Ohio St’s Day the latest interim coach tapped amid trouble
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is on administrative leave as the school investigates claims his wife knew about allegations of domestic violence against former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith, who was fired last week. Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day will run the team during the investigation. Here are some of the coaches who took interim roles at prominent programs after scandals and how they fared:
JIM GROBE, BAYLOR, 2016
Grobe, a former Wake Forest head coach, came out of retirement to after Art Briles was fired following a sexual abuse scandal at the school. Grobe led the team to a 6-6 regular-season finish and a spot in the Cactus Bowl. The Bears defeated favored Boise State 31-12 to give the Bears a winning season. Grobe steadfastly said he had no interest in returning for another year and he headed back into retirement.
CLAY HELTON, USC, 2015
Helton took the interim role in 2015 following Steve Sarkisian’s in-season dismissal. Helton’s 5-2 run as a fill-in got him hired as the full-time head coach. He has gone 21-6 the past two seasons, and the Trojans won the Pac-12 title last season. Helton was rewarded in February with a contract extension through 2023.
JOHN L. SMITH, ARKANSAS, 2012
Smith stepped in after Bobby Petrino was fired following a motorcycle accident that led to revelations of an affair with a female employee. The former Michigan State coach couldn’t right the Razorbacks, who stumbled to a 4-8 record after starting the season with top 10 aspirations.
TOM BRADLEY, PENN STATE, 2011
Bradley took over after Joe Paterno was fired nine games into the season amid the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Bradley went 1-3 to close the season, with the win coming against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions lost to Houston in the Ticket City Bowl, and Bradley left after he was not hired by new coach Bill O’Brien. He is now the defensive backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
LUKE FICKELL, OHIO STATE, 2011
Fickell took over as interim coach while Jim Tressel served a five-game suspension as the NCAA investigated a tattoo parlor scandal. Tressel resigned after those five games, and Fickell led the team to a 6-6 regular-season record. Fickell kept his job as an assistant when Meyer took over, and he was the defensive coordinator when the Buckeyes won the national title in 2014. Fickell is now the head coach at Cincinnati, which went 4-8 last season.
EVERETT WITHERS, NORTH CAROLINA, 2011
North Carolina fired Butch Davis in July 2011 amid an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct. Withers, the defensive coordinator and secondary coach, led the team to a 7-6 record. The Tar Heels hired current coach Larry Fedora away from Southern Mississippi. Withers is now the head coach at Texas State.
MIKE SHULA, ALABAMA, 2003
Shula took over for Mike Price, who was fired after a well-publicized night at a Florida strip club before he even coached a game for the Crimson Tide. Alabama went 4-9 that season under Shula, 6-6 in 2004 and 10-2 in 2005. Shula was fired after a 6-6 campaign in 2006. He has been an assistant in the NFL with Jacksonville and Carolina, and currently is the New York Giants‘ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
GALEN HALL, FLORIDA, 1984
Florida hired Hall as offensive coordinator in 1984, but three games into the season, head coach Charley Pell was fired after an NCAA investigation alleged more than 100 violations. Hall went 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference and led the Gators to their first-ever conference title. Florida removed the interim tag, and Hall went 9-1-1 in 1985. The penalties depleted the program, and Florida never won more than six games under Hall again. He resigned midway through the 1989 season after he acknowledged violating NCAA rules.
AP Sports Writers Kurt Voigt and Aaron Beard contributed to this report.