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June 2, 2008

More than ever, new coaches must win now

There will be 18 new coaches in Division I-A this season. If recent history is a guide, a good bet is that more than half of them will be gone by the time the 2013 season rolls around.

A look at coaching changes in the past six offseasons.
Season Changes Already fired
200413 6
200318 12
In the past six years, 2003 through this offseason, there have been 101 coaching hires. Almost 25 percent 23 coaches no longer are in those jobs, for various reasons. But that "almost 25 percent" total is somewhat misleading on the low side.

Consider that more than half those hires (53 of them) have been made in the past three years. Throw those out and of the other 48 hires, 21 coaches no longer are in those jobs. That's a staggering 44 percent.

And when you consider just "Big Six" schools, the numbers are even worse. From 2003-05, there were 27 coaching changes made at "Big Six" schools and 14 of those coaches already are gone. That's 52 percent.

It used to be standard operating procedure that a coach would get five years to implement his plan. In essence, that's one recruiting class going through school, from freshman season through a senior year (including redshirting).

That's not SOP anymore.

"First-year coaches are expected to win right away," new Houston coach Kevin Sumlin told Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart last month. "That's why we were hired. It doesn't matter if it's fair or not. The days of the 'five-year plan' are over."

There were 18 coaches hired after the 2002 season, and two-thirds of them already are gone. Here's a look at the schools that already have made changes, with coaches who left for other jobs marked with asterisks:
Alabama: Mike Shula
Baylor: Guy Morriss
East Carolina: John Thompson
Houston: Art Briles *
Louisville: Bobby Petrino *
Michigan State: John L. Smith
Texas A&M: Dennis Franchione
Tulsa: Steve Kragthorpe *
UCLA: Karl Dorrell
Utah: Urban Meyer *
Washington: Keith Gilbertson
Washington State: Bill Doba
The six schools that haven't made a change since those hirings: Ball State with Brady Hoke, Bowling Green with Gregg Brandon, Kentucky with Rich Brooks, Louisiana-Monroe with Charlie Weatherbie, Oregon State with Mike Riley and Wyoming with Joe Glenn.
There were 13 coaches hired after the 2003 season, and almost half already are gone. Here's a look at the schools that already have made changes, with coaches who left for other jobs marked with asterisks:
Army: Bobby Ross
Central Michigan: Brian Kelly*
Cincinnati: Mark Dantonio *
Duke: Ted Roof
Idaho: Nick Holt *
Nebraska: Bill Callahan
The seven schools that haven't made a change since those hirings: Akron with J.D. Brookhart, Arizona with Mike Stoops, Eastern Michigan with Jeff Genyk, Mississippi State with Sylvester Croom, Nevada with Chris Ault, UCF with George O'Leary and UTEP with Mike Price.
That five-year model didn't work too well for those hired before the before the 2003 season. There were 18 hires that offseason, and 12 coaches already are gone. It's eight of 10 among the "Big Six" hires.

Actually, a four -year model didn't work too well for those hired before the 2004 season. Six of the 13 coaches hired that offseason already are gone, including three of the five "Big Six" guys.

Heck, two coaches hired before the 2005 season already have been fired, both at "Big Six" schools.

The expectation to "win now," especially at "Big Six" schools, has been heightened because of the success of some new coaches. Miami's Larry Coker, Florida's Urban Meyer, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Ohio State's Jim Tressel won national titles in their first or second seasons at their schools this decade. LSU's Les Miles won it all in his third season at the school.

That those schools have a lot going for them apparently is overlooked by numerous ADs when they pull the trigger on a coach after just four or five or even three seasons.

What this all means is you shouldn't get used to the new faces on the sidelines this fall. Chances are they'll be out the door sooner than you think.


Why has everybody been so breathless when they've reported about a proposed SEC network of late? Is there anybody with a pulse who didn't think the league would follow the Big Ten's lead and start its own network? The only surprising thing about this is that the SEC wasn't first.

SMU QB Justin Willis threw 51 TD passes in his first two seasons with the Mustangs seasons in which SMU won a total of seven games. Then SMU goes and hires pass-happy June Jones, which seemingly meant Willis would throw for oh, I don't know 51 TDs this season. Alas, Willis broke some team rules and was suspended in mid-February, which meant he missed spring practice and valuable practice time in Jones' offense. Jones reinstated him last week, and visions of a big season for Willis have to be dancing in the head of SMU fans. Willis will have to beat out redshirt freshman Logan Turner who was the starter during spring ball and true freshman Bo Levi Mitchell in the fall.

Texas A&M redshirt linebacker Derrick Stephens is having to give up football for concussion-related reasons. Stephens has had at least four concussions, and A&M doctors would not clear him to play. The school will honor his scholarship. Stephens had an excellent chance to play this fall for an Aggies defense that needed to be retooled. He was considered one of the nation's top 10 or so linebackers out of Houston's Cypress Fair High in 2006.

Clemson's loss is Memphis' gain. Clemson signed junior college DE Jarrett Crittenton but released him from his letter of intent when officials determined he wasn't going to meet the school's admission requirements. Last Thursday, Memphis announced it had signed Crittenton, a 6-6, 275-pounder from North Dakota State College of Science who was considered one of the nation's top 30 JC players. He originally is from Fayetteville, Ga.

Washington State also released a player from his letter of intent last week but for a different reason. QB Calvin Schmidtke, from Lakewood, Wash., was released from his letter after it was revealed he has been cited by police 11 times in the past 18 months. Media reports says seven of those for traffic offenses but that he also faces DUI and other drug- and alcohol-related charges.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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