We’re not even halfway through the college football season, but it’s never too early to start talking coaching moves. Especially this year, as we’ve already seen one high-profile head coached fired and the proverbial hot seat growing increasingly warmer for many more.
Here is a look at the status of a few big-time coaches that will likely be on the move during the offseason (or sooner):
Les Miles- Formerly LSU
Miles has already been fired by LSU this season after an 18-13 loss to Auburn. Many saw it coming. Some thought he would be let go last season, and it wasn’t until late in 2015 that Miles was told by Athletic Director Joe Alleva that he would keep his job and head back to LSU in 2016.
Miles is 141-55 during his coaching career, and 8-6 in bowl games. He’s won one national title, two SEC championships, and three SEC Western Division championships.
He’s expressed interest in returning to coaching soon, leaving no doubt that he will be leading a program in 2017.
Tom Herman- Houston
Unlike the rest of the coaches that will be mentioned in this article, Herman has no chance of being fired from his role at Houston. However, his return is not likely.
After an incredibly successful stint as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, highlighted by a National Championship in 2014, Herman took over the Houston program in 2015. He led the Cougars to a 13-1 record, American Athletic Conference Championship, and Peach Bowl victory in his first season.
The Cougars were upset by Navy Saturday, but that won’t stop big programs from heavily pursuing Herman. He’ll be the hottest commodity on the market when the coaching carousel really gets spinning.
It’s very likely Herman will take the money and run when this season ends.
Charlie Strong- Texas
Before Strong took over the Texas program in 2014, Longhorns fans had seen just three sub-.500 seasons since 1990. In his first season, Strong’s Longhorns finished 6-7.
In 2015, 5-7.
After two straight victories to start this season, Texas has lost three straight games while giving up an average of 48 points to the opposition.
However, even though Strong is struggling to find success in the Big 12, he did successfully orchestrate the turnaround of a Louisville program that was crumbling under the Steve Kragthorpe era.
Louisville under strong:
2010- 7-6, bowl win
2011- 7-6, Big East Championship
2012- 11-2, Big East Championship, won Sugar Bowl
2013- 12-1, won Russell Athletic Bowl
It has been tough sledding at Texas, but Strong has a very impressive resume and shouldn’t have a problem securing employment if let go by the Longhorns.
Mark Helfrich- Oregon
After two successful years in Eugene to begin his head coaching career, due largely to the foundation Chip Kelly built, Helfrich’s Ducks finished 9-4 in 2015. That was a tough pill to swallow for a fan base that hadn’t seen a four-loss season since 2007.
What’s more, it’s been a rough start to 2016. The Ducks are on a four-game losing streak, capped by Saturday’s 70-21 loss to Washington at home. Oregon hasn’t given up 70 points in a game since 1941.
Thanks to Nike, Oregon is one of the most recognizable brands in college sports, and that brand is in danger of seeing its first losing season in 11 years. Helfrich won’t last if that happens. With the lack of success on his resume, Helfrich likely won’t be in charge of a major program in 2017.
Notable Coaches on a Cooler Hot Seat
Clay Helton, USC– Helton’s Trojans came away with a tough win against 21st ranked Colorado Saturday night, which threw some water on the fire under Helton. USC’s athletic department hasn’t been sure what direction they’ve been headed the last few seasons, but they need consistency before they will begin to see success. You never know what will happen in Southern California, though.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame– Kelly has had success almost everywhere he’s gone. Kelly boasts a 228-84-2 overall record as a head coach, and despite a 2-4 start to this season, he’s 57-27 during his tenure with the Irish. However, Notre Dame is a proud program with a history of success and if Kelly doesn’t get them back on track, he may be shown the door.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn– Malzahn’s Tigers went 12-2 in 2012 in his first season at the helm. Since then, Auburn has been in decline, winning eight games in 2013 and seven in 2014. This season the Tigers are off to a 4-2 start, including two big wins against LSU and Mississippi State. Malzahn may be on the coolest hot seat of them all, but if the Tigers don’t finish this season with seven or eight wins he could be in trouble.
Jim Mora, UCLA– Mora hasn’t had a losing season at UCLA, but he hasn’t been particularly impressive either. UCLA is another program with a rich history, and after a 3-3 start to this season and the meat of the Pac-12 schedule in front of him, Mora could be in trouble.
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Steve Addazio, Boston College
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
James Franklin, Penn State
Darrell Hazell, Purdue
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
With just over half of the season yet to be played, some of these coaches may fall off this list and some may hop on before the end of the year. One thing is for certain, though; we are in for a bumpy, wild ride.
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Photo: Neon Tommy, Flickr