Coaches on the hot seat; new coaches who will succeed, struggle

We have 24 new head coaches in Division I-A football. Some will succeed early. Some will struggle early.

Among veteran coaches, there are a number of who enter this season very much on the hot seat.

So with the start of  season just eight days away, it is a good time to look at our coaches on the hot seat, the new coaches who will succeed and the new coaches who will struggle.

This is  just one man’s opinion. If you have others to add to these lists, please do so:



1. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan: The problem for Rich Rod is that regardless of how many games he wins, there are just a lot of people who don’t want him to be the coach at Michigan any more. NCAA investigations at both his current and former (West Virginia) employers don’t help Rodriguez with a proud Michigan fan base.

2. Dan Hawkins, Colorado: When Hawkins came to Boulder from Boise State, folks thought the Buffs would become a Big 12 force again. Instead they are 16-33 in five seasons. Colorado is going to the Pac-10 either in 2011 or 2012. Will Hawkins be the coach?

3. Ron Zook, Illinois: The Zooker got the Illini to a Rose Bowl in 2007 but things have not been good since with seasons of 5-7 and 3-9. He shook up his coaching staff in an effort to get back to a bowl. Another losing season could be Zook’s last in Champaign.

4. Les Miles, LSU: Normally, a guy who is 51-15 with a national championship (2007) doesn’t belong on this list. But the closer you get to the LSU program the more people try to convince me that Miles has to make something happen after going 8-8 in the SEC the past two seasons. He’s picked to finish fourth in the SEC West. A win over North Carolina on Sept. 4 is very important. Miles’ buyout, media reports have said, is about $16 million.

5. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State: Erickson, who won two national championships at Miami, led the Sun Devils to 10 wins and a share of the Pac-10 championship in his first season (2007) in Tempe. The past two seasons Arizona State has won a total of nine games. Erickson shook up his staff bringing in Noel Mazzone to install the spread offense. He needs a winning season.


1. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: Based on what he did at Cincinnati and Central Michigan, Kelly is an offensive genius who really knows how to coach quarterbacks. I think the schedule is set up for 8-9 wins.

2. Lane Kiffn, USC: Depth and recruiting are going to be issues down the road for Kiffin but the Trojans could still win a lot of games this season. In fact, I’m looking at 9 or 10 wins on that schedule.

3. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: No one questions the offense, which returns a veteran line and a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Christian Ponder). A Sept. 11 trip to Oklahoma should tell us a lot. I have Florida State winning the ACC’s Atlantic Division over Clemson.

4. Skip Holtz, South Florida: Holtz has proven what he can do with a mobile quarterback and he has a good one in B.J. Daniels. Road trips to Florida, Miami and West Virginia will temper expectations but the Bulls can be a factor in the Big East.

5. Butch Jones, Cincinnati: Jones takes over for Brian Kelly, who won a pair of Big East championships.  The Bearcats won’t win the conference again but they will continue to be very competitive with a proven quarterback in Zach Collaros..


1. Derek Dooley, Tennessee: Dooley inherited a bad situation that has gotten progressively worse with injuries and other issues. The schedule is brutal. Five wins would be a very good season.

2. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech: Tuberville will try to change the culture established by Mike Leach, which means Tubs will try to run the ball and play better defense. In the short term this has a chance to be ugly until Tuberville can get his recruits in place.

3. Mike London, Virginia: London won a Division I-AA championship at Richmond but begins his time at Virignia with a roster that is very, very thin. The Cavaliers are in the ACC Coastal, which will be one of the toughest divisions in football.

4. Robbie Caldwell, Vanderbilt: Caldwell got the job when Bobby Johnson suddenly retired in July. The Commodores were going to struggle this season regardless of who was the coach. Nine of the 12 teams on the schedule went to bowls last season.

5. Turner Gill, Kansas: The Jayhawks are only three years removed from a 12-1 season and an Orange Bowl appearance. But the former head coach at Buffalo has a lot of work to do to get Kansas back in the mix in the Big 12 North, which is pretty weak this year.


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342 comments Add your comment

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
3:49 pm

Lotta people wouldn’t mind getting canned for 15 million


August 25th, 2010
3:50 pm

jumbeauxtiger agreed I was typing while in shock!


August 25th, 2010
3:58 pm


At the time many tiger fans, like me, were shaking our heads in disbelief.


Other than the meltdown at Ole Miss last season, I think many tiger fans are aggravated because Jefferson has struggled and Miles refuses to give anyone else a chance. He also upsets some fans because of his philosophy, at least it seems, of giving upperclass players playing time instead of more talented younger players. Those are the gripes I hear the most.


August 25th, 2010
4:06 pm

“He also upsets some fans because of his philosophy, at least it seems, of giving upperclass players playing time instead of more talented younger players”

Meh, I’ve seen some narrow minded dawg fans say the same thing about Richt. I don’t know about Miles, but I bet that’s just not really true. I know in Richt’s case, for every senior playing that supposedly shouldn’t, there is also a freshman or redshirt freshman playing somewhere else. Bryan Evans is the only enigma I couldn’t figure out. I chalk that up to him having some serious blackmail on one of the staff memebers…. but I digress.

The coaches are going to play the players who they think gives them the best chance to win. If a guy can lift more weights or run a faster 40, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be a better football player. Those coaches see all the practices and understand a lot more about it then we do. Not to mention that sometimes, someone just doesn’t work out in game time like you hope.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
4:06 pm


I think he’s just had bad luck with 5 star qbs not panning out and that’s the biggest source of his problems. Jarrett lee was a 4 star and I believe that Jefferson was also a 5 star and he just hasn’t delivered.. Sheperd was a 5 star who is now a wr. qb is easily the position on the team that is the hardest predictor of future success. Its easy to get 2-3 highly rated qbs coming out of high school and end up with none of them quite working out the way you had hoped. If LSU had just had a qb that worked out well the last 2 years then the bcs title road would have run through Baton rouge. JMHO

WTH? Worried about Tennessee

August 25th, 2010
4:10 pm

Ugag should be less worried about a friggin cake-walk
against Tenn, and far more worried about SC, Ark, and MsSt.

Ugag will go 1-2 or 0-3 in that stretch
with only the MissySt game is in question.


August 25th, 2010
4:11 pm


Ultimately, it is Miles’ fault. If highly-rated quarterbacks are not panning out, logically, there is only one variable that doesn’t change in the equation–the coaching. Sounds like he needs to hire a new QB coach.


August 25th, 2010
4:13 pm

Mark Richt would be on the hot seat, but dawgtards seem satisfied with 8-9 wins, 2nd or 3rd in their division, and holiday trips to exciting places like Shreveport.

Tide Rising

August 25th, 2010
4:20 pm


Ultimately it is indeed the head coaches responsibility. jes sayin that qbs can be a lot more hit or miss. Makes me think of Beano Cook saying that Ron Powlus could win 4 Heismans. Also makes me wonder how someone like Phillip Rivers from Athens, AL. got away from Bama, AU, and every other SEC team and ended up at NC State. That’s all.


August 25th, 2010
4:32 pm

It was in Rivers best interest to leave the state. Fran and Shula would have ruined him anyway.

Have a good evening, BAMA fans.

17 of 20

August 25th, 2010
4:59 pm

I am glad you left Mark Richt off your hot seat list. I for one am very satisfied with the job he has done since taking the job at Georgia. I hope he can stay there for another 10 years.

The rest of the sec

August 25th, 2010
5:19 pm

17 out of 20,

We’re all hoping that he stays at Georgia.

GA Vols Fan

August 25th, 2010
5:25 pm

The vols lack depth but many of the Knoxville area beat writers will tell you that this may be the most talented group of underclassmen at Tennessee since the 90’s… but they are very young. we havent had skill position players like this in years. Until the dogs show me that they can run the ball (if you take out the outlier games for the conference UGA was near the bottom in rushing ie the 300 yrd game vs tech) then I cant see them having a good year at all. UGA’s offense is too plain to struggle running between the tackles and if you add in a RFreshman QB it could be a long year. The second thing to look at is that there is not much quality depth for a 3-4 sceme. The dog linebackers are thin and they are playing a former OLman at the Nose. I really don’t understand them being any more confidant than UT.

GA Vols Fan

August 25th, 2010
5:26 pm

The rest of the sec

August 25th, 2010
5:31 pm

GA Vols Fan,

you right its a mystery why dog fans so confident they have no reason to be.


August 25th, 2010
5:50 pm

Gonna be a lot of disappointed nerds this season. GT 8-4 UGA 10-2.

What’s the deal with UT wanting to chicken out of a game with UNC? In 1970 Marshall lost 37 players and 8 coaches. They didn’t try to back out of any games in 1971.

The rest of the sec wants Coach Richt to stay forever and all the Nerds want him fired last week….hmmmmmm.

Go Dawgs!!!

ga gator

August 25th, 2010
5:57 pm

Ouch!! Good one 1 eyedjack.

reality check

August 25th, 2010
6:25 pm

Actually 1eyedJack, it’s been DAWG fans who’ve been crying for Richt to go. Are you new or something?

I love nothing more than watching UGAG fans pull all of their trailers to Shreveport for a dam gud partee!! Yeee-hawww! I be a Dawg fan!


August 25th, 2010
6:32 pm

Mark Richt needs to be tarred and feathered and run out of Athens on a rail. He’ll never win the SEC, and that’s what he’s being paid to do.

Get used to to going to a lot of places like Shreveport.

And seeing red panties falling from the sky at every opponent’s stadium.

Regina in Conyers

August 25th, 2010
6:36 pm

The rest of the sec wants Coach Richt to stay forever…

Of course they do. There’s a reason for that.


August 25th, 2010
6:41 pm

Les is 8-8 in the SEC in the last 2 seasons? Richt is 20-12 in the last 4 years, but 10-10 in the SEC east. That is bad for sure!!!!!!


August 25th, 2010
6:44 pm

Richt will fail to win the prize again this year, and we’ll be having the “hot seat” debate again next year, just like last year. How much longer does this have to continue, especial with Richt getting paid millions to win. I agree – run his azz out of town. Now!


August 25th, 2010
6:44 pm

1eyed We don’t want right fired we just love pooking the dawgs with a stick when they all cry to FIRE everybody. It will be Richt dawg will scream to be fired and Bobo will have to fall on the sword.


August 25th, 2010
6:57 pm

Bobo was a pretty good QB with average talent, I guess you could say fundamentally sound. That might qualify him as the QB coach, but I’m not sold on him yet as an OC. There has been too much predictability. As I saw one guy say on these blogs, “My wife was calling the plays as they came to the line”.

The only real complaints I have with Coach Richt is that he is loyal to a fault and he seems to have an infuriating penchant for going into a shell when he has a 10 point lead. Maybe some of that is Bobo, maybe not.

Gen. Forrest

August 25th, 2010
7:50 pm

Well, as a Tech alum and life-long Tech fan (and you can only imagine how painful that was under coaches like Bill Lewis, Pepper Rogers, Chan “gomer” Gailey, etc) I can tell all of you Dawg fans that are saying only us Techies want Richt gone, the REAL Tech fans WANT coach Richt to stay in Athens. As long as CPJ stays at Tech and CMR stays at UGA the entire state of Georgia college football is on the rise. This is a positive thing for BOTH schools! I think both programs are realistically looking at 8 to 10 wins, but I also know that BOTH are capable of running the board (at least ’til November 27th!) with a little luck and some help on the defensive side. Once GSU gets up to speed, which will be MUCH faster than most people are anticipating, the State of Georgia will suddenly become a football powerhouse again (we used to be anyway, but then UGA went through the Goff-Donnan years and Tech had it’s time under Gailey, and it takes time to recover from the damage done by a bunch of yahoos like those guys!).

And all childish arguements aside, The programs at UGA and GT are VERY evenly matched at this point (hence the 1-1 record against each other under the current coaches, and both games were closer than most fans on either side really want to admit). I fully expect BOTH programs to be capable of NC runs within the next few years, but this isn’t the year. UGA has to develop their defense, (as does GT) which won’t fully happen in one season, and Both still have some minor offensive issues. Tech needs a passing game badly. Once we get a QB who can actually throw AND run (which we already have several of waiting in the wings — ever heard of Synjn (sp??) Days? If you haven’t, you will!) the offense will be unstoppable. The Trip-op works great IF you can balance it a bit with just enough passing to keep the D-backs on their heels. UGA desperately needs a OC who knows how to read a defense and adjust accordingly (Bobo isn’t it guys. Sorry!). With their talent pool there is absolutely NO reason for them to not compete for the NC year-in, year-out!

Richt on the hot seat? Ain’t happening anytime soon guys, unless the Dawgs just self-destruct this season, which I do not forsee happening.

Here’s to both UGA and GT rolling into the 11/27/10 game undefeated, ranked in the top-5, and on their way to winning their respective conference championships. Now THAT would make for one helluva fun Saturday afternoon!!!!!!!

ENOUGH SPECULATION…………LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rick D

August 25th, 2010
8:13 pm

This is my 1st post and I must say I love the passion…that’s what football is all about. I was very proud when our Hogs joined the SEC, and I am even more proud after being here a while. It’s really kinda cool that I don’t read much of anything about us here, because after how crappy our defense, kickers, and special teams played last year. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to see us as a real big problem. There is, however something good in the oven. and I’m not even talking about our offense. You’ll just have to wait and see what I’m talking about. Oh, and I’m not here to dis anyone or their team. I have grea respect for all you guys and your teams. I will say this much…we have more size, speed, and depth than we’ve had in my memory, and I’ve been following the Hogs since ‘64. Good luck to all of you, and may you stay injury free.


August 25th, 2010
8:24 pm

Anyone that thinks Richt is on the hot seat is wrong. I think he bought himself 2 or 3 years regardless of the record. If anyone on the UGA staff should be worried it is Bobo. If the defense outshines the offense this year…he should be gone by the Super Bowl. Keep it simple Bobo!

Great article Tony.


August 25th, 2010
8:51 pm

The only place Bobo might go is to a head coach position.


August 25th, 2010
9:42 pm

LHarding where will Bobo be a head coach. Clarke Central maybe. NOBOBY is even checking if BOBO is available to talk to. Bobo isn’t on any college AD’s lips for any job. I need some of what you are drinking for sure.


August 25th, 2010
9:51 pm

I see Brian Kelly and Notre Dame going 6-6 not 8 or 9 wins. ND has talent but I don’t see BK in his first year doing a lot of great things.


August 25th, 2010
10:20 pm

If RichRod would have waited until he got the players to run the spread they would have not gone 3-9 his first year, Mallett would not have left and Arkansas would be irrelevant this year. I wonder how So. Car. or UGA would fair this year if they ran the wishbone with the recruits they have. Nevertheless, he has done a poor job recruiting. Look at the last years of the Carr era and at all the NFL talent on both sides of the ball. This team has none and the players that got drafted this year were Carr’s. Michigan will eventually be back to where it was. It just probaly won’t be with RichRod. I see at best 8-4 this year but probaly 7-5.


August 25th, 2010
10:25 pm

I agree TR LSU has had some unfortunate luck with QBs. Of course our poor line play didn’t help last season.

helmet head on the short bus

August 25th, 2010
11:55 pm


Great Article. Lets get to the bottom line. SEC and ACC.

First lets look at the lines from Shula and Dooley, Shula is hired to fill in for a guy who never made it to his first game. Dooley is hired to replace a guy who made it through one year. Both coaches had fathers who were legends. Both coaches are( were) staring down the barrel of NCAA Probation. Vols and Bama Fans tolerate their respective coaches but they both know these guys are on temporary fits until a legend or a future legend can be hired. Dooley will get three years to hang on the ship while probation is being administered.

Mark Richt has replaced his failed defensive coordinator. He will replace his offensive coordinator next. After that he will be replaced if he does not win. You UGA fans need to realize something,
Your last National Title was 30 years ago. Mark Richt won 2 SEC Championships but was never really in the National Title Picture either year. As long as Florida is providing an annual kicking in Jacksonville every year and Georgia finishes 2nd or 3rd in the east and 4th or 5 overall in the SEC, UGA will be a middle of pack program. There is a couple of issues here: The high school talent in the state of Georgia ranks right behind Florida, Texas, California and schools from each of these state have won titles( USC did pay their players though). Richt keeps having great recruiting years but the end result is SEC titles and BCS titles. As of today if you ask a group of Media writers from across the country they would tell you that Florida, Alabama, LSU and now Auburn are programs that have surpassed UGA in success and status.

Coaches who will really need to pick up their games or will be let go in some form or fashion:

Obama- oops wrong sport

Bo Athens GA

August 26th, 2010
12:40 am

ohhh what ever happened to patience???? i dont know about LSU fans, but from a real UGA fan, coach Richt is on no hot seat right now. Any caoch can be put on one, but he is fine. It floors me how if it did not happen yesterday, it never happened…Richt has one of the top winning% in the country over hos tenure and the only reason we have not won a natty is because you gotta have a little luck, and we aint’, but be PATIENT. Coach Richt has done a fine job at UGA and as alumni and ticket holder I am more concerned about you morons running your mouth and pissin’ him off and leaving, so shut up. Thanks and have a great day!!!


August 26th, 2010
12:52 am

Bo Richt ain’t going to leave. He will have to be run out just like his daddy Bobby B. Richt will just winn enough to stay as long as UGA will keep him. The plays players that shouldn’t be playing because of Loyality and that is what Richt wants. He wants UGA fans to shut up and let him pick-up his paycheck.


August 26th, 2010
2:02 am

I think its funny how the only people bringing up Richt’s name on this list are opposing team’s fans.

Tony Geinzer

August 26th, 2010
4:50 am

Tony, I would love to say that Virginia will beat Virginia Tech as I am so sick of Virginia Tech,for obvious reasons and also , I want Kentucky to beat Tennessee and Florida as Dooley is 1 and Done and Florida will have big problems Without Tebow. I want to see Kansas win the Big XII as I don’t like Nebraska and OU and besides Texas, I would like to see Kansas, Mizzou, and ISU win.


August 26th, 2010
5:33 am

Texas Tech will have a better defense.
Tommy Tuberville will have more success this year than Jimbo Fisher.
Florida State will be lucky if they end up 7-6 again.


August 26th, 2010
6:50 am

That’s funny Tony Blowhart.

Coach Richt is # 1 in the nation in Fulmer Cup Standings 2010 and # 3 going back 4 years.

Over the same timeframe of over 50 Arrests / Suspensions going back 4 years, we are 10-10 vs SEC East, average 21 fumbles a year all 4 years, are 3-4 LOSING record at HOME over the 4 years vs SEC East teams, average # 96 NCAA Rank in Penalties over these 4 years and average 14 interceptions a year the last 4 years of 38-14 good for finding now 18 teams Coach Richt does NOT have more wins than over the last 4 years.

If he isn’t 12-2 this season, next year he will be on the hot seat and faces it losing 15 seniors and 4-5 juniors.

Thought you might want to know

Ramma Bama

August 27th, 2010
5:41 pm

Dooley better not “struggle” too long—the ut fans are mad that he got the job and are expecting him to do something quick or hit the road.


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