Coming off a four-win season, one wouldn’t expect a head coach to be on the receiving end of some additional job security. Considering the state of the football program Justin Fuente inherited, however, it makes sense on multiple levels.
Memphis announced in a press release Wednesday that Fuente has received a one-year extension to his original contract. The first-year coach is now signed through the 2017 season.
Per the release, the other terms of his contract remain the same, which means essentially that Fuente did not receive a bump in pay to go along with the extension.
“Justin Fuente has met or exceeded every expectation we had for him during his first ten months as the head coach for the Tiger football program,” athletic director Tom Bowen said in a statement. “His program made impressive strides throughout the 2012 season and continues to be headed in the right direction. Now we, as a department, need to create a structure of support to work in unison with Coach Fuente and his program.”
While the Tigers finished the 2012 season at just 4-8, the win total was just one less than the football program had in the past three seasons combined. All four of the Tigers’ wins last year came in Conference USA play; the team won just two conference games from 2009-11.
Memphis, which will officially move from Conference USA to the Big East July 1 of this year, will carry a three-game winning streak into the 2013 season, matching the longest winning streak for the program since the Tigers won five games in a row way back in 2003.
“I am appreciative of Dr. Shirley Raines and Tom Bowen’s commitment to help build this football program,” Fuente said. “As evidenced by the final month of the season, we have laid a solid foundation for the future. I have been told our student-athletes are working hard during our off-season conditioning program, and the coaching staff is looking forward to preparing our players this spring for what is ahead for Tiger Football.”
After a year away from the head-coaching game, Sonny Dykes is back in it.
Not long after reports had surfaced earlier Monday, SMU confirmed a short time ago that Dykes has been named as the football program’s new head football coach. Dykes replaces Chad Morris, who left for the same job at Arkansas late last week.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be introduced as the Head Coach at SMU,” a lengthy statement from Dykes began. “This is home and this is a program I grew up watching. I watched Mustang legends compete and I could always see myself putting on that iconic pony. Today, I’m proud to do just that.
“Coach Morris did great things here and I am fortunate that I have been selected to take the foundation Chad and his staff put in place and take it to a new level. And, make no mistake – That is what we plan to do.”
Prior to 2017, Dykes had spent the previous seven seasons as a head coach — four at Cal (2013-16) and three at Louisiana Tech (2010-12). After being fired by the former school, he was considered a candidate for the offensive coordinator position at Arizona State. Family issues, however, made TCU a better fit as he spent this past season as an offensive analyst with the Horned Frogs.
A native of Texas who played college baseball for Texas Tech, Dykes has gone 41-45 as a head coach — 22-15 at Louisiana Tech, 19-30 at Cal.
In Morris’ third season at SMU, the 7-5 Mustangs are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.
The Dan Mullen era has everyone excited in Gainesville, but one key contributor won’t stick around to see it.
Defensive lineman Taven Bryan announced Monday he will leave school to enter his name in the 2018 NFL Draft. According to the statement released on his Twitter account, it sounds as if he made his mind up during the Jim McElwain and Randy Shannon regimes and nearly returned upon Mullen’s arrival.
Bryan ranked fifth on the team with 40 tackles while also recording six TFL and four sacks, just half a sack off the team lead.
A native of Casper, Wyo., Bryan will attempt to become just the third Wyoming native to be among the ranks of active NFL players.
Sonny Dykes will take over as SMU’s head coach, according to multiple reports. The move was first reported by FotballScoop on Monday morning, and since confirmed by ESPN and Sports Illustrated.
Dykes takes over for Chad Morris, who left last week to become the head coach at Arkansas.
Morris was hired to re-establish ties with the Texas high school community after the program flatlined under June Jones, and Dykes has a similar appeal as his predecessor. Like Morris, Dykes is a former Texas high school coach, though only briefly. (He spent one year as the running backs coach at Richardson Pearce High School in 1994.) But more importantly he’s a name that will resonate with Texas high school coaches as the son of the legendary Spike Dykes.
The younger Dykes served as an assistant at Navarro Junior College and Texas Tech before taking over as the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he led the Bulldogs to a 22-15 mark with one WAC championship from 2010-12. That success led him to Cal, where he took the Golden Bears to one bowl game in four seasons.
He was let go after the 2016 season, and spent the 2017 campaign laying low nearby the Hilltop, as an offensive analyst at TCU.
Dykes will inherit a 7-5 SMU team that ranked eighth nationally in scoring offense and 113th in scoring defense. The Mustangs will meet Dykes’s former team Louisiana Tech in the inaugural Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Interim head coach Jeff Traylor garnered significant support inside the locker room to take over on a full-time basis, so it will be interesting to see if Dykes works to keep the former Texas high school coach on staff, perhaps in an offensive coordinator capacity.
It can be argued Tavita Pritchard started the current era of Stanford football. Trailing 23-17 with 48 seconds left, it was Pritchard that hit Mark Bradford for a 10-yard touchdown to push the Cardinal past No. 2 USC for a 24-23 win in 2007, at the time the largest point-spread upset in college football history and kickstarting the Jim Harbaugh–David Shaw era that continues today.
And now it will be Pritchard’s job to keep the ball he first pushed way back when rolling.
According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, Pritchard will be named Stanford’s offensive coordinator.
Still only 30, Pritchard graduated from Stanford in 2009, but he never really left the Stanford football program. He volunteered with the coaching staff in 2010, began working with the Cardinal defense in 2011 and was promoted to the full-time coaching staff in 2013, working with the running backs.
Pritchard was moved to quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2014 and has remained there the past four seasons, but is now in line to take over the entire offense with offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren now the head coach at Rice.
Led by Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love, Stanford concluded the regular season ranked 32nd in rushing, 61st in passing efficiency, 19th in yards per play and 39th in scoring at 32.0 points per game. The 13th-ranked and Pac-12 North champion Cardinal will meet No. 15 TCU in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).