Florida State v Virginia Tech

Jimbo: FSU ‘is where I want to be’


Don’t you just love this time of year, when the spinning of the coaching carousel and the churning of the rumor mill combines to fling as much feces against the wall in the hopes that something, anything sticks?

In the minutes — hell, it might even have been seconds — after Auburn officially announced Gene Chizik was out as head coach, potential replacements were being tossed around at a frightening clip.  One of those names?  Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher.

Sure, there’s a direct connection between the coach and the school as Fisher served as the Tigers’ quarterbacks coach for six seasons in the mid-90s.  He was also reportedly one of the leading candidates to replace Tommy Tuberville at AU in before the job went to Chizik in December of 2008.  But why anyone would consider leaving a job such as Florida State’s for one with a program that may or may not have an NCAA problem on the horizon, not to mention residing in the same state as recruiting behemoth Alabama, is more than mildly head-scratching.

Monday, Fisher addressed the speculation and at least attempted to tamp out the rumors surrounding his future.

“I’m very happy right here. I’m content to be here, this is where I want to be. We’re building something special. We’ve got great players. We’ve got great players to come and be here. It’s a great place to live, my family is set up in this community, and I plan on being here a long time.

“[Of course] they may walk in and say, ‘I don’t want you to be the coach no more.’ I mean to say you’re never going to move in this business as a coach, you can’t say that — it’s inevitable. There’s too many things that go on, but I’m very happy. I’m very content. I want to be here.”

Granted, it’s no “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach,” but… wait, that might actually be a good thing for Seminole Nation.

Once all of the coaching dust on The Plains settles, this will likely end where these types of situations usually do: with Fisher still in Tallahassee, armed with a revamped contract that includes a significant bump in the $2.75 million he made in 2012.

Illinois announces two-year extension for interim head coach Bill Cubit

Bill Cubit
Associated Press
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Illinois has extended year-long interim head coach Bill Cubit for another two seasons, the program announced Saturday afternoon. Does that make him a short-term full-time head coach or a long-term interim coach? Or a combination of the two?

Either way, Cubit is in Champaign to stay through the 2017 season.

A mitigating factor here, undoubtedly, is the absence of a full-time chancellor and a full-time athletics director.

“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” interim athletics director Paul Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”

Cubit’s extended contract will pay him $1.2 million annually. Former Illini head coach Tim Beckman made a reported $1.8 million.

“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” interim chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed.”

Illinois is 5-6 this season, playing to extend its season at home against No. 16 Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

Tulane announces Curtis Johnson officially out as head coach

Curtis Johnson
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Confirming what was reported earlier this week, Tulane announced Saturday morning it had relieved head coach Curtis Johnson of duties.

Johnson closed his four-year tenure with a 45-34 loss to Tulsa Friday night, a game where the Green Wave led midway though the fourth quarter but were undone by two pick-sixes. He closes his run with a 15-34 record, peaking with a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning only eight games in his other three seasons.

“I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program,” Tulane AD Rick Dickson said in a statement. “His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to.”

Similar to Illinois, Central Florida and possibly Rutgers, Tulane says it will find a replacement for Dickson (who originally said he’d step down mid-2016) before finding a new head coach.

Report: Rutgers AD Juile Hermann could be on the chopping block this weekend

Julie Hermann
Associated Press

Many assume Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood won’t survive this disappointing and scandal-ridden fourth season of his. But it could be his boss, the highly controversial Julie Hermann, that receives the ax first.

According to a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ.com, Hermann could see her 30-month tenure end as soon as this weekend.

“Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is expected to meet with university President Robert Barchi before the end of the weekend, three people familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media on Friday,” Sargeant wrote. “The meeting, presumably called by Barchi, is the first evidence the university’s administration is preparing to act.”

Sargeant writes that Hermann has been kept in the dark while the university conducts a top-to-bottom investigation into the football program’s compliance efforts. Flood was suspended three games and fined $50,000 earlier this season for overriding the church-state relationship between football and academics.

The results of that investigation could find Rutgers joining the ranks of Illinois and Central Florida among schools looking to hire an AD and head football coach at the same time.

“The futures of Flood and Hermann could hang on a report being compiled by the university’s office of enterprise risk management, ethics and compliance,” wrote Sargeant. “The report is expected to detail allegations of failed drug tests and other issues that could result in NCAA infractions and possible sanctions, multiple people familiar with the situation have told NJ Advance Media.”

In addition to a losing season on the field, Rutgers football has dealt with drug suspensions and player arrests off the field this fall.


AD says San Jose State coach Ron Caragher safe for 2016 despite missing bowl game

Ron Caragher
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A 40-23 loss to Boise State Friday condemned San Jose State to a third straight bowl-less season, but Spartans AD Gene Bleymaier said afterwards the setback would not result in a change in job status for head coach Ron Caragher.

“There’s no question about his status,” Bleymaier told the Contra Costa Times. “Ron’s our coach, and he’ll be our coach going forward.”

Hired away from San Diego to replace the departed Mike MacIntyre, Caragher is just 14-22 in three seasons leading the Spartans.

San Jose State did go 6-6 in his debut season of 2013 but did not garner a bowl invite.