Miami starting over, not alone in search for new head coach
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Not even a year ago, Steve Spurrier and Al Golden finished their seasons coaching against one another in a bowl game.
Now, their seasons are finished early.
And they’re hardly alone in that club.
There’s seven FBS head coaches currently wearing the interim tag. Southern California and Miami have combined for 10 national championships, and both – albeit for very different reasons – will likely have new coaches before long. Illinois, Maryland and South Carolina are all ”Power 5” schools and will have no shortage of coaches in pursuit. Central Florida won a Fiesta Bowl to close the 2013 season, the same year that North Texas won nine games and a bowl.
And none have a permanent head coach right now. According to STATS, never in the last 20 years have there been so many in-season changes.
”I hate it for this business,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. ”I don’t like that for anybody. It’s part of this business that’s getting crazier and crazier. You see it in college football. It’s filtering down.
”The patience is getting less and less. It’s getting more like pro ball every day. Media coverage, scrutiny, money, all the things that go into it. I hate it for anybody.”
The carousel of change got more crowded Sunday, when George O’Leary – off to an 0-8 start this season – retired from UCF. Hours later, Miami announced that it was firing Golden, a move that came one day after the Hurricanes were embarrassed 58-0 by Clemson, the worst home loss endured by any team at the FBS level in five years.
The number 58 used to be hallowed at Miami, since it represented the Hurricanes’ record home winning streak. Today, it represents the worst loss in the 90-year history of Hurricane football and was the straw that forced Miami to make an immediate change.
”Schools have to do what they have to do,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff. ”I’ll just leave it at that.”
Bill Cubit was promoted by Illinois days before the season opener, after Tim Beckman was fired for alleged mistreatment of players. Mike Locksley replaced the fired Randy Edsall at Maryland, Mike Canales replaced Dan McCarney when North Texas let him go, and Clay Helton has taken over for Steve Sarkisan at USC.
Shawn Elliott has the South Carolina job now that Spurrier resigned, Danny Barrett was promoted after O’Leary retired, and at Miami it’s Larry Scott who will finish the season after Golden was fired.
”Not an ideal situation to be in,” Barrett said Monday, his first full day on the job at UCF.
At Miami, it’s not ideal for anyone, either.
Scott arrived for work at 6 a.m., spending the day in meetings with his coordinators, his staff and the university’s compliance office. All he’ll be asked to do this week is get a team ready to go to Duke and somehow bounce back from a weekend that saw a blowout loss, a star quarterback in Brad Kaaya leave with a concussion and the firing of a coach who outwardly had the support of players but was maligned by a large segment of the fan base.
The campaigning for the Miami job has already started: Former coach Butch Davis told WAXY-AM in Miami that he wants to be considered for the position, then raved about it in a later appearance on Sirius XM.
”There’s a certain level of play that is acceptable down there, and for me, I haven’t been happy for 11 years now,” former Hurricane great Vince Wilfork, now of the Houston Texans, said last week. ”A lot of guys feel the same way. Hopefully sooner rather than later we can get it going and get it fixed, but we’re running out of time. We’ve got a lot of frustrated Hurricanes in the NFL. We’re waiting for it to get back to the way it used to be.”
AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Davie, Florida; Joe Reedy in Tallahassee, Florida; and Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.