On the Ball: College Coaches on the Hot Seat

By Dave Martin, Epoch Times

With the ever-rising salaries that accompany college football coaches, come ever-rising expectations—at least at places like Michigan, Nebraska, and Florida where winning records aren’t enough for a coach to keep his job. Heading into 2014, here are the 10 coaches under the most pressure to win or be ousted.

10. Bo Pelini, Nebraska: 58–24 record at school, 9–4 last season:

There are a couple ways to view Pelini’s time at Nebraska. One is that he’s never had a worse season than 9–4—not bad. The other is that he’s yet to win a conference title, national championship, or get more than 10 wins in any of his 6 seasons at a place where expectations run high. In addition he made his own seat hotter last year when a recording surfaced, from two years ago, in which he ripped Nebraska fans in an expletive-filled tirade.

9. Brady Hoke, Michigan: 26–13 record at school, 7–6 last season:

Hoke went 11–2 and won the Sugar Bowl in his first season with the Wolverines but they’ve gone an un-Michigan like 15–11 since, while rivals Ohio State and Michigan State have thrived—never a good thing in Ann Arbor. His only saving grace is that his predecessor, Rich Rodriguez, was even worse. Of course, Rodriguez lasted just three seasons.

8. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: 48–32 record at school, 7–6 last season:

Johnson’s first two seasons at Georgia Tech were a breath of fresh air—9–4 in 2008 and then 11–3 the following year—following Chan Gailey’s mediocre six-year run. Johnson was revered locally but since then he’s posted just a 28–25 record with only one Bowl win. Another seven-win season likely won’t cut it.

7. Dana Holgorson, West Virgina: 21–17 record at school, 4–8 last season:

Holgorson was riding high just a couple years ago after his Mountaineers blasted Clemson 70–33 in the Orange Bowl to cap a 10–3 season—West Virginia’s last in the Big East. Since joining the Big 12 though, his teams are just 11–14 and have the unfortunate distinction of being the only conference team during that time to lose to Charlie Weis’s hapless Jayhawks.

6. Ron Turner, FIU: 1–11 record at school, 1–11 last season:

Normally you don’t get on the hot seat after just one season, but Turner’s debut at Florida International was pretty poor. His Golden Panthers lost by an average score of 37–10 and were shut out three different times—all while playing in the competition-challenged Conference USA. In addition, Turner has less than a great résumé to fall back on, having just two winning seasons in his eight-year run at Illinois.

5. Tim Beckman, Illinois: 6–18 record at school, 4–8 last season:

Beckman showed slight improvement last year in his second season with the Illini after a 2–10 debut in 2012, but the fact remains he’s won just one Big Ten game (against 1–11 Purdue last year) in two years. In addition, five of the team’s seven conference losses were by more than 10 points, while one of the team’s wins was against Southern Illinois—a non-FBS school.

4. Norm Chow, Hawaii: 4–20 record at school, 1–11 last season:

Chow was very well respected as an offensive coordinator at a number of stops including BYU, USC, UCLA, and even the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. He’s yet to get it going at Hawaii though. Most rebuilding jobs take a while to do but working against Chow is the fact that predecessors Greg McMackin (29–25) and June Jones (76–41) rarely had this much trouble in their time on the island.

3. Mike London, Virginia: 18–31 record at school, 2–10 last season:

London’s had just one winning season in four years at Virginia (8–5 in 2011) and his team has taken a nosedive in the two years since then, winning just six games. Last year was especially poor as the Cavaliers went winless in the ACC. He’ll likely need a winning season to stay on board.

2. Charlie Weis, Kansas: 4–20 record at school, 3–9 last season:

After flushing Notre Dame’s football program down the toilet, it’s hard to see what Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger saw in Weis when he hired him two years ago—it’s even harder now that the Jayhawks are still the annual cellar-dwellers in the Big 12. Weis’s claim to fame was being Tom Brady’s offensive coordinator in New England for their three Super Bowl wins, though the Patriots have been alright without him. Significant improvement is likely needed for Weis to survive the season.

1. Will Muschamp, Florida: 22–16 record at school, 4–8 last season:

After an 11–2 run in 2012, capped by a Sugar Bowl appearance, Muschamp’s Gators lost seven straight games—including a 26–20 defeat to FCS power Georgia Southern—to end what started as a promising season in 2013. Had this been a complete outlier, Muschamp’s seat wouldn’t be so hot, but a 7–6 debut in 2011 didn’t win exactly win over a rabid fan base that’s seen their team win two of the last eight national titles.