The coaching carousel got started early and the Texas A&M Aggies were the first to hop on. Texas A&M fired Jimbo Fisher following a 51-10 win over Mississippi State while he still has a $77 million buyout.
That’s the aggressiveness that we’ll see all over college football with big changes to the conferences and an expanded 12-team College Football Playoff coming in 2024. Teams can’t be patient anymore, so there will be plenty of changes and you can follow each one of them here.
Fired: Head coach, Dino Babers
Interim: Nunzio Campanile
Hired: Fran Brown
Dino Babers coached the Orange to a winning record just twice in his eight years at Syracuse. Babers was let go after Syracuse’s 31-22 loss to Georgia Tech to drop its record to 5-6 and Baber’s career record to 41-55.
Fired: Head coach, Jimbo Fisher
Interim: Elijah Robinson
Hired: Mike Elko
In 2020, Jimbo Fisher led the Aggies to an 8-1 record and just missed the College Football Playoff, finishing fifth in the final rankings. That was the peak of his six-year tenure in College Station and it earned him a massive extension.
Now, despite the massive buyout, the Aggies are ready to pay Jimbo to hit the road. He never won more than nine games, despite routinely out-recruiting the best programs in the country. There is a lot of money and talent at A&M right now, so the administration will need to move quickly if they hope to keep Jimbo’s loaded roster intact.
Fired: Head coach, Zach Arnett
Interim: Greg Knox
Hired: Jeff Lebby
Zach Arnett inherited a nearly impossible situation last December after the passing of Mike Leach. New Mississippi State athletic director Zac Selmon is ready for a clean slate in Starkville after just 11 months with Arnett at the helm and only one SEC win.
Fired: Head coach, Andy Avalos
Interim: Spencer Danielson
Hired: Spencer Danielson
Andy Avalos led Boise State to a 10-4 record last season and was named Mountain West Coach of the Year, but a 5-5 start to 2023, just his third season, was enough for Boise State to move on. Avalos went 22-14 over nearly three seasons.
San Diego State
Retired: Head coach, Brady Hoke
Hired: Sean Lewis
Brady Hoke announced on Monday that this will be his final season as the head coach of the San Diego State Aztecs. After a loss in Week 11, SDSU is 3-7 and will miss a bowl game.
Fired with cause: Pat Fitzgerald
Interim: David Braun
Hired: David Braun
Braun inherited a messy situation this offseason and has somehow turned it into a 5-5 record through Week 11 with a chance for the Wildcats to be bowl-eligible. After getting his fifth win in Week 11 against Wisconsin, 24-10, the interim tag was removed from the former defensive coordinator.
Fired with cause: Mel Tucker
Interim: Harlon Barnett
Hired: Jonathan Smith
Tucker was fired earlier this season for violating the ethical conduct portion of his contract at Michigan State.
Michigan State hired Jonathan Smith away from Oregon State after Smith built it up from a two-game winner in 2018 to a 10-game winner in 2022.
Fired: Dana Holgorsen
Interim: Corby Meekins
Hired: Willie Fritz
Holgerson’s tenure at Houston peaked in 2021 with a 12-2 record, but that success wasn’t sustainable and he was let go after a 4-8 campaign in 2023. Houston’s transition to the Big 12 played a role in the program’s decline, but Houston wants a fresh start amidst the continued realignment.
Fired: Tom Allen
Hired: Curt Cignetti
Tom Allen’s best season came in 2020, a pandemic shortened year with Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback. It’s clear now how good Penix Jr. is and was, and Allen was not able to win without him. Indiana went 2-10 in 2021, 4-8 in 2022, and 3-9 in 2023.
Hired away: Jonathan Smith (Michigan State)
Interim: Kefense Hynson
Hired: Trent Bray
Oregon State isn’t just left without a conference as the Pac-12 dissolves into the Pac-2 next season, but the Beavers are without a head coach to guide them through the uncertainty. Smith did a great job building up the program, but another collapse could be on the horizon.
Hired away: Mike Elko (Texas A&M)
Interim: Trooper Taylor
The Duke Blue Devils thought they stumbled into a better version of David Cutcliffe with Mike Elko, a head coach who could provide success and stability at a basketball school. The only problem was that he was a little too good.
Duke went 3-9 in Cutcliffe’s final year, and Elko immediately made the Blue Devils a 9-4 team in 2022. Injuries to Riley Leonard stunted his progress this season, but Texas A&M was sold.
Fired: Danny Gonzales
The New Mexico alum, Gonzales, wasn’t able to build up the program in his four-year tenure. This season he went 4-8, and it was his best year. His overall record was 11-32.
Fired: Terry Bowden
Bowden took over a team that went 0-10 in 2020, and he managed to go 4-8 in back-to-back years. This season, he regressed to 2-10, so the administration decided to move on. UL Monroe hasn’t had a winning season since 2012 and has only made one bowl game in its history.
Middle Tennessee State
Fired: Rick Stockstill
Stockstill coached MTSU since 2006 and has brought them to a bowl game 10 times. However, his four-win season this year was bad enough for the Blue Raiders to move on.
Fired: Dana Dimel
Dimel took over a winless UTEP team and went 2-22 from 2018-19, his first two seasons. By 2021, Dimel led the Miners to a bowl game and finished 7-6, the first winning season since 2014. Then he took a step back going 5-7 and 3-9 which led to his firing.
Fired: Defensive coordinator, Alex Grinch
Interim: Brian Odom and Shaun Nau
Lincoln Riley brought much-maligned defensive coordinator, Alex Grinch with him from Oklahoma to USC and things went from bad to worse on that side of the football. Riley finally moved on from Grinch after a 52-42 loss to Washington.
Fired: Offensive coordinator, Mike Yurcich
Interim: Ja’Juan Seider and Ty Howle
Hired: Andy Kotelnicki
Mike Yurcich is out at Penn State after nearly three seasons and James Franklin will be searching for his sixth offensive coordinator ahead of his 11th season at Penn State. Yurcich was unable to develop five-star sophomore quarterback Drew Allar, who struggled mightily against Michigan in Week 11.
Fired: Offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz
Brian Ferentz is finishing out the season as Iowa’s offensive coordinator but has already been pre-fired from his position. He came into the season with a clause in his contract stating that his offense needed to average at least 25 points per game to keep his job. Iowa is 123rd in the country at 18.8 points per game.
Fired: Offensive coordinator, Walt Bell
Interim: Rod Carey
Indiana’s offense scored a season-high 45 points in a 48-45 loss to Illinois in Week 11.