The Coaching Carousel Keeps Spinning: 12/9/16 Update


We are well into the ride on the 216 coaching carousel and things just seem to get wilder and wilder. We started with a few openings and jobs that were filled before the season even ended. Since the end of the regular season, we have seen even more opening occur at P5 and G5 programs with many different coaches at play.

It is time to update the coaching carousel list and find out where certain programs are in their coaching searches, which teams have new hires, and some of the wildest rumors out there. For looks at our previous coaching carousel entries, check here and here.

New G5 Coaching Hires:

Florida International:

  • Previous Coach: Ron Turner
  • New Coach: Butch Davis

Of the many marriages of convenience, the marriage of FIU and Davis is very high on the list. Davis has been out of coaching for a while without getting a sniff at a head coaching opportunity. There is no doubt that he is a great coach, but he has left a trail of NCAA sanctions from the schools he previously coached. If Davis can follow the NCAA rules and make FIU a threat in Conference USA, then other schools will come calling.

Fresno State:

  • Previous Coach: Tim DeRuyter
  • New Coach: Jeff Tedford

Look, Fresno State is not the job it once was under Pat Hill. They have just finished one of the worst three seasons in school history and rarely looked competitive against even adequate competition. Tedford wanted a chance to prove that the end of his time at Cal was an aberration and that he can coach without singular talents like Aaron Rodgers behind center. Good luck.

Georgia State:

  • Previous Coach: Trent Miles
  • New Coach: Shawn Elliott

The former Appalachian State player and assistant coach has spent the last five seasons at South Carolina. He is a very experienced in the run game and had players like Marcus Lattimore in his backfield during his time as offensive line and co-offensive coordinator. It is an interesting hire as it is not a “sexy” pick and brings in a coach that is run game oriented. In case you missed Panther football lately, running the ball is not their forte. Elliott does have head coaching experience, going 1-5 in 2015 as the interim head coach at South Carolina when Steve Spurrier resigned.


  • Previous Coach: Brian Polian
  • New Coach: Jay Norvell

Losing Polian was more of a mutual agreement that he wasn’t working out more than anything. The Wolfpack have been unable to find the regular success of Chris Ault, but that is asking a bit much of a coach in a conference as tough as the MWC. Norvell is well versed on offense, but he hasn’t been able to hold an offensive coordinator position for any real length of time. Not a bad pick for Nevada, but is it really better than another year of Polian?

San Jose State:

  • Previous Coach: Ron Caragher
  • New Coach: Brent Brennan

Remember a few years ago when Mike McIntyre was the head coach of the Spartans? He turned the Spartans from 1-2 to 10-2 and bolted for Colorado. Caragher was unable to maintain that success and quickly flamed out as head coach. Even with SJSU feeling the need to get rid of Caragher, was Brennan the best choice? The fact that they went with the wide receivers coach at Oregon State, even with SJSU ties, is telling of just how far down his job is down the head coaching totem pole.

Current Openings:


  • Previous Coach: Tom Herman
  • New Coach: ???

Unlike the majority of G5 openings, this job has attracted names from high-profile coaches all over the country. Names like Mike Leach, Dana Holgerson, and Les Miles have been mentioned in connection with the job. In addition to defensive coordinator Tony Orlando and offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and former LSU head coach Les Miles were expected to be high on the wish list.

Miles and Riley have been eliminated and many pundits believe that the Cougars want to make a splash and bring in Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. The only thing that seems to be keeping this marriage from happening is a need from Houston to financially compensate if/when Kiffin leaves for greener pastures at his dream job of the week. I would be stunned if Kiffin was not named head coach in the next few days.

Florida Atlantic:

  • Previous Coach: Charlie Partridge
  • New Coach: ???

At one point, the Owls were battling Nevada, Georgia State, and San Jose State for the best open G5 job. Since then, they have seen multiple great jobs in the G5 open due to a series of coaching moves at P5 programs. They have gone from owning the market to barely holding a share.

The obvious choice to take over the program is sitting in Tuscaloosa. Offensive line coach Mario Cristobal was formerly with bitter rival FIU and brought the Panthers to their most success in program history. He was unceremoniously fired after a 3-9 season, but that seemed to be the exception rather than the rule at that point in his tenure. FIU has yet to rebound from the firing.

If the Owls do not go with Cristobal, the next best option may be Tennessee tight ends coach Larry Scott. He is a Florida native that spent every year of his playing career and coaching career until 2016 in the state. Scott does have some head coaching experience as the interim head coach at Miami in 2015 where he put together a 4-2 record that included a trip to the Sun Bowl.

Don’t overthink it FAU, go with Cristobal.


  • Previous Coach: Tommy Tuberville
  • New Coach: ???

When Tuberville left Texas Tech to take over for the departed Butch Jones, Cincinnati was among the top five jobs in the G5. A case could be made that Cincinnati was neck and neck with Boise State as a job that was better than a majority of P5 positions. Four years of Tuberville later, the Bearcats position is the fourth best AAC opening at this moment and it isn’t really that close.

Tuberville’s systematic destruction of the program aside, Cincinnati has the resources and ability to become a top P5 program once again with the right coach. The top three choices of the Cincinnati administration seem to be a no go with Brohm taking the Purdue job, Fleck saying no thanks to an interview, and Strong seemingly the top choice to get the South Florida job.

It is honestly hard to gauge where the search is at this point when options 1, 2, and 3 are unlikely. Troy head coach Neal Brown, Ohio State offensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, Toledo head coach Jason Candle, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell, and Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini have been mentioned with the job.


Western Kentucky:

  • Previous Coach: Jeff Brohm
  • New Coach: ???

This is a sneaky good job that can propel the right coach to a great new job. The last three coaches (Taggart, Petrino, Brohm) have left for South Florida, Louisville, and Purdue. Taggart has been a shooting star since leaving WKU and is now the head coach of the Oregon Ducks.

I wrote an article earlier about this job and five candidates that seem to be right for the job. For those too lazy to click the link, the five candidates are: WKU special teams Coordinator/TE coach Tony Levine, WKU defensive coordinator Nick Holt, Troy head coach Neal Brown, Tennessee Titans quarterbacks coach Jason Michael, and South Florida Co-offensive Coordinator TJ Weist. Add USC’s Tyson Helton as a dark horse candidate. Whoever gets this job has a loaded cupboard of talent.


  • Previous Coach: Matt Rhule
  • New Coach: ???

The fact that Matt Rhule left for another job was not a surprise. The surprise was the fact that he left for the dumpster fire that is Baylor. Make no mistake, there is a ton of talent on the Waco campus, but the Bears have so many off the field issues that completely overtake the football program. Rhule has to put in some work to fix the image of the program, distance the program from the Art Briles era, and keep winning. If he is able to do that, he could end up as the head coach of Penn State or Notre Dame one day. I just see him ending up at one of those two programs.

As with the WKU job opening, I wrote about some of the best options for Temple in the post-Rhule era. For those too lazy to click the link, here you go: Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, Temple special teams coordinator/TE coach Ed Foley, Troy head coach Neal Brown, Charleston Southern head coach Jamey Chadwell, and former Texas head coach Charlie Strong.

South Florida:

  • Previous Coach: Willie Taggart
  • New Coach: ???

Finally, the most recent opening in the G5, Willie Taggart got an offer he couldn’t refuse and left for Oregon. Taggart is a crazy weirdo of a head coach that will drive fans crazy, but keep things interesting out west. I have no doubt that this will be a fun marriage of coach and program to watch in the future.

One thing that Taggart has done during his time in Tampa is turn the Bulls job into one of the best among the G5. There is a ton of talent on the roster, they run a wildly entertaining offense, and were arguably the best team in the AAC at the end of the season despite missing out on the AAC title game. Of the many candidates for the job, it seems like this is the best fit for former Texas head coach Charlie Strong. He has lots of ties in Florida, especially recruiting, and will bring lots of talented players from in-state programs to the school. He can pull a Chad Morris at SMU and not even leave the state to put together a really good recruiting class.

If somehow Strong does not get the job, other candidates include Lane Kiffin, Greg Shiano (NO!!!!), Mario Cristobal, Florida State co-offensive coordinator Lawrence Dawsey, and TJ Weist. Please do not kill my innocence and allow Greg Shiano to get this job. It would make me very sad.


What do you consider the best job in the G5 among these openings? What programs have made the best hires/biggest mistakes so far in the process? Let’s hear from you, the reader. Tell us who WKU, Temple, Houston, South Florida, Cincinnati, and Florida Atlantic should hire as their next head coach.

One thought on “The Coaching Carousel Keeps Spinning: 12/9/16 Update

  1. It’s a shame that Navy’s offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper is not being considered for any head coaching job. Well, that just means more success for Navy


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