Unfortunately, the college football regular season has come to an end. While the on-field action may be winding down, the end of the regular season opens the floodgates for major activity in the coaching market. Which head coaches have been fired? Who is on their way to another job? Here’s a running list of the ongoing movement in the college football coaching carousel. This will be updated chronologically.
Official: Wisconsin hires Luke Fickell
Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell is officially on his way to the Big Ten.
Wisconsin announced Sunday night that it has hired Fickell to replace Paul Chryst.
“I am incredibly excited to announce Luke Fickell as our new head football coach and to welcome his entire family to Madison,” said Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh. “Luke is one of the best football coaches in the country. He is a proven winner, recruiter and player developer.”
Added Fickell, “My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Wisconsin family. This is a destination job with a program I’ve admired from afar for years. I’m completely aligned with Chris McIntosh’s vision for this program. There’s a great foundation here that I can’t wait to build on.”
Click here for more information about Fickell and Wisconsin.
Georgia Tech and Willie Fritz are closing in on a deal?
Georgia Tech appears to be on a lease.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Athletic, the school has struck a deal to hire a new coach. And that coach, by “all indications,” is Willie Fritz of Tulane.
Fritz, 62, has won wherever he’s been – from junior college, Division II, FCS and the FBS. Now he has a chance at a Power Five job.
Two days ago, Fritz’s Tulane team defeated Cincinnati en route to 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 with Tulane, a program that has traditionally struggled to win. Before Fritz arrived, Tulane had only one winning record in the previous 13 seasons. Under Fritz, Tulane has a winning record three times and reached bowl eligibility four times. Before Fritz coached Tulane to a Cure Bowl victory in 2018, Tulane had not won a bowl game since 2002.
In 2021, Tulane endured a brutal 2-10 season, spending much of it displaced due to Hurricane Ida. This year, the Green Wave bounced back in a big way, going 10-2 into the AAC title game. Tulane’s last 10-win season was in 1998.
Before his time at Tulane, Fritz was the head coach at Blinn Junior College for four seasons, Central Missouri for 13 seasons, Sam Houston State for four years, and Georgia Southern for two seasons.
If the tenure goes through, Fritz will replace Geoff Collins, who was fired after an 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 says goodbye to Philip Montgomery
Tulsa made a coaching change.
The school announced on Sunday that it had fired coach Philip Montgomery. Tulsa defeated Houston on Saturday to finish the season at 5-7.
Montgomery has been with Tulsa since 2015 after being hired by Baylor’s coaching staff and holds a career record of 43-53 at the school. Tulsa went to four bowl games in its eight years, even winning 10 games in a 2016 campaign that culminated in a Miami Beach Bowl victory.
But Tulsa followed that season up with a 2-10 season in 2017 and has not won more than seven games in a season since then. The Golden Hurricane was 7-6 in 2021 and 6-3 in 2020 after three consecutive losing seasons.
The state of Texas fires Jake Spavital
After four seasons, Texas State is bidding farewell to Jake Spavital, who had a 13-35 record during his tenure. The Bobcats went 3-9 in his first season, 2-10 in his second season, then posted a 4-8 record in 2021 and 2022.
Spavital relied heavily on transfers from junior colleges and adding players from the transfer portal to build its rosters instead of recruiting high schools in Texas. That approach did not work for Spavital.
Is Luke Fickell moving to Wisconsin?
Since Wisconsin fired Paul Chryst on Oct. 2, signs have pointed to Jim Leonhard being elevated to the full-time job.
A native of Wisconsin, a UW football alum and longtime NFL player, Leonhard was Chryst’s defensive coordinator and considered a rising star in the coaching profession. After Chryst’s firing, he served as the Badgers’ interim head coach for the past seven weeks, but under his watch Wisconsin only went 4–3. Wisconsin fell to 6-6 with a loss to Minnesota on Saturday.
On Sunday, it looks like the UW buyer is 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 strong pressure” from Wisconsin to agree to a deal with Fickell “in the next 48 hours.”
Fickell is 57-18 in six years as coach of the Bearcats and famously led UC to the College Football Playoff in 2021. Before going to Cincinnati, he was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2002 to 2016 and had a stint as OSU’s interim head coach in 2011.
Arizona State hires 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham
Five years ago, Arizona State oddly 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 recruitment of 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham on Sunday morning. Dillingham, an Arizona State alumnus, spent the 2022 season as Oregon’s offensive coordinator. Before his season in Eugene, Dillingham had stints as 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 losing season
David Shaw never won less 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. Since then, things have taken a huge turn for the worse, leading to Shaw’s resignation late Saturday night.
Stanford went 3-9 in each of the past two seasons with a 3-15 record in Pac-12 play. Shaw resigned after a loss to BYU on Saturday night.
“After many prayers and multiple 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 feel for my family, all my past and present players, my staff, this administration and the entire Stanford family. Thank you all.”
In 12 seasons, Shaw had a 96-54 record at his alma mater. He is the winningest coach in the program’s history.
FAU leaves after 3 seasons of Willie Taggart
Willie Taggart’s tenure with Florida Atlantic has ended after three seasons. Taggart went 15-18 in three seasons coaching the Owls, bowling only once.
FAU lost to Western Kentucky 32-31 in overtime on Saturday to fall to 5-7 on the year. Taggart was the head coach at Florida State, Oregon, South Florida and Western Kentucky.
Nebraska lands Matt Rhule
Nebraska and Matt Rhule have agreed on an eight-year contract for Rhule as the Huskers’ new head coach.
Rhule recently had a rough run as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, but he made major overhauls at Temple and Baylor.
Under Rhule’s leadership, Temple went from 2-10 in his first season to winning a total of 20 games in his last two seasons with the program, including a conference title. Rhule then went to Baylor in the fallout of the Art Briles scandal. The Bears went 1-11 in Rhule’s first season. In Year 3, Baylor won 11 games and played for the Big 12 Championship.
A similarly difficult rebuild awaits Rhule in Lincoln. Nebraska has not had a winning season since 2016. The Huskers finished the 2022 season 4-8 and have a combined record of 23-45 over the past six seasons.