Unfortunately, the regular college football season has come to an end. While the action on the field may be slowing down, the end of the regular season opens the floodgates for big activity in the coaching market. Which head coaches have been fired? Who changes to another job? Here is a running list of the ongoing movement in the college football coaching carousel. This is updated chronologically.
Official: Wisconsin hires Luke Fickell
Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell officially joins the Big Ten.
Wisconsin announced Sunday night that it had hired Fickell to replace Paul Chryst.
“I’m incredibly excited to announce Luke Fickell as our new head coach and to welcome his entire family to Madison,” said Chris McIntosh, Wisconsin athletic director. “Luke is one of the best football coaches in the country. He’s a proven winner, recruiter and player developer.”
Fickell added, “My family and I are thrilled to join the Wisconsin family. This is a target job in a program I’ve admired from afar for years. I totally agree with Chris McIntosh’s vision for this program. It’s a tremendous foundation here that I can’t wait to build on.”
Click here to learn more about Fickell and Wisconsin.
Georgia Tech, Willie Fritz on the verge of a deal?
Georgia Tech appears to be close to employment.
According to the Atlanta Journal and The Athletic constitution, the school has reached an agreement to hire a new coach. And that coach is “by all indications” Willie Fritz of Tulane.
ESPN reports that Fritz was interviewed for the GT job on Sunday but no deal has been forthcoming.
Fritz, 62, has won everywhere he’s been – from Junior College, Division II, FCS and FBS. Now he’s getting a shot at a Power Five job.
Two days ago, Fritz’s Tulane team beat Cincinnati on the road to earn a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game. Tulane will host UCF in that game next Saturday in New Orleans.
Fritz is in his seventh season at Tulane, a program that has traditionally struggled for victory. Prior to Fritz’s arrival, Tulane had just one winning record in the last 13 seasons. Under Fritz, Tulane had a three-time winning record and achieved bowl eligibility four times. Before Fritz Tulane coached to a Cure Bowl win in 2018, Tulane had not won a bowl game since 2002.
In 2021, Tulane endured a brutal 2–10 season, with much of it being sidelined due to Hurricane Ida. This year, the Green Wave hit back hard and entered the AAC title game with a score of 10:2. Tulane’s last 10-win season came in 1998.
Prior to Tulane, Fritz was the head coach of Blinn Junior College for four years, Central Missouri for 13 years, Sam Houston State for four years and Georgia Southern for two years.
If the hiring goes through, Fritz will replace Geoff Collins, who was fired after a 1-3 start and a 10-28 overall record with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech finished the year 5-7 and went 4-4 under interim head coach Brent Key.
Tulsa splits with Philip Montgomery
Tulsa has made a coaching change.
The school announced on Sunday that it had fired coach Philip Montgomery. Tulsa defeated Houston on Saturday to end the season 5-7.
Montgomery has been at Tulsa since 2015 after being hired by the Baylor coaching staff and has a career record of 43-53 at the school. Tulsa attended four bowl games in his eight years and even won 10 games in a 2016 campaign that culminated in a Miami Beach Bowl win.
But Tulsa slacked off that season with a 2-10 season in 2017 and hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since. The Golden Hurricane was 7-6 in 2021 and 6-3 in 2020 after losing three in a row.
The state of Texas fires Jake Spavital
After four seasons, Texas State is making the switch from Jake Spavital, who had a 13-35 record during his tenure. The Bobcats went 3-9 in his freshman season, 2-10 in his sophomore season, and then went 4-8 in 2021 and 2022.
Spavital relied heavily on junior college transfers, adding players from the transfer portal to create its rosters rather than recruiting from Texas high schools. This approach didn’t work for Spavital.
Is Luke Fickell moving to Wisconsin?
Since Wisconsin fired Paul Chryst on October 2, signs have pointed to Jim Leonhard being appointed to the full-time job.
Leonhard, a Wisconsin native, UW football graduate and longtime NFL player, was Chryst’s defensive coordinator and is considered a rising star in the coaching industry. After Chryst’s firing, he served as the Badgers’ interim head coach for the final seven weeks, but Wisconsin only went 4-3 under his supervision. Wisconsin fell to 6-6 with a loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
On Sunday, it appears the UW brasses are looking in a different direction. ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports that Wisconsin is targeting Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell as its next head coach. No deal has been signed, according to Thamel, but “there is a lot of pressure” from Wisconsin to agree to a deal with Fickell “in the next 48 hours.”
Fickell is 57-18 in six years as Bearcats coach and led UC to the 2021 college football playoffs. Before moving to Cincinnati, he was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2002 to 2016 and served as OSU’s interim head coach in 2011.
Arizona State is hiring 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham
Five years ago, the state of Arizona curiously hired 63-year-old Herm Edwards to run its football program. ASU’s new head coach is half his age.
The Sun Devils announced the signing of 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham on Sunday morning. Dillingham, an Arizona State alum, spent the 2022 season as an offensive coordinator in Oregon. Prior to his season at Eugene, Dillingham served as an offensive coordinator at Memphis, Auburn and Florida State.
The Arizona native becomes the youngest FBS head coach and he inherits a program that went 3-9.
David Shaw resigns after another lost season
David Shaw never won fewer than eight games in his first eight seasons as Stanford head coach. During that span, the Cardinal won three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowls. Things have taken a massive downturn since then, leading to Shaw’s resignation late Saturday night.
Stanford has gone 3-9 in each of the last two seasons with a 3-15 record in Pac-12 play. Shaw resigned after a loss to BYU on Saturday night.
“After much prayer and several discussions with my wife, one phrase keeps coming to mind—it’s time,” Shaw said. “There are not enough words to describe the love and gratitude I have for my family, all my past and current players, my staff, this administration and the entire Stanford family. I thank all of you.”
In 12 seasons, Shaw had a 96-54 record at his alma mater. He is the most successful coach in the history of the program.
FAU is leaving Willie Taggart after 3 seasons
Willie Taggart’s tenure at Florida Atlantic has ended after three seasons. Taggart went 15-18 in three seasons as manager of the Owls and only made one bowl.
FAU lost to Western Kentucky 32-31 in overtime on Saturday to drop to 5-7 on the year. Taggart has been a head coach at Florida State, Oregon, South Florida and Western Kentucky.
Nebraska signs Matt Rhule
Nebraska and Matt Rhule have agreed on an eight-year deal for Rhule as the Huskers’ new head coach.
Rhule has had a rough run recently as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, but he made major changes at Temple and Baylor.
Under Rhule’s supervision, Temple went up from 2-10 in his freshman season and won a total of 20 games, including a conference title, in his last two seasons with the program. Rhule then went to Baylor in the aftermath of the Art Briles scandal. The Bears went 1-11 in Rhule’s freshman season. By year 3, Baylor was winning 11 games and playing for the Big 12 championship.
A similarly difficult conversion is facing Rhule in Lincoln. Nebraska has not won a season since 2016. The Huskers finished the 2022 season 4-8 and have a combined 23-45 record for the past six seasons.