Ranking the 22 New Head Coaching Hires from 2008-09 – BCS Hearings Scheduled for Friday – The BCS vs. The Declaration of Independence = Only 1 Result, NO BCS
When moving about in our great country one cannot help but think that our Republic is like a great heavyweight champion that has taken a good beating and is up against the ropes and as the champion (America) looks up between his badly cut eyes and bloodied nose he doesn’t see anyone else in the ring. Yes, America in the last few years, especially the establishment of power in Washington DC and Wall Street, have turned their gloves on the country and we have taken one hellava of a beating, with the American people taking the huge brunt of that beating. As Abraham Lincoln once said:
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
How true President Lincoln. How so very true.
Yes, often the current US economy and the foreign policy challenges now facing our country are the main topics of debate at Coaches Hot Seat, that is when we have the opportunity to get together in these tough times. We work hard each day to keep up with college football by reading all the stories that we link to here at Coaches Hot Seat, but there is so little time and so very much to be done these days. Among our debates on the issues of the day we have been arguing about the 22 coaching changes from the 2008-2009 football season and after much back and forth among CHS members here is how we rank those coaching changes:
Best to Worst 2008-2009 Coaching Changes – Ranked 1 to 22
1. Dave Christensen for Joe Glenn at Wyoming
Wyoming – Joe Glenn is a very good football coach and he was only able to put up a 30-41 (.423) in 6 years at Wyoming which tells everyone how hard of a job Dave Christensen just signed on for in Laramie. Christensen was a key part of the revival of Missouri football under Gary Pinkel, with the Tigers winning 30 games over the past 3 years and Christensen should be ready to take over a I-A football program. Christensen put in a very unique form of the spread offense at Missouri that relied less on the QB and others running the ball and more of spreading the opposing team to get players into the open field so the QB could get the ball to them while they were still on the run. Chase Daniel was the perfect QB to run Christensen’s spread and Missouri made a lot of hay in recent years with Chase Daniel hardly ever getting hit, even against the power teams in the Big 12 conference. Now Christensen will attempt to bring the spread offense to Wyoming and the Mountain West Conference which is already filled with lots of very good offensive teams that are running the spread and other octane offenses. By far the biggest challenge for Christensen will be his ability to convince talented football players to spend 4 years in Laramie, Wyoming which is not exactly a hot-bed of excitement for 18 to 22 year olds. Just putting up winning football seasons would be quite an accomplishment for Christensen at Wyoming in what is a very tough neighborhood these days, the Mountain West Conference, but one thing is certain the football will be put in the air often by the Cowboys and that alone should make for an even more entertaining MWC in the coming years.
2. Dan Mullen for Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State
Mississippi State – Whether Dan Mullen realizes it or not, he has taken over what we here at Coaches Hot Seat believe to be the toughest job in major college football. Mississippi State sits in the toughest division, the SEC West (which includes Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Arkansas and Mississippi), in the toughest conference, the SEC, and it has been our contention for some time that the toughest school to put up winning or .500 records on a regular basis is Mississippi State. In five seasons at Mississippi State, Sylvester Croom, who took over a disaster of a football program from Jackie Sherrill, put up a 21-38 overall record and a 10-30 (average of only 2 wins a year!) conference record in the SEC and that is the kind of record that gets head coaches fired. Overall, Sly Croom did a very good job of restoring honor and a sense of stability to the Mississippi State program, but he did not win enough games nor did he show the program was able to build on the successful 8-5 record and bowl win in the 2007-08 season. Now that Dan Mullen has the reigns in Starkville we have gotten the feeling via the press and our own snooping around that a lot more is being asked of the Bulldog players physically in the recent winter drills and that much more was demanded of the players during spring practice. It is hard to imagine that a guy like Sly Croom who played for Bear Bryant at Alabama (who probably ran the toughest practices in the modern college football era) would ask less of his players than what an Urban Meyer looks for from his Florida team, but that does seem to be the reality and certainly Mullen has brought a lot of what made Meyer’s teams successful at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida to Starkville. The real question that is hanging like a big frozen piece of meat is: Can Dan Mullen win at Mississippi State? When we ask if Dan Mullen can win, we mean can Dan Mullen turn Mississippi State into a team that gets to at least a .500 record each year, a team that goes to bowl games on a regular basis, a team that can at least split wins/losses with Ole Miss and Houston Nutt over the next few years, and yes even challenge at time for the SEC West title every few years…..Yes, Dan Mullen can achieve those goals at Mississippi State, but if he does he will easily have done one of the best coaching jobs in college football. More likely and much more achievable for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State is a football program that becomes competitive in the SEC and has a good chance to play in a bowl game each year. Even that would be quite an accomplishment at the toughest job in college football and now we all get to sit back, put our feet up, get out a cold beer and see what Dan Mullen can do. Yes, this should be great fun to watch….
3. Rich Ellerson for Stan Brock at Army
Army – Even though Bobby Ross was a very good head football and had a great career in college and in the pros, we never understood Army hiring Ross at the tail-end of his career and it even made less sense to us that Stan Brock was hired off of Ross’s staff The Point. Bobby Ross and Stan Brock just never fit very well at Army, and after Brock put up a 6-18 record in two seasons it only made sense that Army would move to fire Brock and to look for a coach that could bring a coaching style and offensive system that fits with what a head coach has to work with at Army. The administration at Army did just that in hiring Rich Ellerson from Cal-Poly and they not only found a coach that has a system that fits the personnel at Army Ellerson also brings the illusive “intangible” in that he knows how to field a winning football team. No doubt, the head coaches at Air Force and Navy sighed deep when they heard that Rich Ellerson had been hired at Army, because anyone paying attention in the last few years has heard about the things that Ellerson has accomplished at Cal-Poly while running a triple-option offense which was almost capped in what would have been one of the biggest upsets in recent years when Cal-Poly lost to Wisconsin in Madison by 1 point in a game last fall. Now that Ellerson is running the Army football program we expect that he will have a similar impact to what Paul Johnson had on the Navy program before Johnson moved on to Georgia Tech, and that bodes very well for the inter-service academy football games in the coming years. We believe that when people look back at the 2008-09 coaching changes, Rich Ellerson will turn out to be one of the best hires, and that says a lot for the folks at West Point who weren’t afraid to make a bold move to hire the right coach that can help them field a winning football team again.
4. Dabo Swinney for Tommy Bowden at Clemson
Clemson – In 9.5 seasons at Clemson Tommy Bowden was 72-45 without an ACC conference title and by almost any standard that would be used at a school like Clemson, Tommy Bowden should have been fired. Now, we would have probably let Bowden finish out the ’09 season, but the pressure was building so much after the opening game debacle against Alabama last fall, that Clemson really had every reason to make the mid-season move to replace Bowden with Swinney. Dabo Swinney did an admirable job in replacing Bowden by putting up a 4-3 record and almost beating Nebraska in the Gator Bowl, but now is when it gets really tough for Swinney. Clemson is one of those college football programs that has both high expectations and mediocre performance over the past 25 years and those high expectations put a lot pressure on any Tiger head coach to either perform or be expected to be down the road in short order. Swinney did a good job in replacing Bowden last season and although we believe Clemson would have been justified if they had either hired Swinney or moved in another direction, but now that Dabo has the job he has to perform, and a guy that played football at Alabama knows and understands that fact. Clemson should be at the top of the ACC and challenging for the ACC title EVERY YEAR and that is the expectation that Dabo Swinney is going to have to meet.
5. Brady Hoke for Chuck Long at San Diego State
San Diego State – Chuck Long gave the job at San Diego State his best shot, but let’s just be honest here……Chuck Long put up a 9-27 record in three seasons at San Diego State and it is our contention that any random man or woman off the beaches in San Diego could have matched Long’s record with the Aztecs. Those 9 wins in 3 years is why Chuck Long was fired and that the Aztec football program didn’t seem to be moving forward in a way that would make people think that the corner was ready to be turned. Really from the get-go, Chuck Long was a strange hire at San Diego State and that 9-27 record that Long put up only confirmed what we thought 3 years ago when Long was hired at SDSU. Long is probably a very good candidate for a head coaching job, but somewhere closer to where he grew up in either Big Ten or Big 12 country and certainly not out on the west coast in the land of surfers and “Hey Dude, Hang Ten!” With Chuck Long out, Brady Hoke, formerly of Ball State University has been hired and this also strikes us as an odd hire, but alas a little closer to the type of coach San Diego State should be in the market for when it goes coach hunting. In our minds, the ideal type of coach for San Diego State would fit in the model of the great Don “Air” Coryell, who led the Aztec football program from 1961 to 1972, where he put up a record of 104-19-2, including 3 undefeated seasons. Anyone that had the pleasure of seeing the San Diego Chargers under Don Coryell with Dan Fouts under center in the QB position knows exactly the type of offense and style of coaching that Coryell deployed to such great effect. The Question: Is Brady Hoke anything like Don Coryell? Not really, but Hoke certainly has the coaching skills to hire the right guy to run the offense, Al Borges, and he has hired a great DC in former New Mexico coach Rocky Long. Can Brady Hoke win at San Diego State? Yes, but what he needs to do is to make sure he, and the San Diego State fans have a lot of fun coaching this Aztec football team, because that will bring some fun back to SDSU football will be an important part of getting the San Diego community re-engaged with “their” football program.
6. Steve Sarkisian for Ty Willingham at Washington
Washington – After a very tough 4 years for Washington under Ty Willingham, 11-37 (.229), including a 0-12 record in 2008, the UW administration had some great difficulty in getting a current sitting, and successful head coach to take over the Washington football program. We don’t know what option number Steve Sarkisian was, but we believe it is safe to assume he wasn’t Washington’s top choice and that is certainly understandable, because above all UW really needed to hire a proven winner after the past dozen years or so on the Montlake Cut. Very simply, Steve Sarkisian’s hiring is a risk, but to us he is a better risk than Lane Kiffin at Tennessee because Sarkisian is familiar with the Pac-10 conference and recruiting on the West Coast, he has shown to us that he is much more mature than Kiffin, and that he was smart enough not to take the Oakland Raiders job in the first place. From what we have seen and heard of Sarkisian since he has taken over at Washington, we have been very impressed with his actions to this point and certainly as Sarkisian better understands the very unique position he holds as the head football coach at UW he will build stronger relationships with the university and become a key member of the institution. The University of Washington has a very strong football tradition and Sarkisian certainly has the resources to compete with every team in the Pac-10, save USC, and if Steve (and his DC Nick Holt) is able to bring some of the Pete Carroll’s coaching philosophy to UW, there is no reason that the Huskies should not be able to put up 8 win or better seasons every year. No, that will not happen in year 1, but Sarkisian has what he needs at UW to be successful and now he needs to deliver. If Sarkisian does not win or at least share the Pac-10 title at Washington within the first 5 years, he will not have delivered.
7. Doug Marrone for Greg Robinson at Syracuse
Syracuse – When Doug Marrone was hired as the head coach at Syracuse from an assistant job with the New Orleans Saints, we knew nothing about the man. After watching and reading about Doug Marrone over the past 5 months, it is our contention that Marrone will end up being one of the best head coaching hires of the 2008-09 class. For whatever reason, probably more cultural than anything else, Greg Robinson never gained any real traction at Syracuse and Syracuse made a very smart move in hiring a guy that knows a lot about Syracuse University and the college football scene in the Northeast. Now, there were three or four experienced head coaches that would have made a very hard run at before we had gotten to Doug Marrone, but we didn’t even knew Doug Marrone existed 5 months ago and that shows that there is a lot that cannot be known about some of these coaching hires. One thing that immediately jumped out at us when we looked at Marrone’s resume is that he lettered three years at Syracuse (1983-1985) under head coach Dick MacPherson and that by all accounts the head coaching job at Syracuse has been the one and only job he has wanted in his adult life. Reading the several hundred stories that have been written by the paper of record of Syracuse football, the Post-Standard, on Doug Marrone since he took over as head coach of the Orangemen there is a general underlying theme that the foolishness is over, that acting right on the field and in the classroom is paramount and that playing winning football at Syracuse is going to happen so the current players can either get on this new train or get off. No, Syracuse will not start winning football games right away under Marrone, but they will be a force again in the Big East conference and from what we have gathered, Marrone is making some big inroads on the recruiting front in the Northeast and that only bodes well for the Orangemen as Syracuse football moves forward. Can Doug Marrone win a Big East title at Syracuse in the next 5 years? Yes, he can….
8. Danny Hope for Joe Tiller at Purdue
Purdue – After a fairly successful run by Joe Tiller at Purdue, which is another one of those schools that is very difficult to win consistently at, Danny Hope steps into the head coaching position with the Boilermakers after sitting in the “Coach in Waiting” spot for one year. We here at Coaches Hot Seat knew nothing at all about Danny Hope when he was designated Tiller’s successor in early 2008, but Hope did have a pretty good run as the head coach at Eastern Kentucky and things seemed to have gone pretty good over the past 5 months in the Tiller to Hope transition. Realizing that Purdue is a very difficult place to win at, if Hope can match the Joe Tiller’s record of 10 .500 or better seasons and 10 bowl trips in 12 years then he will have done a lot, but the Boilermaker fans will certainly expect more in this hyper-competitive world that we all live in today. The Big Ten is in a transition mode right now with Michigan State rising to challenge the two current powers in Penn State and Ohio State and there are another handful of teams just behind the Spartans that are knocking at that same door. If Danny Hope wants to win at Purdue and to especially win a Big Ten title, he must make Purdue a more physical football team and they must become a much better team on defense than they were during the Tiller years. The Joe Tiller era at Purdue is over, but the standard that Tiller set in West Lafayette will be the mark that all current and future Purdue head coaches will have to meet in order to be called a success. (Joe, maybe we will see you along one of those rivers on one of our fishing trips in northern Wyoming or southern Montana in the coming years as you enjoy your retirement)
9. Mike Locksley for Rocky Long at New Mexico
New Mexico – Mike Locksley has worked his way up through the coaching ranks since graduating from Towson U. in 1992 and after 6 years with Ron Zook at Florida and Illinois, Locksley finds himself in the lovely city of Albuquerque, New Mexico coaching the Lobos in what has become a very tough conference in the Mountain West and that alone means Locksley will have a big challenge in getting UNM back into the upper echelons of their conference. One thing that Mike Locksley and New Mexico fans should keep in mind is that even though Rocky Long worked very hard to make UNM a competitive football program, Long lost 5 or more games in 10 of his 11 seasons in Albuquerque and did not win even 1 conference title during his tenure. Rocky Long’s best year at UNM was in 2007 when he went 9-4 and won the New Mexico bowl, but with Long posting an overall record of 65-69 and a conference record of 40-34 in the MWC, it should be clear that Mike Locksley has his work cut out to turn New Mexico into a consistent winner.
10. Ron English for Jeff Genyk at Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan – In 5 seasons at Eastern Michigan Jeff Genyk put up a record of 16-42 with his best season record(s) being the 3 four win seasons in 2004, ‘05 and ‘07. That kind of record would get you fired at Slippery Rock and Eastern Michigan did the only thing it really could do by firing Genyk with the hope of finding a coach that can make their football team more competitive in the MAC conference. Eastern Michigan has now turned to former Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English as their new head coach and English must know he has a tall mountain to climb to just get Eastern Michigan on an even keel with other teams in the MAC. Ron English played football at Cal and stopped off at 7 different schools before getting his first shot at this head coaching job and English will need all of that experience and more to first make Eastern Michigan more competitive and then to get them winning some football games. Can Ron English win at Eastern Michigan? Can anyone win at Eastern Michigan might be a better question, but yes a good football coach can win anywhere so Eastern Michigan can become a consistent winner as well…. Good Luck to you Ron….
11. Mike Haywood for Shane Montgomery at Miami (OH)
Miami (OH) – After putting up a 7-4 record in his first year at Miami (OH), Shane Montgomery reeled off three losing seasons of 2-10, 6-7 and 2-10 which in today’s world of college football coaching usually adds up a head coach ending up on the Hot Seat and often out of a job. What really hurt Montgomery was that he was unable to continue the success of the head coach he worked for at Miami (OH), Terry Hoeppner, who in 6 seasons at Miami did not have a losing season. Also, with Miami (OH)’s rich head coaching history, which includes in addition to Terry Hoeppner, Randy Walker, Dick Crum, Bill Mallory, Bo Schembechler, Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes and Sid Gillman (who has one of the most interesting coaching trees in the game of football) Montgomery putting up a 17-31 overall record is just not acceptable. Miami (OH) replaced Montgomery with Notre Dame OC Michael Haywood and Haywood is another assistant coach that we don’t know a whole lot about, but looking at his coaching resume, we notice that Haywood spent 7 years at LSU, 2 of which were under Nick Saban and he spent 2 years at Texas under Mack Brown. Coaching at LSU and Texas under Saban and Brown had to be a pretty good preparation for Haywood, and if you throw in his 4 years at Notre Dame under the up and down years of Charlie Weis, Haywood should be ready for a head coaching job. Can Mike Haywood win at Miami (OH)? Terry Hoeppner and about a dozen other coaches before Hoeppner proved that winning is very achievable at Miami and those are expectations that Haywood will have to deal with, and meet.
12. Dewayne Walker for Hal Mumme at New Mexico State
New Mexico State - Even though Hal Mumme put a lot into his 4 years at New Mexico State, there was no way he was going to be able to overcome a 11-38 record in 4 seasons in Las Cruces and it wasn’t a surprise to anyone here at Coaches Hot Seat that Mumme was sent packing after the ’08 season. After a very lengthy coaching search NMSU AD Boston hired UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker and surely Walker gave a lot of thought to taking the NMSU job, because it is clearly one of the tougher jobs to win at in I-A football. DeWayne Walker does have one good thing going for him and that is the conference that New Mexico State plays in, the WAC. For several years Boise State has dominated the WAC, with Hawaii and Fresno State challenging for the top and second spots, but there is still plenty of room in the WAC for a new coach to come into this conference and quickly win some football games by changing the culture of the program he is taking over. No doubt, what Hal Mumme was doing at NMSU on both sides of the ball was just not getting it done, and what Walker needs to do is to find a competitive advantage in something that can allow his new football team to immediately become more competitive against WAC teams. Can DeWayne Walker turn New Mexico State into a perennial winning football team? Yes, but it is not going to be easy.
13. Chip Kelly for Mike Bellotti at Oregon
Oregon – By almost any measure Mike Bellotti had a very successful 14 year run at Oregon putting up a 116-55 record, winning two Pac-10 titles and taking his Duck football team to 12 bowl games. Yes, Rich Brooks laid the groundwork at Oregon for Bellotti’s successful run, but Brooks did not have nearly the success of Bellotti with the Ducks and certainly Mike Bellotti made a very strong case with his performance at Oregon to be a future member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Of course, Bellotti was replaced by the Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, who amazingly only two years ago was the OC at I-AA New Hampshire. Certainly Chip Kelly has made the largest jump in recent years from pretty much being an unknown to people that follow major college football to the head coach at one of the premier programs in the Pac-10. It was a surprise to all of us here at Coaches Hot Seat that Kelly was even hired as the OC at Oregon in the first place, but New Hampshire did have one of the best offenses in the country under Kelly and Bellotti was looking for an OC that could light a spark under his Oregon team. Kelly continued his offensive coaching success at Oregon by fielding his spread option which has led the Pac-10 conference in both total yards and scoring the last two seasons and a pretty good argument could be made that if Dennis Dixon does not go down against Arizona in 2007, the Ducks might have been playing for the national title. If Chip Kelly can keep the Oregon offense rolling and improve the defense then there is no reason that Kelly will not have as a successful run as Mike Bellotti had in Eugene and the “Bellotti standard” will be how Chip Kelly will be measured on success or failure. On the other side of that coin, Mike Bellotti has set a very high standard for Kelly to live up to, and the Oregon fans are not going to tolerate the Duck football program taking a step backwards just because there has been a head coaching change. Can Chip Kelly win a Pac-10 title at Oregon? Yes, and he better win one….
14. Paul Rhoads for Gene Chizik at Iowa State
Iowa State – Paul Rhoads must feel like the luckiest man in the world right now, because no one could have predicted that Rhoads losing his job as the defensive coordinator on Tuberville’s staff at Auburn would lead him to getting the one job in the country he really wanted in Iowa State. As everyone must know by now, Gene Chizik put up 5-19 record in his two years at Iowa State which was a big step backwards coming off the Dan McCarney years at Iowa State. McCarney did have a very bad season, 4-8 in 2006, just preceding his firing, but in McCarney’s last 7 years at Iowa State he put up a 43-43 record which included 5 straight bowl games from 2000 to 2005. A .500 record and 5 straight bowl games is not much where Dan McCarney coaches at now in Florida, but at Iowa State it is a minor miracle and certainly Paul Rhoads will be measured by what he does compared to what McCarney was able to achieve in Ames, Iowa. In many ways Paul Rhoads should not only feel lucky that he has landed a head coaching job in the Big 12, but he should also realize that the particular set of events that landed him the head coaching job at Iowa State was luck and champions always take advantage of luck when it comes their way. Winning right off the bat is not expected from Paul Rhoads, but putting up winning seasons and making regular trips to bowl games will be the expectation for Rhoads by year 3 and Rhoads will have to work very hard on the recruiting trail and on the practice field to meet those kind of expectations in the very tough Big 12.
15. Gene Chizik for Tommy Tuberville at Auburn
Auburn – Ever since the 2003 season when a small group of Auburn boosters almost pulled off a coup against Tommy Tuberville with the Brutus of this era, Bobby Petrino, anyone paying attention knew that the day that Tommy Tuberville would be leaving Auburn by a way other than his own choosing was somewhere on the calendar in the future. We just didn’t know when Tuberville’s departure on the calendar was, but it was always there and no doubt Tuberville got fed up with too many people on the inside fighting against him and often pulling against him and that very tight string had to break….and that string did finally break with Tuberville heading on down the road last December. With Tuberville out (after putting up a record of 85-40 in 10 years on The Plains), Auburn seemed poised to hire one of a number proven head coaches but when it got down to how much Auburn was willing to pay compared to the pressure cooker of a job that Auburn is, the final decision seemed to hinge between Turner Gill of Buffalo and Gene Chizik of Iowa State. Now, both Gill and Chizik have proven themselves to be good football coaches in their careers, but Gill did have the upper-hand by turning around a decrepit Buffalo program and Chizik flailing around at Iowa State for 2 years and putting up a 5-19 record. Would we have hired either Turner Gill or Gene Chizik at Auburn? No, unless we had been turned down by the 5 or so proven head coaches that we thought were ready for the challenge of the Auburn job, but if it did come down between Gill and Chizik for Auburn, we would probably lean a little towards Chizik because he has coached at Auburn (under Tuberville) and he knows where many of the pitfalls are on the Plains. With Chizik now hired we give him high marks for hiring a very good staff and pretty high marks for putting his head down and focusing on coaching his football team, especially compared to the guy up in Knoxville that can’t seem to keep his mouth shut. Gene Chizik has a great challenge ahead of him to take on the juggernaut that Nick Saban is building at Alabama and the very simple questions is, what are the expectations for Gene Chizik at Auburn? A winning record and a bowl trip every year, at a minimum, along with a win over Alabama in at least 1 of the next 4 Iron Bowl games. Anything less, and the Chizik era at Auburn will be very short indeed.
16. Gary Anderson for Brent Guy at Utah State
Utah State – After 5 years at Utah under Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham, Gary Anderson strikes out on his own at Utah State and he has taken on a very tough challenge indeed. Utah State is in the WAC conference and with Boise State ruling the roost and two or three other teams raising their head every couple of years, the WAC is a very tough place to turn a perennially losing team into a regular winner. Utah State did very well in hiring a guy in Anderson that has coached in some big-time games at Utah and if he can bring some of what he learned from Meyer and Whittingham to USU then it should be better days ahead in Logan, Utah. If Anderson can put up winning seasons at Utah State, he will have achieved a lot, a whole lot.
17. Frank Spaziani for Jeff Jagodzinski at Boston College
Boston College – OK, now let’s go to the bizzaro-land that was the Boston College football program last fall. Jeff Jagodzinski was hired two years ago at Boston College and tasked to win football games and in those two years Jagodzinski put up a 20-8 record which included two appearances in the ACC Title Game. This is where the bizarre-world enters the scene, when Jagodzinski’s BC team finished the 2008 season with a 9-5 record, Jagodzinski did what many people in America do when they are presented with an opportunity to better themselves, he interviewed for a possible better paying job, the head coaching job with the New York Jets. How did the athletic director at Boston College Gene DeFillippo react when his head football coach notified him that he was going to interview for the Jets job? DeFillippo told Jagodzinski that he would be fired from BC if he interviewed for the Jets job, which by itself turns on its head one of the main things that the United States of America stands for, namely that Americans are always on the lookout for the jobs that can challenge them more, and yes, even pay them more. Instead of Gene DeFillippo threatening an employee with the idea that he would be fired if he interviewed for another job, maybe DeFillippo should have asked himself why would a second-straight successful head football coach (Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagodzinski) both want to get away from Boston College and maybe even DeFillippo himself? Yes, that is a question that DeFillippo should have asked himself, but DeFillippo is so deep in the bag with the belief that Boston College and working for DeFillippo has to be the ultimate destination for any BC head football coach, that how dare anyone interview for another job. Yes, this view of the world that DeFillippo seems to have does have some precedence in the world, but we thought that dictators controlling where and when their employees could interview in order to do something better for themselves and/or their family disappeared from the planet with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet Union, but alas no….DeFillippo evidently gives very short shrift to the idea that Americans have a right to pursue new jobs and new opportunities and when a key and successful employee tells him employer he is going to interview for another job, the employer should not threaten to fire that employee, but rather ask a very simple question: Why is my key and successful employee wanting to interview for another job? Since it seems that DeFillippo’s ego is larger Boston Harbor we were not surprised at his reaction to Jagodzinski wanting to interview elsewhere nor Tom O’Brien leaving for another ACC school (NC State) in what was clearly a lateral move, but understanding that does not change the fact that DeFillippo believes that his own personal feelings and ego is bigger than school that he works for. Luckily, now that DeFillippo has run off two very successful head coaches, we all know and DeFillippo must surely understand that his tenure as AD at Boston College is on the line depending upon how well Frank Spaziani does as the new head coach at BC. Here is the standard that Frank Spaziani will have to meet to not only keep himself employed, but the man with the Boston Harbor sized ego, Gene DeFillippo employed as well:
2002 – 9-4
2003 – 8-5
2004 – 9-3
2005 – 9-3
2006 - 10-3
2007 – 11-3
2008 – 9-5
That is an average of 9.28 wins a year for O’Brien and Jagodzinski, so yes we do know the standard that Frank Spaziani will have to live up to keep him and his boss off the unemployment line. Now, Frank Spaziani has a lot going for him, starting with that he played at Penn State for Joe Paterno in the 1960s. That Spaziani played both QB and linebacker for Joe Paterno says a lot about the man, kind of like saying you played football for Paul Bryant at Alabama, and certainly Spaziani has had a very successful assistant coaching career and if we had been in DeFillippo shoes and were looking for a new head coach (after foolishly firing Jagodzinski that is), we would have favored hiring Spaziani if only to try and establish some continuity with the BC football program. Can Frank Spaziani win at Boston College? If Tom O’Brien and Jeff Jagodzinski can win at BC, there is no reason that Spaziani cannot win on The Hill and because Boston College has been one of the best programs in college football in recent times, Spaziani not only can win at BC, he MUST at BC win as well.
18. Tim Beckman for Tom Amstutz at Toledo
Toledo – We don’t know a whole lot about Tim Beckman, but looking over his coaching resume, we notice that he spent 7 years as the defensive coordinator at Bowling Green, 2 years on the Ohio State staff and the last 2 seasons on Mike Gundy’s staff at Oklahoma State. The coach that Beckman replaced, Tom Amstutz, had Toledo going pretty good in the early part of this decade, but the last 3 seasons (5-7, 5-7, 3-9) were a major disappointment. Amstutz did defeat Michigan last season at Toledo, but even that was not good enough to save his job and now Beckman gets his chance at Toledo, but in a much tougher conference than when he left Bowling Green 4 years ago. We haven’t a clue if Beckman will put up winning seasons or not, but he certainly has an opportunity to in what is the most competitive football conference in the country, the MAC.
19. Stan Parrish for Brady Hoke at Ball State
Ball State – Stan Parrish steps in for Brady Hoke who is off to land of San Diego after Hoke (with Parrish on his staff) put up a 34-38 record in 6 seasons at Ball State. Like many assistant coaches in non-BCS conferences we knew very little about Stan Parrish before he was hired as the head coach at Ball State. Looking over Parrish’s resume his most significant coaching stint was his 5 years (1996-2001) as the offensive coordinator at Michigan which corresponds to a pretty impressive run with the Wolverines under Lloyd Carr. We really don’t have a clue if Stan Parrish will be able to continue the momentum created by Hoke over the past 2 years at Ball State, 19-7 in 2007-2008, but a very good argument can be made that hiring Parrish off of Hoke’s staff provided the best opportunity to continue things without a major interruption. The MAC conference has become a very good football conference and just a small drop off in competiveness can lead to a big setback and it will be Stan Parrish’s job to make sure Ball State doesn’t squander the advances it make under Hoke.
20. Dave Clawson for Gregg Brandon at Bowling Green
Bowling Green – After a couple of successful seasons at Fordham, 3 decent to great years at Richmond and 1 disastrous year as the Tennessee offensive coordinator, Dave Clawson gets a chance to prove what kind of head football coach he is as he takes over for Gregg Brandon at Bowling Green. Clawson takes over from Gregg Brandon who had a pretty decent run at Bowling Green (44-30 overall record in 6 seasons at BG), but had shown some stagnation in recent years as other teams in the increasingly tough MAC conference moved forward as Bowling Green was perceived to be treading water. Only a year ago Brandon had Bowling Green in the MAC Conference Title Game, but a promising start to the 2008 season with a win over Pitt dissolved into a 4-4 record in the MAC and that conference record was one of the main drivers of the head coaching change. Dave Clawson takes over at Bowling Green at a time when the MAC conference is fast becoming a thorn in the side of the “BCS” conferences and as Clawson looks around the conference he surely see the same 5 teams that we see that look to be sticking around for awhile at the top of the MAC: Buffalo, Temple, Western Michigan, Ball State and Central Michigan. Even after that bad year at Tennessee, much is expected of Dave Clawson at Bowling Green and our only advice to Clawson is that he not forget that winning football games is a lot more important that the complexity of the offense that he implements at Bowling Green. Talk to a few players on the Tennessee football team from last season, and that statement will make a lot more sense. Memo to Dave Clawson: It is impossible for your Bowling Green team to run an offense they cannot comprehend nor understand.
21. Bill Snyder for Ron Prince at Kansas State
Kansas State – We could have gone either way on the firing of Ron Prince, but bringing Bill Snyder back to Kansas State? No, we cannot understand that move by KSU. OK…Bill Snyder was a great football coach, but that was in another time and another place. Snyder put up some great seasons at K-State, but in his last two years, which happened to correspond to the rise of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Missouri in the Big 12, Snyder went 4-7 in 2004 and 5-6 in 2005. There is a reason that Bill Snyder was fired after the 2005 season and that reason has not changed and we believe K-State will regret hiring Snyder because he will not move the football program forward in what has become a much tougher Big 12. Instead of Bill Snyder, we would have hired Buffalo’s Turner Gill, Oklahoma’s Brent Venables, Illinois Mike Locksley, Missouri’s Dave Christensen or even Dennis Franchione over bringing back Bill Snyder and we believe Kansas State will regret this coaching move.
22. Lane Kiffin for Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee
Tennessee – We certainly believe that Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton had every reason to fire Phillip Fulmer, but what we cannot understand is the decision to turn over the Vol football program to a rank amateur in Lane Kiffin. Now, members of Coaches Hot Seat always make a point of dropping in on USC practices when we are in LA in the fall and we got to see Lane Kiffin at USC and with the Oakland Raiders the past couple of years and we saw nothing from Lane Kiffin at either place to make us think he is remotely qualified to be the head coach at a school like Tennessee. On top of our opinion, Lane Kiffin made some very stupid decisions at Oakland and picked some incredibly stupid fights with the wrong people within the Raiders organization (a completely dysfunctional organization by the way run by a real fruitcake in Al Davis), but such is the nature of youth. Yes, Lane Kiffin is still a very young man, who will only turn 34 on May 9, and the same foolish youthful things that Kiffin did here at Oakland have repeated themselves early in his tenure at Tennessee, as Lane has picked fights and pissed off people that a more mature coach with even just a little more experience would have known better than to have committed. Lane’s Daddy, Monte Kiffin, has always struck us a straight-forward and hard working guy that didn’t go around in his career in college and the NFL popping his mouth off before he had ever done anything, so it is hard for us to understand where Lane Kiffin learned to be such a brat. He certainly didn’t learn these shenanigans from Pete Carroll, because Pete Carroll did not come into the Pac-10 and start demeaning other coaches and accusing them of cheating and it is just very damn hard for us to understand what Lane believes he has accomplished that he is “entitled” to pop-off with all of these outrageous statements since he got to Knoxville. Maybe the key word in “entitled,” because by any measure Lane Kiffin is the head coach of Tennessee for one reason and one reason only, because his last name is Kiffin. There were at least 50, maybe 100 assistant and head coaches that were more qualified for the Tennessee job than Kiffin last fall and it defies belief that Kiffin even got onto Tennessee’s possible hire list, forget about the young man actually getting hired. We chalk Lane Kiffin’s popping off since he got to Tennessee up to foolishness, immaturity, even stupidity, because we cannot think of even one college head coach that had done so little in his life, and that would be out in the public spouting such horseshit. Please, don’t say Steve Spurrier says the same kinds of things, because Spurrier won the Heisman Trophy at Florida and played 9 years in the NFL. Please, don’t dare compare Lane Kiffin to Steve Spurrier….Bozo the Clown maybe, but certainly not Steve Spurrier. What will Lane Kiffin accomplish at Tennessee? Well, since you could put a tuna in a large aquarium on the sidelines at Tennessee as the head football coach and average winning 7 games a year, either Kiffin better win more 7 games a year, or he cannot do as well as a tuna. (By the way, Phillip Fulmer won 152 games in 17 years, or almost 9 games a year, and won 1 National Title and 2 SEC titles and that is why Fulmer is a slam dunk College Football Hall of Fame member in the future). As for Lane Kiffin, we would bet on the tuna, even with Daddy Kiffin on the sidelines and after spending most of his life on the West Coast we certainly hope Lane Kiffin is ready for what he is going to have to deal with this fall when the SEC schedule kicks off… If he isn’t, this could get very ugly, very fast…
P.S. If Tennessee does lose some games this fall that they should have won, we recommend that Kiffin take full blame for those losses and that he not blame anyone else, especially the Tennessee fans…. Maybe Nick Saban can get away (for now that is) with blaming the fans for losses, but Lane Kiffin will not be given any room to run (or a place to run for that matter) on that subject….
Well, there you have Coaches Hot Seat Ranking the 22 new head coaching hires from the 2008-09 season….
With the BCS hearings in the US House of Representatives scheduled for Friday, May 1, we will be back shortly with some comments on the BCS and BCS Boys as we have been out gathering info and doing some intelligence work on these folks in Washington DC that believe the BCS is wrong and that the United States of America still stands for as Thomas Jefferson wrote 200+ years ago…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Certainly no one that defends the fraudulent BCS can possibly believe in our Founding Document, the Declaration of Independence, because the BCS treats different Americans (that play in the same division of college football) in different ways… No, there is no way an American can possibly defend the BCS and be on Thomas Jefferson’s side (and Washington, and John Adams, and Sam Adams, and James Madison and on and on) of the American Revolution…
Here’s to ending one of the last major discriminatory and completely unfair institutions in the United States of America, the BCS…