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.
SMU has lost its first two games of the season by a combined score of 88-6. This week the Mustangs host No. 6 Texas A&M in the first game since June Jones resigned as head coach. The next two weeks could very easily continue to be sour for the struggling SMU program (TCU is up next after Texas A&M), but interim head coach resigned as head coach. The next two weeks could very easily continue to be sour for the struggling SMU program (TCU is up next after Texas A&M), but interim head coach Tom Mason will continue to keep his team motivated by finding ways to t them to realize a chance at the American Athletic Conference is still within their control.
“I just told them we got to continue to grow, change some things about how we practice, put my stamp on some of that,” Mason said Tuesday when meeting with the media, according to The Dallas Morning News. “It’s not going to be one of those quick fixes (but) I told them we have a lot left to play for. We have a conference championship left to play for a bowl game is still out there. And this team is still capable of doing that.”
“We’re young,” Mason said. “We don’t know how to practice yet obviously. We can get better every week (then) by the time we hit conference we might be a decent football team.”
The good news for Mason is there appears to be nowhere to go but up right now for this SMU program. There is plenty of work to do though. The program has lost its starting quarterback and the face of the program’s history has not held back in his criticisms. Yesterday SMU hired former Florida assistant coach Tim Davis to help improve the offensive line.
The rebuilding project is officially on, again.
SMU was the sacrificial lamb for the opening of Baylor’s brand new football stadium Sunday night. Unfortunately for the June Jones and his Mustangs, SMU was unable to play the same kind of a spoiler role as UTSA was able to do at Houston on Saturday (Larry Coker‘s Roadrunners dominated and shutdown Houston’s potent offense in the opener for their new stadium). SMU was blown away by Baylor, 45-0. Jones knew Baylor was good on defense, but even he didn’t quite expect the Bears to handle them as well as they did.
“We knew they were a pretty good defense,” Jones said after the game, per The Dallas Morning News. “We knew they were more talented than what they’ve had been given credit for. But I didn’t expect us not be able to block them at all.”
“We scripted a lot of things to get the ball out quickly, but we did not do what we needed to do to win the football game,” Jones added. “It’s hard for the quarterback to go back and throw anything when he doesn’t have the time. We could not protect the quarterback.”
Baylor held SMU to just 67 total yards of offense. The Mustangs managed 91 passing yards, but quarterbacks were swallowed up for a loss of 58 yards, SMU’s rushing offense ended the night with a loss of 24 yards on the ground.
Maybe Jones should have chosen a different script, but the end result may not have been much different. Baylor is just playing on an entirely different field SMU is prepared for.
It was not pretty, but UCF will take it. The Golden Knights clinched the outright American Athletic Conference championship by coming from behind int he second half at SMU, 17-13. It was the seventh time this season UCF won a game by seven points or less.
This was the coldest game in UCF program history, and there were times when it was clear the temperature was causing some problems for quarterback Blake Bortles and the rest of the offense. Bortles had a football slip out of his hands while on the move and receivers had a tough time holding on to the football. UCF started cold as well, scoring just three points and trailing the Mustangs 10-3 at the half. Things were not much prettier in the second half, but it worked for UCF as the offense finally found some plays to build on.
Bortles rushed for two touchdowns in the third quarter to give UCF the lead and the score stayed there though the entire fourth quarter. He ended his day completing 24 of 35 pass attempts for 242 yards. SMU quarterback Neal Burcham, playing in place of an injured Garrett Gilbert, had to be taken out of the game in the fourth quarter after landing hard on the cold turf and suffering a concussion. That left the bowl hopes of SMU in the hands of Garrett Krstitch, a very inexperienced quarterback. Krstitch was intercepted once and was unable to lead SMU back late in the game.
The loss ensures SMU they will stay home this postseason. SMU had played in four straight bowl games entering this season under head coach June Jones. After seeing the football team’s win total diminish each of the past two years now, what kind of changes are on the way in Dallas could be interesting to watch.
UCF now awaits to find out their official BCS bowl destination, although it is expected they will be heading to the Fiesta Bowl. The Orange Bowl would be more desirable for UCF though, given the in-state proximity and the number of fans already saving up for an overseas trip to play Penn State in Ireland to open the 2014 season.