Harrison Leipold – NCAA Football Coaching Changes


Every January several college football coaches start to feel a little uncomfortable.  This is the time after the college football season has ended, that some are told they won’t be returning for next season.  It is the time when athletic departments must make tough decisions on deciding whether the head football coach has had enough success to remain and if not, who to hire next.  This year is no exception.  There have been coaching changes at 21 programs this year, with more to come.  Let’s take a closer look at eight of the most notable changes.


Fired: Rich Rodriguez

Hired: Brady Hoke

Grade: C

Though firing Rodriguez was certainly the right move, one would think a program with the tradition like Michigan could have hired a much bigger name or lured Les Miles away from LSU instead of settling for the inexpensive Brady Hoke from San Diego State.


Resigned: Urban Meyer

Hired: Will Muschamp

Grade: A

With Urban Meyer resigning due to health problems, it became clear that somebody would have some very big shoes to fill in Gainesville.  That being said, Florida has found the perfect fit with the fiery former defensive coordinator from Texas.  Muschamp will bring new energy to the program and many top notch recruiting classes.


Fired: Randy Shannon

Hired: Al Golden

Grade: A

It was only a matter of time before Al Golden landed a head coaching gig at a high profile program.  After playing under Joe Paterno at Penn State, Golden took what he learned from the legendary coach to turn Temple around from a 0-12 season to a 10-2 season in just a few short years.  An accomplishment like that is a sign of a coaching superstar in the making, and will certainly be an upgrade over the disgruntled Randy Shannon.


Fired: Ralph Friedgen

Hired: Randy Edsall

Grade: B

While Randy Edsall is certainly a good hire after building up Uconn’s football program into the Big East contender it is today, it is still hard to believe why Ralph Friedgen was fired.  “The Fridge” was by far and away the most successful coach in Maryland football history as he led them through their most prosperous decade from 2001-2010.  Why you would fire the 2010 ACC conference coach of the year is beyond me.


Fired: Tim Brewster

Hired: Jerry Kill

Grade: B

It was clearly time for a change as Tim Brewster failed to ever really get Minnesota back on track under his four season tenure.  Jerry Kill is certainly a solid candidate after turning Northern Illinois into MAC conference champions and should bring new energy into the program.


Fired: Dan Hawkins

Hired: Jon Embree

Grade: C

It was about time Dan Hawkins was fired as head coach after a miserable five year tenure in which he failed to deliver a single winning season.  He compiled a pathetic 19-39 record over that time period for a once proud program.  While Jon Embree seems to be a fitting replacement because of the fact that he played for Colorado in the 1980s, he has never been a head coach before so he lacks any experience.


Resigned: Dave Wannstedt

Fired: Mike Haywood

Hired: Todd Graham

Grade: F

The whole Pitt coaching situation has been a circus.  First, they forced out Wannstedt and hired former Miami of Ohio coach Mike Haywood.  Despite the fact that Haywood was only 10-15 in two seasons as a MAC conference coach, he was hired by Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson who called him a “man of good character.”  That backfired on New Year’s Eve when Haywood was arrested on felony domestic violence charges and subsequently fired.  That left Pitt to start over and this time it looked like they would surely hire long time Penn State assistant Tom Bradley.  If it were up to Pitt fans Bradley would have been hired immediately, but for some reason Pederson once again tried to do things his way and choose relatively unknown Todd Graham from Tulsa as their next head coach.


Fired: Bill Lynch

Hired: Kevin Wilson

Grade: D

Though he has never been a head coach before, former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson is not a bad candidate to serve as Indiana’s next head coach.  The problem here is that Bill Lynch deserved another year.  Though his overall record of 19-30 at Indiana was not impressive, he has lead the team to improvement over the last three seasons going from three to four to five wins last year.  He should have been allowed to return next year to see if he could have gotten them to six wins and a bowl berth.