The college football The coaching carousel picked up steam as the regular season ended with a wild, action-packed Saturday.
The big news of the day was that Michigan State found a replacement for Mel Tucker and hired Jonathan Smith from Oregon State.
But that wasn’t all: rumors began to circulate surrounding the vacancy at Texas A&M
While the deep-pocketed school has enough money to look for a replacement for Jimbo Fisher, nothing concrete seemed to be in the works.
But where there is heat, there is often fire. Will the Aggies take action soon?
Check out the latest coaching news across the college football landscape.
Indiana fires Tom Allen
Allen’s time in Bloomington is over after seven seasons as Indiana’s head coach. This is reported by Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports.
Allen went 33-49 during his tenure at Indiana, but there was once promise for the program in the earlier seasons of his career there. He led Indiana to an 8-5 record in 2019 after two five-win seasons and moved to 6-2 during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
But just when Indiana seemed poised to challenge for a Big Ten title, it fell to the bottom of the conference. Allen’s Hoosiers went 2-10 and winless in conference play in 2021. Things never got much better for Allen, as he went 4-8 in 2022 and 3-9 this season.
Allen will be owed more than $20 million by the school for prematurely terminating his contract. The search for his replacement has already begun.
Dana Holgorsen fired by Houston
Holgorsen’s tenure with Houston is over after four years at the helm. according to multiple reports.
The 62-year-old had a few solid seasons when Houston was still in the AAC. He led the Cougars to a 12-2 record in 2021 and an 8-5 record in 2022.
But Holgorsen couldn’t steer Houston to success in his first season in the Big 12. The Cougars went 4-8 this season and 2-7 in conference play.
Houston hired Holgorsen from West Virginia after the 2018 season, looking to recapture some of the success he had during his time in Morgantown. Instead it will would reportedly pay him $14.8 million no longer coach the program.
Texas A&M: Mark Stoops? Ryan day?
Rumors swirled at Texas A&M on Saturday.
Early in the day, college football insider Bruce Feldman reported on “Big Noon Kickoff” that the Aggies would be interested in luring Ryan Day away from Ohio State, saying the school hoped the coach could pick up the phone if the Buckeyes lost to Michigan later in the day, which they did.
“The day is 56-6 as a head coach and he came within a field goal of being knocked out [eventual national champion] Georgia in the College Football Playoff [last year]Feldman said. “But keep in mind that the specter of back-to-back losses to hated archrival Michigan hangs heavy over Columbus. If they win here today and beat the Wolverines, I seriously doubt, with them in the playoff mix, that he would make that decision. But the Aggies are, I think, optimistic that if [the Buckeyes] If you don’t win this game, he might be open to their pitch.”
Texas A&M interested in Ohio State head coach Ryan Day?
There was no further word on the matter Saturday night, but former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer mocked the idea live, saying, “I love you, Bruce, but no way.”
Meanwhile, reports circulated later Saturday surrounding Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, another possible A&M candidate mentioned by Feldman.
Multiple reports, including from ESPN, said Stoops was staying in Kentucky.
State of Michigan rents The state of Oregon Jonathan Smith
The Michigan State Spartans have found their next head football coach, signing Jonathan Smith from Oregon State after a wildly successful stint at his alma mater, the school announced Saturday.
Smith, 44, replaces Mel Tucker, who was fired in September amid an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Tucker’s former assistant Harlon Barnett served as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, during which the Spartans finished 4–8 and were not bowl eligible for the second straight year. Barnett and the other aides were reportedly relieved of their duties Saturday morning.
Smith, a star quarterback for the Beavers in the early 2000s, returned to Corvallis after the 2017 season, with the program widely considered one of the worst in the Power 5 after going 12-36 over the past four seasons had become. He became one of the most respected head coaches in the country for rebuilding Oregon State’s program into a top-ranked program through the 2023 season.
He went 34-35 in six seasons with the Beavers, his first head coaching job, including going 25-13 over the past three years. Oregon State entered the College Football Playoff rankings at No. 11 this weekend, but lost 31-7 at its archrival Oregon on Friday. Smith did not deny the rumors linking him to Michigan State after the game, while Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes said this week that Retaining Smith was his “No. 1 priority.”
Smith received extensions and raises at Oregon State in 2020, 2021 and 2022, but the Beavers’ future is murky as one of two Pac-12 teams left behind in the realignment conference. Smith had six years left on his contract, worth $31.2 million through 2029, with a $3 million buyout.
Syracuse fires Dino Babers
Syracuse fired coach Dino Babers on Sunday after eight years with the Dutch team, which included only two bowl appearances.
Babers was 41-55 overall and 20-45 in the Atlantic Coast Conferenceincluding a breakout season in 2018 when the Dutch went 10-3 and finished No. 15 in the AP Top 25. He was never able to replicate that success, posting just a 7-6 record in 2022, his other winning season.
The 62-year-old Babers only had one season left on his contract, but the private school did not disclose the terms of the deal.
Jimbo Fisher out Texas A&M
After an unsuccessful tenure in which the Aggies went 45-25, including 27-21 in SEC play, Fisher was officially let go by athletic director Ross Bjork.
The former Florida State coach signed a massive 10-year, fully guaranteed contract at the end of the 2017 season.
That contract was extended to 10 years after he led the Aggies to a 9-1 record during the 2020 pandemic season.
Bjork said 25% of what Fisher owes — about $19 million — is due within 60 days and the first of several installments of about $7 million each is due within 120 days.
Assistant Elijah Robinson will serve as interim coach for the final two games of the regular season.
Mike Yurcich out Penn State
The Nittany Lions parted ways with their offensive coordinator after their loss to Michigan.
Penn State averaged nearly 38 points per game in its third season under Yurcich, but the battle against Big Ten East powers Michigan and Ohio State proved too much to overcome.
Zach Arnett out The state of Mississippi
Mississippi State announced Arnett’s dismissal on its athletics website. Arnett, who took the job after the death of Bulldogs coach Mike Leach last December, leaves the university with a 5-6 record, including a 4-6 mark this season, and the program ranked last in the league . Southeastern Conference Western Division at 1-6.
MSU athletic director Zac Selmon said in a statement that he determined a change in leadership was needed to move the football program forward and “position it for the highest level of success.”
Senior offensive analyst Greg Knox will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Andy Avalos out Boise State
Avalos was fired Sunday 10 games into his third season leading Boise State. He led the Broncos to a 22–14 overall record.
“I am grateful for the passion, commitment and dedication Andy has given to our community and his alma mater while he was our head coach,” Boise State athletic director Jeremiah Dickey said. “Andy will always be a Bronco and we wish him and his family the very best in their next steps.”
Defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson was named interim head coach.
Mel Tucker out State of Michigan
State of Michigan Tucker was officially fired after a suspension and an investigation into sexual harassment allegations came to light.
The university terminated what remained of Tucker’s 10-year, $95 million contract for admitting actions that derided the institution, breached his contract and caused moral turpitude.
Tucker was 20-14 in three-plus seasons with the Spartans, whom he led to 11 wins in 2021, and his career record as a college football head coach is 25-21.
Bruce Feldman on who can replace Mel Tucker
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