NCAA Football Coaches Out of Work

Surprising number of coaches don’t survive 2015 season

September 5, 2015 - Memphis head coach Justin Fuente (right) celebrates a touchdown with special teams coordinator James Shibest (left) against Missouri State during first quarter action at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Saturday, September 5, 2015 in Memphis Tenn. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mark Weber)
September 5, 2015 – Memphis head coach Justin Fuente (right) celebrates a touchdown with special teams coordinator James Shibest (left) against Missouri State during first quarter action at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Saturday, September 5, 2015 in Memphis Tenn. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mark Weber)

When Tennessee and Virginia Tech finally signed to play the Battle of Bristol in 2016, I found myself wondering if Butch Jones or Frank Beamer would actually be around to coach in the much-anticipated game that was more than two decades in the making.

One had to think there was a strong possibility that Beamer or Jones (or both) would be gone by 2016. Let’s face it; both the Volunteers and the Hokies were playing great football when fans started clamoring for a game to be played in the Last Great Coliseum in the mid-to-late 1990s.

Today, the Hokies have fallen on hard times (and Beamer has announced that the 2015 season will be his last in Blacksburg). As for the Big Orange and Jones, the Vols spend their time these days just trying to become bowl eligible, and their third-year coach is taking paranoia to a new high.

Jones appears safe (for now) and Beamer is one of several coaches to retire or be fired in 2015 and the season recently entered its home stretch. Beamer’s retirement begins at the end of the season while South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Central Florida’s George O’Leary have already walked away from their posts.

That was only the beginning. Southern Cal’s Steve Sarkisian got canned because he had a drinking problem. Maryland’s Randy Edsall received a pink slip after the Terrapins showed everybody that they couldn’t hack it in the Big 10 for a second consecutive season.

The Terps are one of three Big 10 teams that will have a new coach in 2016. Illinois fired Tim Beckman before the 2015 campaign even started and Minnesota’s Jerry Kill had to retire for health reasons.

North Texas coach Dan McCarney didn’t even survive the season and was canned before the Mean Green came to Knoxville for Tennessee’s homecoming game.

Miami coach Al Golden got his pink slip after the Hurricanes laid an egg in an embarrassing loss to top-ranked Clemson at home.

All these schools will have openings come season’s end and all have pretty much been silent about their plans after the tumultuous 2015 season ends.

Of all these open jobs, only Miami and USC are desirable jobs. And the Trojans have been unstable to say the least since Pat Haden became athletic director in Los Angeles. He’s already fired Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron and Sarkisian, so who has to wonder why anybody with half a brain would want to get involved in that mess.

At Miami, the Hurricanes have their own problems. They play miles away from campus, have sub-par facilities and just can’t quite get the best players in the Sunshine State. Florida and Florida State have cornered the market on those guys. Golden was a bad fit in Coral Gables and he should have never left Temple.

Butch Davis has expressed an interest in returning to Miami. But will the administration welcome his return?

In Orlando, the Knights had a great 2014 season but a winless 2015 campaign proved too much for O’Leary to handle.

Houston Nutt has expressed interest in replacing O’Leary but Nutt’s act wore thin at Arkansas and Ole Miss.

As for the Gamecocks, Spurrier made that job attractive but he’s also raised expectations in Columbia and not just any coach can step in and keep things going.

As far as the openings in Champaign, North Texas, College Park and Minnesota, those jobs have never been all that attractive. Those are basketball schools.

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