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2016
College Football Season
Coaching Changes

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Lovie Smith Replaces Bill Cubit at Illinois

Complete review of coaching changes for 2016

CFP Staff
March 23, 2016

Lovie Smith was announced on Monday (March 7) as the new head coach at Illinois. Spring football, scheduled to start March 11, will be postponed until Smith is able to complete his staff. New Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman, on his first official day on the job, fired Bill Cubit on Saturday (March 5). Cubit was the interim head coach during the 2015 season and was named the permanent head coach on November 28, just before the Illini completed a 5-7 season with a 24-14 loss to rival Northwestern. Cubit reportedly had a 2-year deal. Cubit stepped up when the school fired Tim Beckman on August 29, a week before the season opener at home against Kent State. Beckman's dismissal was triggered by an investigation into player mistreatment which revealed he allegedly meddled in medical issues and inappropriately treated athletes who left the team but remained on scholarship. Cubit was the offensive coordinator under Beckman, and was previously the head coach at Western Michigan where he compiled a record of 51-47 from 2005-2012, and Widener College from 1992-1996 (34-18-1).

Coaching Changes For 2016 Season
Team Out In
(i) - Interim head coach regular season
(i,s) - Rutgers' Kyle Flood was suspended 3 games during season.
(b) - bowl game interim coach
Ball State Pete Lembo (3-9) Mike Jinks
Bowling Green Dino Babers (10-3)
(b) - Brian Ward (0-1)
Mike Jinks
BYU Bronco Mendenhall (10-3) Kalani Sitake
East Carolina Ruffin McNeill (5-7) Scottie McGomery
Georgia Mark Richt (9-3)
(b) - Bryan McClendon (0-1)
Kirby Smart
Georgia Southern Willie Fritz (8-4)
(b) - Dell McGee (1-0)
Tyson Summers
Hawaii Norm Chow (2-7)
(i) - Chris Naeole (1-3)
Nick Rolovich
Illinois Tim Beckman (6-7, 2014)
(i) - Bill Cubit (5-7)
Bill Cubit (0-0)
Lovie Smith
Iowa State Paul Rhoads (3-9) Matt Campbell
Louisiana-Monroe Todd Berry (1-9)
(i) - John Mumford (0-2)
Matt Viator
Maryland Randy Edsall (2-4)
(i) - Mike Locksley (1-5)
D.J. Durkin
Memphis Justin Fuente (9-3)
(b) - Darrell Dickey (0-1)
Mike Norvell
Miami (Fla.) Al Golden (4-3)
(i) - Larry Scott (4-2)
Mark Richt
Minnesota Jerry Kill (4-3)
(i)- Tracy Claeys (0-2)
Tracy Claeys (2-2, 2015)
Missouri Gary Pinkel (5-7) Barry Odom
North Texas Dan McCarney (0-5)
(i) - Mike Canales (1-6)
Seth Littrell
Rutgers Kyle Flood (3-6)
(i,s) - Norris Wilson (1-2)
Chris Ash
South Carolina Steve Spurrier (2-4)
(i) - Shawn Elliott (1-5)
Will Muschamp
Southern Miss Todd Monken (9-5) Jay Hopson
Syracuse Scott Shafer (4-8) Dino Babers
Texas State Dennis Franchione (3-9) Everett Withers
Toledo Matt Campbell (9-2) Jason Candle (1-0, 2015)
Tulane Curtis Johnson (3-9) Willie Fritz
UCF George O'Leary (0-8)
(i) - Danny Barrett (0-4)
Scott Frost
USC Steve Sarkisian (3-2)
(i) - Clay Helton (5-2)
Clay Helton (0-2, 2015)
UTSA Larry Coker (3-9 Frank Wilson
Virginia Mike London (4-8) Bronco Mendenhall
Virginia Tech Frank Beamer (7-6) Justin Fuente

The Tampa Bay Bucs announced on January 24th that the NFL team had hired away Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken to serve as offensive coordinator. Under Monken, Southern Miss enjoyed a dramatic turnaround in 2015 with a 9-3 regular season before suffering losses in the CUSA Championship game and the Heart Of Dallas Bowl. The Golden Eagles won only 3 games the previous year, and just 1 contest in 2013. Monken leaves with a 13-25 record at the Hattiesburg school.

On March 1, Southern Miss announced Jay Hopson as Monken's successor. The Ole Miss grad spent the last 4 seasons as the head coach at Alcorn State where his teams collected a 32-17 record and consecutive SWAC titles the last two seasons. Hopson served two stints as an assistant at USM, coaching DB's from 2001-2003 and serving as defensive coordinator from 2005-2007.

After just two seasons as the head coach at James Madison, Everett Withers is leaving the Dukes to take the same position at Texas State. Withers also served as the interim replacement for Butch Davis at North Carolina after Davis was fired just weeks before the season began amid ongoing NCAA investigations. In spite of the unique circumstances, He led UNC to a 7-6 record, but was replaced at the end of the year by Larry Fedora and Withers went to Ohio State as defensive coordinator. Withers leaves James Madison with a record of 18-7, including a first-round FCS playoff loss in 2014 and a second-round loss this year. The move was announced on January 5.

The Texas State job came open when Dennis Franchione, age 64, announced his retirement from coaching on December 22. Franchione's Bobcats were just 3-9 this season, taking an expected step backward after a 7-5 campaign in 2014. It was his 5th season at the San Marcos school where he also served as head coach from 1990-1991 when it was called Southwest Texas State University. He ushered the program into the FBS in 2012. Overall, the Kansas native spent 30 seasons as a head coach at various levels, most notably at TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M. His overall career record was 213–135–2, including 39-43 at Texas State.

On January 15, UTSA named LSU assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator, Frank Wilson, to replace Larry Coker as head coach. Coker stepped down as head coach at UTSA on January 5 after building the program from scratch. The Roadrunners were 22-26 in 4 seasons as a Football Bowl Subdivision school after going 4-6 in 2011 as a Football Championship Subdivision independent. Coker, 67, was the head coach at Miami from 2001-2006 and led the Hurricanes to a national title in his first season with the school.

Pete Lembo resigned as head coach at Ball State on December 22 to become Maryland's associate head coach and special teams coordinator. Lembo was 33-29 in 5 seasons at the Muncie, Indiana school, but the Cardinals backslid to 5-7 in 2014 and just 3-9 in 2015.

On January 6, Ball State hired former student and player Mike Neu to replace Lembo. Neu spent the last 2 seasons as the quarterbacks coach of the NFL New Orleans Saints. As Ball State's quarterback from 1990-1993, Neu threw for 6,271 yards and was named MAC MVP in his senior season.

On December 20, Georgia Southern confirmed the hiring of Colorado State defensive coordinator Tyson Summers as its replacement for Willie Fritz who moved on to Tulane. The Tifton, Georgia native spent 1 year as the safeties coach at Georgia Southern in 2006. He was the DC on UCF's Fiesta Bowl winning team in 2013. Fritz was 17-7 in 2 seasons at Georgia Southern where he led the Eagles to the Sun Belt title in 2014. This year, he added the school's first-ever NCAA postseason bowl game with their berth in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl. Georgia Southern named running backs coach Dell McGee as interim head coach for the bowl game.

Tulane announced the hiring of Fritz on December 12 where he took the reins from Curtis Johnson who was fired on November 28. Johnson's dismissal came after a loss to Tulsa dropped the Green Wave to 3-9. Johnson was 15-34 in 4 seasons, including a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl loss in 2013 that stands as the only winning season for the Green Wave since 2002.

BYU on December 19 announced Kalani Sitake as its new head coach following BYU's loss to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl which served as the final game for Bronco Mendenhall. Sitake spent the 2015 season as the defensive coordinator at Oregon State, following 10 seasons as an assistant with Utah.

Mendenall was announced December 4 as Mike London's successor at Virginia. He leaves BYU after 11 seasons that produced a 99-43 record overall, 6-5 in bowl games. Virginia announced Mike London's resignation on November 29, though it sounded more like a firing. Athletic director Craig Littlepage said, "We expect our football program to compete for the Coastal Division title on an annual basis, which puts us in a position to win the ACC championship and be competitive nationally." London was 27-46 in 6 seasons, made just one bowl game, and had just one winning season. His teams were a paltry 14-34 in ACC games, including 0-6 vs. rival Virginia Tech.

East Carolina basically went down the street to find its new head coach. The Greenville, North Carolina school announced December 13 that it lured away Duke offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery to replace Ruffin McNeill who was fired on November 4. The Pirates limped home with a 5-7 record in 2015 to bring McNeill's records at his alma mater to 42-34 overall, 8-8 in American Conference games the last 2 seasons, and 24-10 in Conference USA games from 2010-2013. East Carolina never won a divisional or conference championship on his watch and was just 1-3 in lower level bowl games. Montgomery was a star for Duke at wide receiver in the late 1990's.

Louisiana-Monroe announced on December 14 that it had hired McNeese State head coach Matt Viator to replace Todd Berry. The Warhawks fired Berry on November 14, following a 59-21 loss at home to Arkansas State that dropped the Warhawks' 2015 record to 1-9. Berry was 28-43 at UL-M in nearly 6 full seasons with a high water mark of 8-5 in 2012 which resulted in the program's first FBS bowl invitation (a 45-14 loss to Ohio in the Independence Bowl). However, that was his only winning season as Louisiana-Monroe was 6-6 in 2013 and 4-8 in 2014. Berry previously coached at Army (5-35) and Illinois State (24-24) for a career record of 57-102. Defensive line coach John Mumford assumed the role of interim head coach for the school's final 3 games and went 1-2. At McNeese State, Viator was 77-33 in 10 seasons with 5 FCS playoff appearances and 3 first-round wins.

On December 7, Rutgers announced Chris Ash as its new head coach. The Ohio State defensive cooridnator (2014-2015) has been an FBS assistant since 2000 with the likes of Iowa State and Wisconsin, among others. Ash replaces Kyle Flood who was fired on November 29 after a season of turmoil that included a 3-game suspension of Flood and the arrests of at least 7 players. The school also fired athletics director, Julie Herrmann, and named her successor, Pat Hobbs. Rutgers was 4-8 this season with assistant Norris Wilson going 1-2 during Flood's suspension. In all, Rutgers was 27-24 overall during Flood's tenure and 12-19 in conference games.

Bowling Green on December 7 named Mike Jinks as its new head coach. The former Texas high school coach (2005-2012) spent the last two seasons at Texas Tech as RB coach and the 2015 season as associate head coach. He replaces Dino Babers who vacated the Falcons' post to fill the head coaching vacancy at Syracuse on December 5, the day after leading Bowling Green to the MAC title over Northern Illinois. Babers was 18-9 in 2 seasons at BGSU, twice advancing to the MAC Championship and winning it this year. The Falcons beat Bowling Green in the Camellia Bowl to cap its 2014 season.

Syracuse fired Scott Shafer on November 23 after going 13-23 in 3 years (6-17 in the ACC). He had been promoted from defensive coordinator when Doug Marrone left to become the head coach of the Buffalo Bills (NFL), a job which Marrone left after just 2 seasons (now assistant head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars). After his dismissal, Shafer coached and won the final game of the season on November 28 vs. Boston College to improve his records to 14-23 overall, 7-17 in the ACC.

South Carolina announced on December 6 that Will Muschamp will be the next head coach of the Gamecocks. Muschamp spent the past season as the defensive coordinator at Auburn. Ironically, Florida fired Muschamp as head coach the morning after the Gators lost 23-20 in overtime to South Carolina. Muschamp ended his tenure in Gainesville with a 28-21 overall record, and was 17-15 in the SEC. His 2012 squad tied for the SEC's eastern division title, but couldn't play for the SEC Championship because of a tie-breaking loss to rival Georgia.

Steve Spurrier resigned as the head coach of South Carolina on October 13, a few days after a 45-24 loss at LSU left the Gamecocks with a 2-4 record. His resignation took effect immediately. Co-offensive coordinator Shawn Elliott was 1-5 after being named interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Spurrier was 86-49 at South Carolina and his over-all collegiate coaching record of 228–89–2 includes an 11-10 record in bowl games and a 5-3 mark in SEC Championship games. The 'Ol Ball Coach began his collegiate head coaching career at Duke (1987-1989), going 20-13-1 and capturing an ACC co-championship in his final season before moving to Florida. With the Gators, Spurrier went 122-27-1 and a remarkable 87-12 in the SEC. His Florida teams lost 1 or fewer conference games in 9 of his 12 years with the school, claiming 6 conference titles and the 1996 national championship. He resigned from Florida after the 2001 season to coach the Washington Redskins in the NFL in 2002 and 2003, but left that job after achieving little success. He was hired at South Carolina in 2005 where he undeniably elevated the program's level of competitiveness, but was unable to deliver a conference title and the Gamecocks won only 1 division title during his 10 full seasons in Columbia.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was announced December 6 as the new head coach at Georgia where he will replace Mark Richt. Miami introduced Richt as its new head coach on Friday (December 4). Earlier in the week (November 29), Georgia said the school and Richt had mutually agreed to end his tenure as head coach, effective after the bowl season. But on December 3, Richt informed the school that he will not coach the Bulldogs in their bowl game. Georgia promptly announced Bryan McClendon as the interim head coach and the Bulldogs beat Penn State 24-17 in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Georgia was 9-3 this year with Richt at the helm and he leaves with a 15-year record of 145–51 overall, 83–37 in the SEC. His Bulldog teams won the East division title of the SEC 5 times and won the SEC Championship in 2002 and 2005. Richt was a backup quarterback to Jim Kelly at Miami (1979-1982) and later served for several years as a Graduate Assistant, QB coach and OC under Bobby Bowden at Florida State.

On October 25, the day after Miami fell to 4-3 with a humiliating 58-0 loss to home to Clemson, Al Golden was sent packing and tight ends coach/running game coordinator Larry Scott was tasked with trying to right the ship for the rest of the season. After Scott took over, the 'Canes went 4-1 in the regular season. Despite a 20-14 loss to Washington State in the Sun Bowl, Miami still beat most preseason expectations with a final overall record of 8-5. Golden was 32-27 overall, 17-18 in the ACC. Golden was hired on December 12, 2010 to replace Randy Shannon who had gone 28-22 overall, 16-16 in the ACC.

Seth Littrell was announced December 6 as the new head coach at North Texas. It will be the first head coaching job for Littrell, the North Carolina offensive coordinator. The Mean Green fired Dan McCarney on October 12, just hours after a 66-7 home loss to FCS member Portland State on October 10 dropped UNT's record to 0-5. Interim head coaching duties were handled by offensive coordinator Mike Canales for the remainder of the season. Under Canales, the Mean Green went 1-6.

Missouri hired from within and promoted defensive coordinator Barry Odom to head coach, the school announced December 3. Odom was a star linebacker at Mizzou from 1996-1999. Before returning to Columbia for the 2015 season, Odom spent 3 years under Justin Fuente at Memphis. Odom replaces Gary Pinkel who announced his resignation on November 13, effective at the end of the season. Pinkel, the head coach of Missouri since 2001, was diagnosed with Lymphoma in May. The decision came at the end of a week in which Pinkel gave his support to members of the football team who were threatening to boycott, amid racial tensions, the upcoming game against BYU in Kansas City if the school didn't fire it's president. The president ultimately resigned. Pinkel, the winningest coach in school history, went 1-2 after the announcement and finished with a record of 118-73 in 15 seasons. His 2015 squad went 5-7 after starting 3-0. Pinkel saw the transition from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012 and won consecutive SEC East titles in 2013 and 2014.

Memphis on Thursday (December 3) hired Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell as its new head coach to replace Justin Fuente. He has worked under Todd Graham exclusively since 2007 when he joined Graham's staff at Tulsa, and then followed him to Pittsburgh and ASU.

Virginia Tech confirmed on November 29 the hiring of Fuente to replace Frank Beamer after the bowl season. Memphis' bowl responsibilities were transferred to offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey (lost 31-10 to Auburn in Birmingham Bowl). At Fuente's request, his staff at Virginia Tech will include Bud Foster, the long-time defensive coordinator under Beamer. The former TCU offensive coordinator under Gary Patterson has served as the head coach of Memphis for the last 4 seasons where he quickly turned the program around. Fuente was 26-23 overall at Memphis, including 19-6 the last 2 years.

Beamer announced on November 1 that his 29th season at Virginia Tech will be his last as a college football head coach. At the time, 3 games remained in a 4-5 season. The Hokies closed 2-1, including a 23-20 win at rival Virginia (12th straight) on November 28 to become bowl eligible. Ironically, Beamer's 23rd straight bowl game would be the Independence Bowl which is where the streak began in 1993. Virginia Tech defeated Tulsa 55-52 in that bowl game to send Beamer out with an overall record of 280-144-4, a mark which led all active FBS head coaches. His 238 victories at Virginia Tech included wins over football powerhouses such as Alabama, LSU, Texas and Ohio State. Beamer said he is doing what he always said he would do, and has always done - respond in the best interest for Virginia Tech. In Blacksburg, he rose his Alma mater's football significance from nonexistent to major status. Before BeamerBall, the Hokies had made 6 bowl appearances and won only one. Before BeamerBall, Virginia Tech was a floundering independent playing in a largely empty small stadium. 29 years later, the school has enjoyed 23 straight bowl appearances, 11 bowl victories, a national championship game, and 7 conference championships, all while playing in a generally sold out and dramatically improved 66,000-seat stadium on a campus with some of the best and newest facilities across the whole spectrum of athletics.

Toledo on December 2 promoted offensive coordinator Jason Candle to head coach to replace Matt Campbell after Campbell filled the opening at Iowa State of the fired Paul Rhoads. Iowa State announced Campbell's hiring on November 29. Toledo's interim head coach for the upcoming bowl game will not be defensive coordinator Jon Heacock, as previously announced, since Candle was promoted from within. It was originally believed that Candle would join Campbell at Iowa State.

Rhoads was fired on November 22, the day after a 38-35 loss to Kansas State in which the Cyclones coughed up a 21-point halftime lead. Rhoads coached his teams' last regular season game at West Virginia and lost 30-6, dropping his record 32-55. His five predecessors going back to 1979 also had losing tenures. Dan McCarney (1995-2006) had the most success since Earle Bruce in the 70's. McCarney's best year was 2000 when Iowa State went 9-3 and tied the school record for wins in a season for just the 2nd time in program history. But McCarney had 7 losing campaigns in a 12-year tenure, and even Earle Bruce began with three 4-win seasons before leaving after three 8-win campaigns.

Campbell was 35-15 in 4 seasons with Toledo, including 9-2 this year. His first game as head coach of the Rockets was a 42-41 Military Bowl victory over Air Force.

Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin was confirmed on December 2 as the new head coach of Maryland. The 37-year old had previous gigs with Florida from 2010-2013 and Stanford 2007-2009. This will be his first head coaching job. Maryland gave Randy Edsall the boot on October 11, the day after a 49-28 loss to Ohio State. Rumors of his impending dismissal came to light in the days leading up to that game. Edsall was 22-34 in 4+ seasons at College Park. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was handed the duties of interim head coach. Locksley's prior head coaching stint at New Mexico was a certifiable disaster as he produced a 2-26 record. Locksley's Terps went 1-5, managing to win the season finale over Rutgers, to improve his record to 3-31.

Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost was announced December 1 as the new head coach at Central Florida. The UCF Knights are coming off a tumultuous, winless season that saw George O'Leary announce his immediate retirement on October 25 and the program finished the year with quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett as the interim replacement. O'Leary took over the Knights' program in 2004 and went 0-11 in his first year, but guided the team to an 8-4 mark the following season and the school's first-ever FBS bowl bid (Hawaii Bowl). He would go on to lead UCF to a total of 7 bowls and a 3-4 record in those games. The high water mark came in 2013 when the Knights went 12-1 and defeated Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Overall, he was 81-68 in Orlando and 133-101 in his career.

USC on November 30 made the announcement that most observers thought it should - Clay Helton is the head coach. Helton stepped up after Steve Sarkisian was forced to take a leave of absence to deal with personal problems after the 17-12 loss to Washington on Thursday, October 8. The following Monday (October 12), that leave became permanent with the announcement of his firing. It appeared as though public ridicule of the university left the school with no other option. Sarkisian had offseason problems which were largely dismissed in early August. Based on internal comments, Sarkisian was alleged to have shown up intoxicated at team meetings and may have been under the influence during the Washington game. Helton took over as interim coach, a position he held for the 2013 season Las Vegas Bowl win over Fresno State, and rallied the troops to a 5-2 finish and the PAC-12 South title. However, the Trojans lost to Stanford in the PAC-12 Championship, and then to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl to make Helton 0-2 as the official head coach.

Rutgers on November 29 said it fired Kyle Flood after a season of turmoil that included a 3-game suspension of Flood and the arrests of at least 7 players. The school also fired athletics director, Julie Herrmann, and named her successor, Pat Hobbs. Rutgers was 4-8 this season with assistant Norris Wilson going 1-2 during Flood's suspension. In all, Rutgers was 27-24 overall during his tenure and 12-19 in conference games.

Former Hawaii quarterback and assistant coach, Nick Rolovich, was announced November 27 as the new head coach of Hawaii in 2016. Rolovich has spent the past 4 seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Nevada, the same positions he held under Greg McMackin at Hawaii.

On November 1, Hawaii fired Norm Chow. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 2-7 overall, 0-5 in the Mountain West, after a 58-7 loss at home to Air Force. Assistant coach Chris Naeole was handed the interim duties for the rest of the season and went 1-3. Chow, like Beamer, is 69 years old. Hawaii was his first and only head coaching gig after years as a well-respected offensive coordinator for BYU, N.C. State, USC and others. Chow had very little to work with at Hawaii and compiled a 10-36 record (4-25, Mountain West). At least his teams were predictable as the Congrove Computer Rankings were 42-4 in projecting the outcome of Hawaii games while Chow was in charge, including 9-0 this year.

Tracy Claeys had the interim tag removed from his title on November 11 and signed a 3-year contract as head coach for Minnesota. The longtime assistant to Jerry Kill was named interim head coach after Kill announced his immediate retirement on October 28 due to health reasons. Kill deals with epileptic seizures and had a previous bout with kidney cancer in 2005. Minnesota had a record of 29-29 during his tenure. However, Tracy Claeys was the acting or interim head coach for 7 of those games and was 4-3, leaving Kill's official record at 25-26. Claeys was 0-2 in the interim capacity with losses to Michigan and Ohio State, and 1-1 after the interim tag removed.









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