeye staff.

     Ferentz has survived 18 seasons at the helm of the Hawks. He is the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten and in college football at the FBS level. You don’t last that long at one university if you are not only doing something right but also you work for an institution that values graduation rates, few off field problems and are in great standing in your community.

     The Hawkeyes are fairly consistent winners and, along with a few bumps in the road, are competitive.

     Looking across the state towards the Iowa State campus, Coach Matt Campbell’s name has been mentioned in the Nebraska camp. The Clones have had a nice season, thus elevating Campbell’s coaching ability.

     If someone does come knocking on his door, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cyclone coach jump ship.

     The list of dismissed coaches to date are: Tennessee’s Butch Jones, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Florida coach Jim McElwain, UCLA coach Jim Mora, Arkansas coach Brett Bielema, Arizona State coach Todd Graham, Nebraska coach Mike Riley, Oregon State coach Gary Andersen, South Alabama coach Joey Jones, Georgia Southern coach Tyson Summers and UTEP coach Sean Kugler.

     I looked up the combined records of these teams this season and it computed to 45-84. UTEP had the worst record at 0-12. ASU and Texas A&M were the best at 7-5, the exact same record as the Hawks.

     So far Florida has hired Dan Mullen away from Mississippi State and UCLA hired an unemployed Chip Kelly.

     In the strangest turn of events, Tennessee was set to hire Ohio State assistant coach Greg Schiano. That drew protests and criticism from government officials due to his connection to former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, a convicted child molester.

     Tennessee officials buckled to the criticism and rescinded their offer, which on paper means he was fired before he was officially hired. Crazy.

     Expectations amongst college football programs can range from unrealistic (see Texas A&M at 7-5) to delusional (see Arizona State who finished 6-3 in the Pac-12).

     Some of these coaches who are no longer working were only given a few years to get their programs going. Is three years enough time?

     With the terminations, the big fallout, in my opinion, is the millions of dollars each of these coaches are owed for the remainder of their contract. Nebraska, for example, owes Mike Riley $6 million. The Big Red is still paying former coach Bo Pelini, who was let go in 2014. His buyout at the time was $7.65 million.

     All Pelini did to get fired was finish 9-3 that season. Now how much “cents” does that make? Pun intended!



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