Saturday, December 3, 2011

College Football Firings


As I sit up in the FAU Press Box for the final time this season, in Boca Raton, Florida., Head Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger will be deservedly celebrated.

Nobody will care what his final record at FAU will be because his contributions to this program go beyond wins and losses.

He's the reason there is a Football Program, Tom Oxley Athletic Center and now FAU Stadium.

The team's national television appearances and two bowl games have put the university on the map and has led to an increased enrollment.

As a new coach gets set to take over and will be announced next week, unlike Schnellenberger, there have been many coaches that haven't been able to go out on their own terms.

They've come from some big name universities. I will list some of the most intriguing firings that have occurred recently.

1. Neil Callaway of UAB lost his job a few days after his team lost to FAU 38-35 on November 26 enabling the Owls to record their first win of the season. In five seasons, Callaway was 21-51 and 3-9 in 2011.

2. The Memphis Tigers, who once lost to FAU in the New Orleans Bowl, fired Larry Porter after a 2-10 season. He was 3-21 in two seasons.

3. Former Florida Gators Coach Ron Zook was a casualty for Illinois after finishing 34-50 in seven seasons. Illinois became the first team in NCAA Division I  FBS history to start a season 6-0, and end it 6-6.

4) After having success at the University of Buffalo leading the Bulls to a Bowl Game, Turner Gill had a 5-19 record in two seasons for the Kansas Jayhawks.

5) Mike Leach will take his high powered passing attack to Washington State as he replaces Paul Wulff. In four years, Wulff complied a 9-40 mark with the Cougars.

6) The Texas A&M Aggies will move into the SEC with a new coach as Mike Sherman was ousted with a 25-25 record in four seasons. Next stop for Sherman, he'll return to the NFL.

7) The University of New Mexico Lobos went to the ESPN Broadcast Booth to find their next coach. Former Notre Dame Coach Bob Davies is the man who has to take this basketball school, piloted by Steve Alford, and has a lot of work to do. The past two plus seasons under Mike Locksley produced a 2-26 mark.

8) The Arizona Wildcats fired Mike Stoops early this season despite three bowl appearances. Stoops compiled a 41-49 record. He was replaced with former West Virginia and Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez.

9) After having success with the UCLA Bruins compiling a 49-32 record, Bob Toledo was unable to duplicate his success with the Tulane Green Wave. In five seasons, he finished with a 15-40 record in Conference USA.

10) Speaking of UCLA, Rick Neuheisel coached his final game for the Bruins in the inaugural Pac 10 Championship Game. The Oregon Ducks hammered UCLA 49-31 as Neuheisel finished with a 21-29 mark in four seasons. His career coaching mark is 87-59.

11) The third Pac 10 coach on this list to be fired was Arizona State Sun Devils boss Dennis Erickson. In five seasons with ASU, Erickson was 31-30 and led the Sun Devils to one bowl game. His overall record in college was 179-96-1 and won two National Championships with the Miami Hurricanes.

12) It's hard to put Luke Fickell on this list because he was just an interim coach that replaced Jim Tressel who left the Ohio State Buckeyes in a cloud of controversy. But Fickell did compile a 6-6 mark in his lone season and was replaced by former Florida Gators Coach Urban Meyer this week.

13) The last person I'm going to mention is a man that I thought I never would. That's former Penn State Nittany Lions Coach Joe Paterno. He leaves the college sidelines with a 409-136-3 record with two National Championships.

Unfortunately, for all of the contributions he's made on the field leaving as the all-time winningest coach in Division I FBS history, one triumph ahead of Paul "Bear" Bryant, Paterno's legacy will now be tied due to an insane sex scandal by his long time Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

If you're looking for a stable career, head coaching at the highest collegiate level requires a lot of moving vans and the exits are not always that pretty.

But I'm glad for Schnellenberger's sake, he did leave on his own terms and now can enjoy retirement as he watches his latest challenge the FAU Owls, build on the foundation that he created.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at and his blog can also be seen on

No comments:

Miami Marlins VS Detroit Tigers, Overview

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH There weren’t too many series that I would make a return trip to a city where there was a big event a couple weeks prior...