Here are my predictions as to which head coaches will be let go at season’s end… Although it is never ideal to see a coach fired and put in a position to relocate his family, you gotta remember that these firings give new opportunities for other coaches..
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Frank Beamer will not be fired. However, he will likely step down after Tech’s disappointing season this year. He has been a great coach for twenty-eight years now, and his efforts to improve the program over that time-frame should be applauded. The logical successor would be Bud Foster, who has served as his lieutenant and defensive coordinator for quite some time now. However, with Whit Babcock as the new A.D. in town, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him interview external candidates such as Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez or Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. One candidate to rule out is Shane Beamer, the team’s wide receivers coach and son of Frank. He will likely be a head coach at a smaller program before he returns to Blacksburg, if he ever does.
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Quite frankly, I’m on the fence as to whether Mike Thomas (A.D.) ends up keeping Beckman on board for another season or not. I lean to believe that Beckman will be let go because he hasn’t really done the job well all season long, with blowout losses to Iowa, Ohio State, and Washington and an upset loss to Purdue. Despite the Fighting Illini’s upset of Minnesota earlier this season and last weekend’s win against Penn State, I think they’d be better off to move in a new direction. Potential candidates for this job include Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State’s defensive coordinator and Mark Dantonio’s second-in-command, and the in-house candidate Bill Cubit, who currently serves as offensive coordinator and was Western Michigan’s head coach two seasons ago.
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa
Tulsa’s move to the American Athletic Conference this season was a huge disappointment for many, as they only have two wins, one against the winless SMU Mustangs. Bill Blankenship will most likely be let go after the season’s finale against East Carolina. Personally, I believe that Tulsa is a good opportunity for a first-time head coach. Tulsa has been very good in the past, and launched the careers of Todd Graham (ASU Head Coach, former Tulsa H.C.) and Chad Morris (SMU Head Coach, former Tulsa O.C.). If they bring in someone like Doug Meacham, TCU’s offensive coordinator, or Rhett Lashlee, Auburn’s offensive coordinator, I’d expect great improvement next season.
Brady Hoke, Michigan
Despite flashy hires on his staff, Brady Hoke has not done enough to improve the state of Michigan’s football program over the past four seasons. Assuming they lose to Ohio State on Saturday, they will fail to make a bowl game. This will likely signal the end of Hoke’s career at Michigan, as I’d be shocked if Jim Hackett, the new Athletics Director, keeps Hoke on for one more season without a bowl appearance. Look for Michigan to bring in a proven head coach, as potential candidates include Mark Stoops, the head coach at Kentucky and member of the renowned Stoops family, and Dan Mullen, who has led Mississippi States to new heights this season.
Doug Martin, New Mexico State
With eight straight losses and two more likely coming, Doug Martin will almost definitely be fired upon season’s end. In his two seasons as head coach, he has done nothing to improve the state of the program. They went in-house two years ago when DeWayne Walker resigned, so expect Gregg Brandon, the team’s offensive coordinator and former head coach at Bowling Green, to be a candidate when the coaching search begins.
Trent Miles, Georgia State
With ten straight losses and another one almost definitely coming, it would be shocking if Trent Miles is not fired after Saturday’s game against Texas State. Miles has only won one game over two seasons, creating a state of turmoil in the program. If I were heading the search for new coach, I’d start by contacting coordinators such as Georgia’s Mike Bobo or Auburn’s Dameyune Craig to poke interest. Another candidate will likely be Jeff Jagodzinski, the in-house offensive coordinator and the former head coach at Boston College.
Paul Petrino, Idaho
The energy has not been there since day one for Petrino, who will likely be fired after Saturday with only one win on the books for this season. Perhaps they will look again to candidates from their search two years ago, namely Jeff Choate, who is now Washington’s defensive line coach, and Chris Tormey, who is now a high school football coach. Another candidate could be Lance Leipold, a perennial champion at D3 Wisconsin-Whitewater who might want to make the jump up to Division I ball.
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
With only two wins in the season so far (and it likely will remain that way), it would be tough to make a case for Paul Rhoads to return next season despite his success over the other five seasons he has coached in Ames. The main reason I expect him to be fired is due to the plethora of top-notch candidates that would be available to Iowa State. If they go through and fire Rhoads, the top candidate to replace him will be Tom Herman, who was his second-in-command three years ago and has tore it up as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator this season. Other candidates could include Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State’s defensive coordinator and Tim Beck, Nebraska’s offensive coordinator.
Ron Turner, Florida International
Turner should never have gotten this job in the first place, as everybody knew that firing Mario Cristobal two years ago was a very poor decision. With that said, Turner will likely be gone since FIU football is in a state of turmoil. They need to look for a coach with ties to in-state recruits, such as Brad Lawing, Florida’s defensive line coach, or Randy Sanders, Florida State’s quarterbacks coach. They could also explore giving a ‘second chance’ to someone like Derek Dooley, Tennessee’s former head coach, or Lane Kiffin, USC’s former head coach.
Will Start 2015 on the “Hot Seat”
– Norm Chow, Hawaii: Has done enough over last couple weeks to save his job, but will definitely start the season on hot seat having only four or five wins at season’s end next week.
– Al Golden, Miami (FL): Golden’s contract will keep his job safe for years to come, unless the boosters feel like paying up the big bucks to pay his buyout.
– Bobby Hauck, UNLV: If it weren’t for his major buyout, I’d expect him to be fired next week. However, I think UNLV keeps him on for one more year, as they don’t have the adequate funds to hire a new head coach and pay his buyout package.
– Darrell Hazell, Purdue: People underestimate the negative effects that come with constant turnaround. Although the Boilermakers have disappointed the past two seasons, they did keep it close with Minnesota and recorded three, maybe four wins, which should be enough to keep Hazell around for at least one more year.
– Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: Although the Mountaineers have disappointed so far, the team has had some bright spots over the year. I’d expect him back for another season.
– Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: Kingsbury has given energy to a program that was lacking it, and despite recording a poor season, he will definitely return for next season.
– Mike McIntyre, Colorado: Although the Buffaloes have disappointed, hiring another head coach after giving McIntyre only two years seems like a faulty decision. He should have at least one more season to turn it around.
– Bo Pelini, Nebraska: It will be very hard for Shawn Eichorst to fire a head coach who is always in bowl games and always wins nine games a season.
– Kevin Wilson, Indiana: Against my better judgment, I believe that Indiana’s A.D. has backed Wilson to the point where he will return next season as head coach.