The silly season has arrived earlier than usual in college football.
Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqualoni didn’t make it through September before being fired, and now Southern California and Connecticut have to start searching for new coaches — and dealing with the speculation that comes with the hunt.
Firing coaches during a season is rare in college football and even rarer this early.
From 2002-2012, only three FBS programs changed coaches after five or fewer games.
Mike Locksley was let go by New Mexico after an 0-4 start in 2011. John Mackovic resigned at Arizona in 2003 with the Wildcats 1-4. Bobby Keasler resigned as Louisiana-Monroe coach in 2002 after an 0-3 start.
In the cases of UConn and USC, already tenuous situations quickly became toxic. Fans who came into the season skeptical of their respective head coach’s ability to get the programs headed in the right direction were already bailing. Facing the prospect of half-full stadiums and constant questions about the status of the coach, USC athletic director Pat Haden and his counterpart at UConn, Warde Manuel, put an end to all the speculation.
But do they gain anything by getting a head start in the search process?
Agents Russ Campbell and Patrick Strong of Balch Sports in Birmingham, Ala., represent dozens of coaches. They said an early move lets an AD hire a search firm and gather financial resources without having to hide their intentions.
It can also be a way to change the subject at a time when there’s little positive news.
"By being one of the first openings, universities also potentially reverse field on negative media discussion," Campbell and Strong said in an email. "Instead of discussing how far the team has fallen, the weekly gameday discussion now focuses on what a great opportunity it is for the next head coach."Next Page >
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