With bowl season right around the corner, several big time programs wasted no time in naming their next full-time coaches.
Notre Dame elevated defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, while Oklahoma brought back Bob Stoops disciple Brent Venables. In the Pac-12, Mario Cristobal left Oregon to return to Miami, where he played offensive line from 1988-92. There have now been 28 coaching changes in this cycle.
That list includes 13 changes in the Power 5. There were 18 total coaching changes in 2020.
Sporting News looks at all the changes in 2021:
2021 FBS coaching changes
Randy Edsall, UConn
Resigned (Sept. 6): Edsall resigned after the Huskies’ 0-2 start. Edsall had two separate stints at UConn. The first, from 1999 to 2010, saw the program make the rise to the FBS ranks and culminated with a trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010. Edsall returned in 2017, and that produced a 6-32 record. UConn did not play in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns. Lou Spanos is the Huskies’ interim coach.
Clay Helton, USC
Fired (Sept. 14): Helton, who had been on the hot seat the past few seasons, was fired after the Trojans’ 42-28 loss to Stanford in Week 2. Helton replaced Steve Sarkisian in 2015 and compiled a 46-24 record. That mark included the program’s last Pac-12 championship in 2017. USC, however, slipped to a 19-14 record from 2018-21. Donte Williams replaced Helton as interim coach.
Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern
Fired (Sept. 26): Lunsford was fired after a 1-3 start this season. It was a peculiar decision considering the Eagles reached bowl games the previous three seasons. Lunsford compiled a 28-21 record and had previously been an assistant coach with the program from 2013-17. Kevin Whitley was appointed interim coach.
2021 Coaching changes by school
|UConn||Randy Edsall||Jim Mora|
|USC||Clay Helton||Lincoln Riley|
|Georgia Southern||Chad Lunsford||Clay Helton|
|LSU||Ed Orgeron||Brian Kelly|
|Washington State||Nick Rolovich||Jake Dickert|
|Texas Tech||Matt Wells||Joey McGuire|
|TCU||Gary Patterson||Sonny Dykes|
|Akron||Tom Arth||Joe Moorhead|
|UMass||Walt Bell||Don Brown|
|Washington||Jimmy Lake||Kalen DeBoer|
|FIU||Butch Davis||Mike MacIntyre|
|Virginia Tech||Justin Fuente||Brent Pry|
|Florida||Dan Mullen||Billy Napier|
|Louisiana||Billy Napier||Michael Desormeaux|
|New Mexico State||Doug Martin||Jerry Kill|
|Troy||Chip Lindsey||Jon Sumrall|
|Louisiana Tech||Skip Holtz||Sonny Cumbie|
|SMU||Sonny Dykes||Rhett Lashlee|
|Oklahoma||Lincoln Riley||Brent Venables|
|Duke||David Cutcliffe||Mike Elko|
|Fresno State||Kalen DeBoer||Jeff Tedford|
|Notre Dame||Brian Kelly||Marcus Freeman|
|Colorado State||Steve Addazio||Jay Norvell|
|Virginia||Bronco Mendenhall||Tony Elliott|
|Nevada||Jay Norvell||Ken Wilson|
|Miami||Manny Diaz||Mario Cristobal|
Ed Orgeron, LSU
Resigned (Oct. 19): Orgeron and LSU reached a separation agreement that will take effect after the conclusion of the 2021 season. This came one day after the Tigers beat Florida 49-42. Orgeron replaced Les Miles in 2016 and became the third consecutive LSU coach to win a national championship (2019). The Tigers finished 15-0 with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow that year, but the program has been a disaster on and off the field since. The problems include a Title IX lawsuit and self-imposed penalties.
MORE: LSU coaching candidates
Nick Rolovich, Washington State
Fired (Oct. 20): Rolovich was fired in his second season with the Cougars for failing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Rolovich cited religious beliefs for his reason to not get the vaccine, and he plans to sue the university over his firing . Rolovich, who previously coached at Hawaii, had a 5-6 record at Washington State. Jake Dickert replaced Rolovich on an interim basis.
MORE: Heat back on Harbaugh | OSU monster too big for Franklin?
Matt Wells, Texas Tech
Fired (Oct. 25): Wells was fired after a 25-24 loss to Kansas State on Oct. 23, which capped an unremarkable three-year stint with the Red Raiders. Wells replaced Kliff Kingsbury, who took a head coaching job in the NFL with the Cardinals. Wells compiled a 13-17 record but appeared to have Texas Tech headed in the right direction this year with a 5-2 start. Sonny Cumbie, a former Red Raiders quarterback, is the interim coach.
Gary Patterson, TCU
Resigned (Oct. 31): Patterson and TCU agreed to part ways after a 3-5 record through the first two months of the season. It’s still a somewhat shocking move considering he was the second-longest tenured coach in the FBS behind Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. Patterson took over the Horned Frogs in 2000, and he led the program to six conference championships and 11 seasons with 10 wins or more. The highlight was 2010, when TCU finished 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl. The Horned Frogs moved up to the Big 12 and enjoyed success in the Power 5.
Tom Arth, Akron
Fired (Nov. 4): Arth was fired two days after a 31-25 loss to Ball State dropped the Zips to 2-7 in 2021. Arth, a nearby John Carroll alum, simply could not get Akron going in three seasons. The Zips had a 3-24 record in that stretch, including a 3-17 record in Mid-American Conference play.
Walt Bell, UMass
Fired (Nov. 8): Bell was fired after a 35-22 loss to Rhode Island on Nov. 6. Bell, who took the UMass job after a stint as an offensive coordinator at Florida State, had a 2-23 record since taking over in 2019.
Jimmy Lake, Washington
Fired (Nov. 14): Lake was already under a university suspension for hitting Huskies linebacker Ruperake Fuavai in the helmet druing a game. He did not coach the Huskies’ loss to Arizona State on Nov. 13. Earlier that day, The Seattle Times published an article that contained allegations Lake shoved former wide receiver Quinten Pounds into a locker at halftime of a 2019 game at Arizona. Lake denied the allegations. Washington was 7-6 under Lake. Assistant coach Bob Gregory was named interim head coach.
Butch Davis, FIU
Fired (Nov. 15): Davis will not return to FIU when his contract expires at the end of this season. The decision comes a week after longtime FIU athletic director Pete Garcia resigned. Davis said the school administration is “sabotaging the program.” Davis, who previously coached at Miami and North Carolina, had success in his first two seasons at FIU. The program slipped the last two years, however, and is 1-9 in 2021.
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
Fired (Nov. 16): Fuente is out after six seasons with the Hokies. Fuente, who was hired in 2016 after a three-year stint in Memphis, enjoyed a 10-4 season and an appearance in the ACC championship game in his first season. The Hokies are 24-23 the last four years, however, and they have been a middle-of-the-road program in the ACC Coastal Division. Fuente finshed with a record of 43-31.
Dan Mullen, Florida
Fired (Nov. 21): Mullen is out at Florida after four seasons. He compiled a 34-15 record, and led the Gators to three straight New Year’s Day Six bowls from 2017-19. The Gators, however, suffered a free-fall season that includes four losses in the last five games. Mullen had a 69-46 record at Mississippi State from 2009-17, so he could resurface at another school in this cycle.
Doug Martin, New Mexico State
Fired (Nov. 23): Martin reportedly will not return to New Mexico State, according to Football Scoop . Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is expected to be named the replacement. Martin has been the Aggies’ coach since 2013, and he did lead New Mexico State to a victory in the Arizona Bowl as a part of a 7-6 season in 2017. The Aggies are 7-30 since, however, which led to the change.
Chip Lindsey, Troy
Fired (Nov. 21): According to The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy , Troy fired Lindsey after he went 15-19 in three seasons from 2019-21. The Trojans failed to make a bowl appearance in Lindsey’s three seasons and Troy’s athletic director confirmed that Lindsey’s firing was directly related to on-field results. Prior to Lindsey’s hiring, Troy went 35-16 in four years under Neal Brown with three double-digit win seasons, three bowl appearances and a Sun Belt title.
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech
Fired (Nov. 26): Holtz is out in Ruston after nine seasons. His firing was first reported by BleedTechBlue . Holtz was 64-49 in his time leading the Bulldogs with seven bowl appearances and his 64 wins are good for third-most in program history. The son of legendary coach Lou Holtz, Skip was previously the coach at UConn, East Carolina and South Florida and has a career 152-120 record at the Division I level.
Sonny Dykes, SMU
Resigned (Nov. 27): According to multiple reports, Dykes is set to leave SMU for TCU. Dykes has been the head coach with the Mustangs since 2017. He compiled a 30-18 record with SMU. Dykes also coached at Louisiana Tech from 2010-12 and Cal from 2013-16.
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma
Resigned (Nov. 28): According to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman , Riley reportedly is leaving Oklahoma for USC after a successful five-year stint with the Sooners. Riley led Oklahoma to a 55-10 record, four Big 12 championships and three College Football Playoff appearances.
Billy Napier, Louisiana
Resigned (Nov. 28): Napier took the Florida job after four seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns. Napier had a highly-successful stint with Louisiana. He finished 39-12 over four seasons, and the Cajuns had a 27-5 record in Sun Belt play.
David Cutcliffe, Duke
Resigned (Nov. 28): Cutcliffe and Duke reached “a mutual separation agreement” according to Brett McMurphy. Cutcliffe went 77-97 with the Blue Devils, leading them to six bowl appearances in seven years from 2012-18, with the 2013 squad finishing the season ranked No. 23 in the AP Poll. Cutcliffe, 67, also spent seven years as the coach at Ole Miss from 1998-04, going 44-29 with five bowl berths and two seasons ranked inside the top 25.
Rod Carey, Temple
Fired (Nov. 29): Carey is out after just three years at Temple, going 12-20. The Owls went 8-5 and made a bowl game in Carey’s first year, but are just 4-15 the last two seasons. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Carey was the head coach at Northern Illinois from 2012-18, going 52-30 with two MAC titles and another two berths in the MAC title game.
Kalen DeBoer, Fresno State
Resigned (Nov. 29): DeBoer will leave Fresno State to take the same job at Washington, according to multiple reports . DeBoer had a 12-6 record with the Bulldogs, and he was 67-3 in five seasons with Sioux Falls in the NAIA ranks. DeBoer also was the offensive coordinator at Indiana in 2019. He’s an offensive-minded coach who should have a big impact for the Huskies in the Pac-12.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Resigned (Nov. 29): In yet another huge shakeup, Kelly left Notre Dame to take the LSU job. Kelly had a 113-40 record as the Irish’s all-time winningest coach. He led the Irish to a BCS championship appearance and two College Football Playoff appearances. The Irish also finished 11-1 in 2021 and are on the fringe of another CFP berth.
Steve Addazio, Colorado State
Fired (Dec. 2): Addazio was fired after two years at Colorado State, where he went 4-12. His tenure leading the Rams often made headlines for all the wrong reasons . He spent two years as the head coach at Temple, going 13-11 with a bowl berth before being hired by Boston College in 2013, where he went 44-44 until he was fired at the end of the 2019 season.
Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia
Resigned (Dec. 2): The school announced Thursday night that Mendenhall will step down following Virginia’s bowl game. In his sixth season in Charlottesville, Mendenhall is 36-38 with a berth to the ACC title game in 2019. Prior to his time at Virginia, Mendenhall was the coach at BYU from 2005-15, leading the Cougars to a bowl game every year while winning two Mountain West titles, notching four appearances in the top-25 and compiling a record of 99-43.
Jay Norvell, Nevada
Resigned (Dec. 6): Norvell is reportedly leaving the Wolf Pack but staying in the Mountain West. Multiple reports say Norvell, in his fifth season with Nevada, is leaving to go to Colorado State and replace Steve Addazio. In his time in Reno, the Wolf Pack are 33-26 with four straight winning seasons, including two 8-win seasons and four straight bowl berths.
Manny Diaz, Miami
Fired (Dec. 6): After days of being left in limbo about his job status, Diaz was officially fired by Miami on Monday after three seasons in Coral Gables. He led the Hurricanes to a 21-15 record and they finished last season ranked No. 22 in the country. They’re currently 7-5 and won five of their last six games to become bowl eligible. Former Oregon coach and Hurricane offensive lineman Mario Cristobal is expected to succeed Diaz.
Mario Cristobal, Oregon
Resigned (Dec. 6): Cristobal stepped down from his position on Monday to take another head coaching opportunity, the school announced. That other head coaching opportunity is widely believed to be with Miami, where he played offensive line from 1988-92 and is expected to make $8 million per year for the next 10 years. Cristobal was 35-13 with two Pac-12 titles at Oregon and is 62-60 in his career as a head coach.