It all got started before mid-September and lasted until the beginning of February. This past season’s edition of the coaching carousel went on a tad longer than perhaps anyone could have imagined, but with Central Michigan officially introducing John Bonamego as its new head coach today, we now have closed the book on head coaching changes among major college football programs.
Hopefully, at least.
In all we saw 15 head coaching changes at the FBS level, including seven from power conferences. Three of those power conference coaching changes came in the Big Ten, with Michigan and Nebraska each turning a page with their respective programs and Wisconsin having to react to losing a coach to the Pac-12.
Ready for a quick trip down memory lane? Here is a walk-through of the timeline of events regarding this now completed coaching carousel.
Coaching Carousel Timeline
- September 8, 2014 – SMU head coach June Jones announces his resignation from the head coaching position. SMU names defensive coordinator Tom Mason interim head coach for the remainder of 2014 season.
- September 28, 2014 – Kansas head coach Charlie Weis relieved of his duties. Kansas names defensive coordinator Clint Bowen interim head coach.
- October 5, 2014 – Troy head coach Larry Blakeney announces he will resign at end of 2014 season.
- October 13, 2014 – Buffalo relieves Jeff Quinn of his duties. Buffalo names Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Alex Wood interim head coach.
- November 16, 2014 – Florida announces Will Muschamp will be dismissed at the end of the regular season.
- November 28, 2014 – UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck resigns from position.
- November 30, 2014 – Nebraska fires Bo Pelini, effective immediately. Running game coordinator Barney Cotton named interim coach for bowl game.
- November 30, 2014 – Troy announces Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown will be new head coach.
- November 30, 2014 – SMU announces it will hire Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to be new head coach.
- November 30, 2014 – Buffalo hires Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach Lance Leipold to be new head coach.
- December 1, 2014 – Tulsa fires head coach Bill Blankenship.
- December 2, 2014 – Michigan fires head coach Brady Hoke.
- December 4, 2014 – Florida hires Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain to be new head coach.
- December 4, 2014 – Nebraska hires Oregon State head coach Mike Riley to be new head coach.
- December 5, 2014 – Kansas hires Texas A&M wide receivers coach David Beaty to be new head coach.
- December 8, 2014 – Houston relieves head coach Tony Levine of duties.
- December 8, 2014 – UNLV reportedly set to hire Bishop Gorman High School (NV) head coach Tony Sanchez as new head coach.
- December 10, 2014 – Oregon State hires Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen to be new head coach.
- December 11, 2014 – Tulsa hires Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery to be new head coach.
- December 12, 2014 – Wisconsin hires Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst to be new head coach.
- December 15, 2014 – Houston hires Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Tom Herman to be new head coach.
- December 22, 2014 – Colorado State hires Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to be new head coach.
- December 26, 2014 – Pittsburgh hires Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to be new head coach.
- December 29, 2014 – Michigan hires former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to be new head coach.
- January 22, 2015 – Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos leaves job to accept position as Arkansas offensive coordinator.
- February 8, 2015 – Central Michigan hires Detroit Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego as new head coach.
Mississippi State has officially responded publicly to the brouhaha kicked up by their new head football coach.
Last Thursday, Mike Leach sent out a tweet in which he apologized for anyone he offended in a previous tweet. In the controversial tweet in question, the caption read “After 2 weeks of quarantine with her husband, Gertrude decided to knit him a scarf..” The picture attached to it? An elderly woman knitting a noose.
A handful of Leach’s followers were offended by the tweet. In response to Leach’s original tweet, Mississippi State football player Fabien Lovett wrote simply, “Wtf.” Lovett soon thereafter announced that he was entering the transfer portal; his father confirmed later that the tweet played a role. Monday, one of Lovett’s, Brevyn Jones, announced that he too will be transferring.
In the midst of that social media maelstrom, Mississippi State had been largely silent. Until now. In a statement, MSU athletic director John Cohen expressed disappointment in Leach’s tweet. He also stated that the university is confident that Leach has learned from what was described as a “misstep.”
Below is the statement, in its entirety.
No matter the context, for many Americans the image of a noose is never appropriate and that’s particularly true in the South and in Mississippi. Mississippi State University was disappointed in the use of such an image in a tweet by Coach Mike Leach. He removed the tweet and issued a public apology. The university is confident that Coach Leach is moving quickly and sincerely past this unintended misstep and will provide the leadership for our student-athletes and excitement for our football program that our fans deserve and that our students and alumni will be proud to support.
To ensure that Leach has learned from his “misstep,” Mississippi State also announced the following steps it will take when it comes to its head football coach.
Cohen said that a plan is in place for Coach Leach to participate in additional listening sessions with student, alumni, and community groups and to provide the coach with opportunities to expand his cultural awareness of Mississippi. One of those opportunities will include a guided visit to the “Two Museums” – the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum – in Jackson as soon as restrictions from the current public health crisis will allow.
Arizona State linebacker Tyler Johnson announced after the Sun Devils’ Sun Bowl win that he planned to retire from football for medical reasons. On Tuesday, Sun Devil Source reported Johnson has changed his mind.
A 6-foot-5, 258-pound junior defensive lineman, Johnson collected 22 tackles, 5.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks in 2019 while battling injuries throughout.
Johnson recorded four sacks in the final seven games of his redshirt freshman season of 2018.
Considered one of Arizona State’s best pass rushers when healthy, Johnson is expected to move from linebacker to defensive end as the Sun Devils move from a 3-3-5 to a 4-3 scheme.
In arguing that coaches should get back to work on May 1 and the season should start on time, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy inadvertently argued that college football players are professional athletes. That, or indentured servants.
In an hourlong teleconference Tuesday that began with a 20-minute monologue, Gundy said, though he’s not 100 percent, the season should begin on time because players are young and, thus, “have the ability to fight this virus off” and because “we need to run money through the state of Oklahoma.”
He also said there are “too many people that are relying on” college football the sport not to be played.
Gundy floated the idea that games could be played without fans in the stands and students on campus.
Others can debate about Gundy’s thoughts on testing and antibodies and the ability of a 22-year-old to “fight off COVID-19” — though I’d add Boise assistant Zac Alley, a 26-year-old, said his bout with the disease was like breathing with a knife in his ribs — but I’d like to talk about the economic implications of Gundy’s comments.
Gundy is not wrong at all that plenty of families depend on college athletics to put food on the table and that Cowboy football is an important economic engine of the state of Oklahoma. He’s exactly right, of course.
But to argue that a college scholarship is appropriate compensation for risking exposure to the virus while fans and students remain home — “We’re trying to find a way to pay everybody’s salary and keep the economy going.” — then either the players deserve a cut of that economy, or they’re nothing more than indentured servants whose labor belongs to others.
“I’m not taking away from the danger of people getting sick,” Gundy said. “You have the virus, stay healthy, try to do what we can to help people that are sick, and we’re losing lives, which is just terrible. The second part of it is that we still have to schedule and continue to move forward as life goes on and help those people.”
Boise State assistant coach Zac Alley revealed to reporters on Tuesday that is among the 392,000 and counting Americans to test positive for COVID-19. And he said it was terrible.
“I had no symptoms, no anything, and in about a 24-hour period I went from 0 to 100,” Alley told the Idaho Press. “I just had some sharp pains in my chest and all that. It got to a point that night where I was pretty short of breath and couldn’t breathe, and thankfully my girlfriend was like ‘we’re going to the ER’. When we got there they were saying thank God you came in.
“Every breath was kind of like taking a knife and sticking it through your ribs.”
Alley, 26, is in his second year on Boise State’s staff, where he coaches the Broncos’ outside linebackers and co-coordinates the special teams. He spent his previous eight years at Clemson as an undergraduate and graduate assistant.
He said he and his girlfriend quarantined at home as all good citizens have, and the only place he’d ventured out was the grocery store, where he theorizes he contracted the coronavirus from a shopping cart.
“As a young healthy person I didn’t think it would affect me as drastically as it did,” Alley said. “I mean my health deteriorated so fast and really I didn’t show any traditional symptoms of what they were saying other than the shortness of breath.”
Alley spent one day at the hospital but was discharged the same day. He is now symptom free.