College football coaching carousel: Tracker, grades, analysis on 2019-20 hires, changes
The 2019-20 coaching carousel is already in full swing with multiple in-season firings already
Coaches get hired to be fired. Hopefully, they win a few games in between ... but usually, they aren't winning enough. That's why every winter is filled with coaches losing jobs, moving on to other opportunities and trying on new polo shirts and hats. It's a dizzying process and one that can be hard for the average fan to follow.
We don't all have time to keep track of every move that's being made.
Lucky for you, we here at CBS Sports do have the time. So you're going to want to bookmark this page and come back as often as possible to stay abreast of what's been happening on the coaching carousel this winter. We'll not only keep you up to date with the latest happenings, but we'll let you know what we think of each move as well.
It's a one-stop shop for all your coaching change needs. Well, except for those team polos.
FBS hirings and firings
|Jeff Scott||Charlie Strong (fired)||It was only a matter of time before one of Clemson's co-offensive coordinators moved on to a head coaching gig, and Jeff Scott is the first to go. Given his experience and successes at Clemson, as well as his ability as a recruiter, this seems like a hire with a high ceiling for South Florida. There are no guarantees in coaching hires, but I'd much rather see USF go this direction than a retread. Grade: A|
|Jeff Traylor||Frank Wilson (fired)||UTSA fired Frank Wilson, who had never been a coordinator or head coach at any level thanks in large part to his work as a recruiter and his ties to area high schools. After firing Wilson, UTSA has hired Traylor, who has no head coach or coordinator experience at the college level. What he does have, however, is plenty of tie-ins at the high school level in Texas after spending 15 seasons as the head coach at Gilmer. If at first you don't succeed... Grade: B|
|Ricky Rahne||Bobby Wilder (resigned)||Rahne took over the playcalling duties at Penn State after Joe Moorhead left for Mississippi State. After averaging 41.1 points per game in 2017 under Moorhead, the PSU offense dropped to 33.8 ppg under Rahne in 2018 without Saquon Barkley. In 2019, after losing QB Trace McSorley, that number improved to 34.3. Old Dominion is hiring him because it believes he'll be able to put points on the board. Thus far, reviews are mixed. Grade: C+|
|Eli Drinkwitz||Barry Odom (fired)||Drinkwitz has been considered a rising star in the coaching world ever since he came up from the high school ranks with Gus Malzahn. He just led Appalachian State to a Sun Belt title, but it's hard to know how much credit Drinkwitz deserves for it. He inherited a program that Scott Satterfield built, and was only in Boone for a season, so we have no idea how Drink will perform when a program is truly his. Grade: B|
|Sam Pittman||Chad Morris (fired)||It's hard to think that Arkansas' plan when it fired Chad Morris during his second year to hire Pittman, but here we are. Pittman was the associate head coach and offensive line coach at Georgia, but spent three seasons at Arkansas. He's never been a coordinator, let alone a head coach at the FBS level, but is considered an excellent recruiter. It could work, but it's hard to be excited by the move. Grade: C|
|Mike Norvell||Willie Taggart (fired)||He isn't Bob Stoops, and he might not be a household name, but Mike Norvell has had a lot of success at Memphis. In four seasons at Memphis he went 37-15 and 24-8 in the AAC leading Memphis to conference title and Cotton Bowl berth this season. He's done all this despite continually having his staff raided by bigger schools. Yet, year after year, Norvell's program has kept humming along. This is a home run hire, even if Noles fans don't realize it. Grade: A|
|Lane Kiffin||Matt Luke (fired)||How you feel about this hire likely depends on how you feel about Kiffin, who is a polarizing figure. If Ole Miss is hiring the guy who was in charge at Tennessee and USC, this probably isn't going to work. If Ole Miss is getting the Nick Saban School for Wayward Coaches graduate, the coach who took over a dormant FAU program and won two conference titles in three years, this could work. Frankly, I don't know how it will go. It could be great, it could be a complete disaster. Ole Miss is not an easy job, and I don't know what better coach is out there the Rebels could have reasonably been hoping to land. So, because of that, it's hard to give this hire anything other than an A. Grade: A|
|Jimmy Lake||Chris Petersen (resigned)||Well, this will likely go down as the most unexpected and quickest change on the carousel this winter. Considering Lake's familiarity with the program, and that he was the hand-chosen successor to Petersen, it's hard to give this anything other than an "A." Of course, Lake has never been a head coach before, so anything is possible, but he's had one of the best mentors a coach could hope for, and he's already beloved by his players. This transition should be smooth, and that helps. Grade: A|
|Greg Schiano||Chris Ash (fired)||I wrote a couple of days after Rutgers fired Ash that Schiano was the logical choice to replace him, and while it took a while, Rutgers settled on the correct answer. Schiano has had more success at Rutgers than anybody else, but it's important to remember that it came while Rutgers was in the Big East. Odds are he won't have the same results in the Big Ten East, but this is about getting the program back to a level of respectability. If Schiano can remove the doormat status from this program, the hire will be a success. Grade: A|
|-||Steve Addazio (fired)||-|
|-||Mike Bobo (resigned)||-|
|-||Jeff Tedford (resigned)||-|
|-||Bob Davie (resigned)||-|
|-||Tony Sanchez (fired)||-|
|-||Eli Drinkwitz (Missouri)||-|
Notable retentions and extensions
|Hugh Freeze||Extended||Freeze led the Flames to a 7-5 record and the first bowl berth in program history in his first year at the helm. Details were not disclosed due to Liberty being a private institution, but it is a "long-term deal" according to the school.|
|Clay Helton||Retained||It's not the news a lot of USC fans wanted to hear, as they spent all season convincing themselves that Urban Meyer would restore the glory to the program, but Clay Helton will be back one more season. After going 21-6 in his first two full seasons at USC, Helton's Trojans teams have gone 13-11 the last two years.|
|James Franklin||Extended||Franklin had his contract extended through 2025. The news couldn't come as a major surprise. His name popped as a candidate for high-profile jobs that were available (Florida State) as well as ones that weren't (USC). Franklin has won a Big Ten title at Penn State and has the Nittany Lions currently in the top 10 of the College Football Playoff Rankings.|
|PJ Fleck||Extended||Well, duh. Minnesota won 10 games in a season for the first time since 2003, and only the second time since 1905. The Gophers' two losses came to top 15 teams in Iowa and Minnesota. They knocked off a top 10 team in Penn State. If you're Minnesota, you're doing everything in your power to keep Fleck's boat tied to your dock.|
|Matt Campbell||Extended||Considering what Campbell has been able to accomplish at Iowa State, it's no surprise that his name began to come up as a candidate at other Power Five schools for the second winter in a row. And when that happens, it's extension time. Iowa State is thrilled with Campbell, but you wonder how much longer it will be before the expectations rise.|
|Mike Leach||Extended||Leach's name has been a popular one in coaching searches the last few years, and there were reports he was close to taking the Tennessee job when it was open. So it makes plenty of sense for Wazzu to lock him up as long as possible. While 2019 was a step back, Leach is still responsible for the best string of success in Pullman since the Mike Price era.|
|Kevin Sumlin||Retained||It's hard to feel great about Sumlin's first two seasons at Arizona, but keeping him for a third year makes sense. Still, Sumlin has gone 9-15 at Arizona, 6-12 in conference play. If the 2020 season is anything like the first two, Sumlin's name will likely be appearing in the table above this one in our 2020 coaching tracker.|
|Will Muschamp||Retained||Muschamp will be giving USC's Clay Helton a run for his money in The Hot Seat Department entering the 2020 season. The Gamecocks missed out on a bowl this season, finishing at 4-8. It's the second straight season the Gamecocks have won fewer games than the year before. In 2017 Carolina went 9-4 before going 7-6 last season and now 4-8. It leaves Muschamp with an overall record of 26-25 with the Gamecocks, and 15-17 in the SEC. <br>|
|Joe Moorhead||Retained||It's generally not a great sign when people are openly speculating that you might be leaving your SEC job for the Rutgers job during the season, and everyone thinks that move could be a "win-win" for both parties. Well, Mississippi State finished the season with a win over hated Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, and that always leaves everybody in Starkville feeling better about themselves. When Moorhead followed it up by saying somebody would have to drag his "Yankee ass" out of town, the decision was complete. <br>|
|Derek Mason||Retained||This feels like a delaying of the inevitable. Mason finished his sixth season at Vanderbilt with a 3-9 record, which was the team's worst mark since his first season in Nashville. He's now 27-47 at Vanderbilt and has yet to finish a season with a winning record, though he has gone to two bowl games and lost both. Not everybody can do what James Franklin was able to do at Vanderbilt, but it's hard to believe the school will settle for being the doormat much longer. Particularly now that Mason's win streak against Tennessee has come to an end. <br>|
|Philip Montgomery||Retained||After a 4-8 season and the third straight without a bowl, there had been speculation on Montgomery's future. Tulsa's 4-8 record was a bit misleading, however, as the Hurricane were competitive in every AAC game save for Navy. Montgomery deserves one more year, but another 4-8 season won't be enough for a second.|
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