As the Tulsa Golden Hurricane prepares for Friday’s contest against the East Carolina Pirates, it may be the last time head coach Bill Blankenship leads the team unto the field.
Conflicting reports surfaced earlier in the evening regarding Blankenship’s future with the program.
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman originally reported Blankenship will be dismissed after tonight’s game. However, the Tulsa World‘s John Hoover spoke with Tulsa University president Steadman Upham, who claimed a decision hasn’t been made. Hoover admitted the dismissal is still expected, though.
The Golden Hurricane is 2-9 this season and currently in ninth place during the program’s first season as part of the American Athletic Conference.
During Blankenship’s tenure, the team fell apart during the past two seasons. Last year’s 3-9 served as a precursor to the current disappointing campaign. Blankenship is 24-26 overall entering tonight’s game.
However, expectations were raised in Tulsa due to the success of the coaches that immediately predated Blankenship. From 2003-10, the Golden Hurricane was 64-39 overall under the direction of Steve Kragthorpe and then Todd Graham.
Both coaches went on to accept higher-profile jobs before the reins were eventually handed to Blankenship, a former Tulsa quarterback who never coached at any level above the high school ranks before being named an assistant coach under Graham.
During two non-competitive seasons, a program that was previously known for producing great offensive football and served as a hotbed for the next top name in coaching circles devolved under Blankenship’s direction.
Upham may be waiting to make his decision, but it’s clear which direction he should be leaning.