By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
Turnover in the college football coaching ranks isn’t just the norm, it’s expected. The “coaching carousel” is a regular part of any college football fan’s off-season reading. Being the head coach of a football program comes with high expectations and standards imparted by the fan base and athletic department. If you don’t meet those standards (wins, division titles, in some cases national titles) then you’ll find yourself packing your bags. Most times, the pink slip comes at the end of the season, but in some cases, in season performances are deemed poor enough to warrant a mid-season change.
That scenario has played out on the national stage this year with multiple high-profile programs making changes. The most recent of which came on Sunday when “The U”, Miami, let go head coach Al Golden following a 58-0 blowout against ACC rival Clemson. In case you’ve missed the news, let’s do a quick round-up of coaches who have been let go/resigned from their positions eight weeks into the season.
Miami– Al Golden (fired following 58-0 loss to Clemson and 4-3 record)
South Carolina– Steve Spurrier (resigned following 1-4 start)
USC– Steve Sarkisian (fired following multiple alcohol related incidents and 3-2 start)
Maryland– Randy Edsall (fired following 2-4 start)
North Texas– Dan McCarney (fired following 66-7 loss to FCS Portland State and 0-5 record)
UCF– George O’Leary (resigned/retired following 0-8 start)
There are three high-profile names on that list and another Power 5 school as well making a change (not including Illinois in that group because Tim Beckman was removed prior to the start of the season). You’d be forgiven if you were to assume that this number of coaches let go mid-season are abnormally high. However, a look back at the 2014 season suggests otherwise. Last year there were four head coaches who were relieved of their duties during the season.
2014 Coaching Changes (In season)
Florida- Will Muschamp (fired with two games left in season)
Kansas- Charlie Weis (fired following 2-2 start and 6-22 record over two and a half seasons)
Buffalo- Jeff Quinn (fired after 3-4 start)
SMU- June Jones (resigned following 0-2 start)
The main difference this year isn’t the number of coaches that have been let go so much as the names of the programs making the changes. Miami and USC have storied programs. South Carolina was made great again by Spurrier and is a solid job in the highest profile conference (SEC). Maryland is a Power 5 school (Big Ten) with some inherent advantages, namely counting Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank among its alumni.
Each of these schools will be looking for that next hot young coaching hire that can restore them to greatness. If history is any indication, the six schools that have already made changes won’t be the only ones to do so before next year’s campaign. According to FootballScoop.com, there were 15 coaching positions that changed hands following the 2014 season (including those four programs that removed their coach in season). In the years prior? 20 (2013), 31 (2012), 28 (2011), 24 (2010), 23 (2009), 22 (2008).
While it may seem like an unusually high number of coaches have been let go through eight weeks of the season, in reality we’re about on pace with the number of changes that were made last year.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.