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The 2006-'07 Coaching Carousel

Update [2006-12-31 21:12:25 by JazzyUte]: Air Force has hired Houston Texans offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun. Calhoun replaces DeBerry, who resigned from the Falcons in December. Minnesota has fired head coach Glenn Mason. Mason and the Gophers were on the wrong end of the biggest bowl comeback in NCAA history. Mason had signed a 4-year contract extention a year ago.

Update [2006-12-21 3:55:46 by JazzyUte]: Some updated information on coaching changes. Jeff Jagodzinski, the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, has been named the head coach of Boston College. He replaces Tom O'Brien, who left for North Carolina State earlier this month.

Miami Hurricanes offensive line coach Mario Cristobal has been named the head coach of Florida International. He replaces Don Strock, who resigned on November 15th.

Idaho has named Washington State defensive coordinator Robb Akey as their head coach. He replaces Dennis Erickson, the new head coach at Arizona State.

Miami Dolphins TE coach Derek Dooley has replaced Jack Bicknell at Louisiana Tech. Bicknell was fired from the Bulldogs after a 3-10 record this season.

Update [2006-12-19 2:55:20 by JazzyUte]: It's being reported that Stanford has hired San Diego coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback who played 15 seasons in the league, coached the Toreros to a 29-6 record in three seasons. His last two seasons he led San Diego to the mid-major national championship. Harbaugh replaces Walt Harris, who was fired after only two years where he compiled a record of 6-17, including an 1-11 finish this year.

Update [2006-12-18 2:44:23 by JazzyUte]: Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry has retired, leaving the Falcons after 23 seasons as their head coach.

UAB has hired George Offensive Coordinator Neil Callaway. Callaway replaces Watson Brown, who left the Dragons for Tennessee Tech earlier this month.

Update [2006-12-12 15:23:18 by JazzyUte]: Southlake Carroll High School head coach Todd Dodge has accepted an offer to coach North Texas. The Mean Green replace Darrell Dickey, who was fired this season after North Texas struggled to a 3-9 record.

Update [2006-12-11 15:12:17 by JazzyUte]: Bob Toledo, offensive coordinator at New Mexico and former UCLA head coach, has been named the head coach of the Tulane Green Wave. Toledo replaces Scelfo, who was fired after 9 seasons in New Orleans. As head coach of UCLA, Toledo went 49-32 and won two Pacific Ten Championships.

Update [2006-12-10 1:11:36 by JazzyUte]: Arizona State has hired Idaho head coach Dennis Erickson. Erickson, who went 4-8 this season with the Vandals, has won two national championships (both with Miami) and guided Oregon State to the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. Erickson, an over the hill drunk who's coached more felons than a prison football league, will probably have success with the Sun Devils. Enough success in fact, that it wouldn't surprise me if he parlayed that into another job offer. Erickson has been passed around more times than a blunt at a Snoop Dogg party.

It's also being reported that UAB head coach Watson Brown (what is this, a Sherlock Holmes novel?) has accepted the head coaching position at Tennessee Tech. Wow, how bad of a program must you have if your head coach leaves for a D1-AA school? Oh and Watson Brown is the brother of Mack Brown, the current coach of Texas. I bet family renuins suck for him. "Hey Mack, how's it going? I just had my fifth consecutive 5-win season!" "Oh yeah? I just won a national championship." "^#%@!" was Watson's reply.

Update [2006-12-8 15:45:5 by JazzyUte]: It is now being reported that Rich Rodgriguez will stay at West Virginia.

Update [2006-12-8 13:21:27 by JazzyUte]: Miami has promoted defensive coordinator Randy Shannon to replace Larry Coker, who went 6-6 this season. Shannon, a Miami native, will become the first black to ever coach the school.

Update [2006-12-7 23:1:28 by JazzyUte]: West Virginia head coach Rich Rodgriguez has apparently agreed to a contract offer from the Alabama Crimson Tide. It is being reported that Rodriguez will be paid $2 million a year to coach the Tide.

Update [2006-12-6 22:28:40 by JazzyUte]: Rumors are flying that Boston College head coach Tom O'Brien has accepted an offer to coach the North Carolina State Wolfpack. With a name like O'Brien, you're suited for two schools, Notre Dame or Boston College. I don't think North Carolina State is any better of a program than Boston College and jumping to another program within the same conference can definitely cause problems.

One of the most exciting and down right scary times for a football program is transition. One hire can shape the program's future for years to come, with either good or bad results. In 2002 when Utah fired its long time head coach Ron McBride, a few skeptical people said the Utes could never do better. It was a risk, knowing that McBride was good most years for at least a winning season, but rarely anything more. But the Utes wanted more and decided to hire a little known coach from Bowling Green. Four years later and that coach is getting ready to play in the national championship.

These are the moments that define college football programs. Alabama, after the whole Mike Price debacle, hired Mike Shula in hopes that he could revive a once proud program. Outside of his success in 2005, Shula has proven to be a mediocre coach and is now without a job. The current job search for the Crimson Tide has not gone over well. Every coach they've contacted has declined the offer. Could the firing of Shula hurt 'Bama football in the long run? Well we won't know for a while, but one could speculate that coaches aren't accepting contract offers from Alabama -- one of football's proudest programs -- because they fear, like Shula, they won't be given a realistic timeframe to bring the Tide back.

Everyone knew Alabama would struggle this season, as they had to nearly rebuild their entire defense, yet one couldn't deny Shula's 10-2 season the year before. What kind of security does Alabama offer Rich Rodriguez, who's pretty much God at West Virginia or Steve Spurrier, who knows a more lucrative offer will most likely come a year or two later? Here's a hint, not much. If Mike Shula can get canned after a season removed from 10-2, a rebuilding season at that, what does that tell Rodriguez, who went 3-8 in his first season with the Mountaineers? I'm sure it tells him a lot.

I've used Alabama as an example because they've always been one of the big boys of college football. Whether that's still the case isn't necessarily up for debate right now, but I don't think anyone can deny that the job has a lot more perks than say Mississippi State. But what Alabama has gone through the past decade has shown how one bad hire after another can undo a tradition built over many decades of success. As hard as it may be for Alabama fans to accept, they just aren't relevant in college football at the moment. They're, like the rest of the mid-tier BCS and non-BCS, stuck looking up to the USC's, Ohio State's and Florida's of the world. And I'm guessing you can track their downfall through one bad coaching hire. Showing just how important moments like these truly are.

With all this said, here's a look at this year's coaching carousel, which I'll update whenever a change is made.

Team Who's In Who's Out Why
Air Force Troy Calhoun Fisher DeBerry Resigned
Alabama -- Mike Shula Fired
Arizona State Dennis Erickson Dirk Koetter Fired
Boston College Jeff Jagodzinski Tom O'Brien Hired at NC State
Central Michigan -- Brian Kelly Hired at Cincinnati
Cincinnati Brian Kelly Mark Dantonio Hired at Michigan State
Florida International Mario Cristobal Don Strock Resigned
Idaho Robb Akey Dennis Erickson Hired at Arizona State
Iowa State Gene Chizik Dan McCarney Resigned
Louisiana Tech Derek Dooley Jack Bicknell Fired
Miami Randy Shannon Larry Coker Fired
Michigan State Mark Dantonio John L. Smith Fired
Minnesota -- Glenn Mason Fired
NC State Tom O'Brien Chuck Amato Fired
North Carolina Butch Davis John Bunting Fired
North Texas Todd Dodge Darrell Dickey Fired
Stanford Jim Harbaugh Walt Harris Fired
Tulane Bob Toledo Chris Scelfo Fired
UAB Neil Callaway Watson Brown Hired at Tennessee Tech