Sadly, the college football regular season has come to an end. While the action on the field may be dwindling, 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 the move to another job? Here is a running list of the ongoing movement in the college football coaching carousel. This will be updated chronologically.
Tim Lester out at Western Michigan
Western Michigan announced Monday morning that it had fired coach Tim Lester. The Broncos were 5-7 in 2022.
“The upcoming college football playoff expansion and the incredible foundation for success we have within our football program provides an exciting national opportunity for Bronco Football. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity by pursuing a new direction within our football program,” Western Michigan athletic director Dan Bartholomae said in a statement.
Lester was 37-23 in six seasons as the head coach of his alma mater. Lester became WMU’s head coach in 2017 after P.J. Fleck went to Minnesota and the 2022 season was the first sub-.500 season of his tenure.
But while this was Lester’s first winning season, WMU won eight games just once in his time with the school. WMU lost six games in each of his first three seasons and was 4-2 in 2020 before going 8-5 with a Quick Lane Bowl win over Nevada in 2021.
Official: Wisconsin hires Luke Fickell
Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell is officially on the move to the Big Ten.
Wisconsin announced Sunday evening 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,” Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh said. “Luke is one of the top football coaches in the country. He is a proven winner, recruiter and developer of players.”
Added Fickell: “My family and I are thrilled to join the Wisconsin family. This is a destination job at a program that I have admired from afar for years. I am in total alignment with Chris McIntosh’s vision for this program. There is a tremendous foundation here that I can’t wait to build upon.”
Fickell is 57-18 in six years coaching 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.
Georgia Tech, Willie Fritz nearing a deal?
Georgia Tech appears to be closing in on a hire.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Athletic, the school has reached a deal to hire a new head coach. And that coach, from “all indications,” is Tulane’s Willie Fritz.
ESPN is reporting that Fritz interviewed for the GT job Sunday but no deal is in place.
Fritz, 62, has won wherever he has been — from junior college, Division II, FCS and the FBS. Now he’s getting a shot at a Power Five job.
Two days ago, Fritz’s Tulane team beat Cincinnati on the road to clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game. Tulane is set to host UCF in that game on Saturday in New Orleans.
Fritz is in his seventh season at Tulane, a program that has traditionally struggled to win. Before Fritz’s arrival, Tulane had just one winning record in its previous 13 seasons. Under Fritz, Tulane has had a winning record three times and reached bowl eligibility four times. Before Fritz coached Tulane to a win in the Cure Bowl in 2018, Tulane hadn’t 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 and are 10-2 entering the AAC title game. Tulane’s last 10-win season came 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 hire comes to fruition, Fritz replaces Geoff Collins, who was fired after a 1-3 start and a 10-28 overall record with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech finished the year 5-7, going 4-4 under interim head coach Brent Key.
Tulsa parts ways with Philip Montgomery
Tulsa has made a coaching change.
The school announced Sunday that it fired head coach Philip Montgomery. Tulsa beat Houston on Saturday to finish the season 5-7.
Montgomery has been at Tulsa since 2015 after he was hired from the Baylor coaching staff and has a career record of 43-53 at the school. Tulsa went to four bowl games in his eight years and even won 10 games in a 2016 campaign that culminated in a Miami Beach Bowl win.
Tulsa followed that season with a 2-10 season in 2017 and hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since. The Golden Hurricane were 7-6 in 2021 and 6-3 in 2020 after three straight losing seasons.
Texas State fires Jake Spavital
After four seasons, Texas State is moving on from Jake Spavital, who had a 13-35 record in his tenure. The Bobcats went 3-9 in his first season, 2-10 in his second season and then posted a 4-8 record in 2021 and 2022.
Spavital leaned heavily on junior college transfers and adding players from the transfer portal to build his rosters rather than recruit Texas high schools. That approach did not work out for Spavital.
Arizona State hires 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham
Five years ago, Arizona State curiously hired 63-year-old Herm Edwards to lead its football program. ASU’s new head coach is half that age.
The Sun Devils announced the hire of 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham on Sunday morning. Dillingham, an Arizona State alum, spent the 2022 season as the offensive coordinator at Oregon. Before his season in Eugene, Dillingham had stints as the offensive coordinator at Memphis, Auburn and Florida State.
The Arizona native becomes the youngest FBS head coach and he is inheriting a program that went 3-9.
David Shaw resigns after another losing season
David Shaw never won fewer than eight games over his first eight seasons as Stanford’s head coach. During that span, the Cardinal won three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowls. Since then, things have taken a massive downswing, 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 stepped down following a loss to BYU on Saturday night.
“After many prayers and multiple discussions with my wife, one phrase keeps coming to me — it’s time,” Shaw said. “There are not sufficient words to describe the love and gratitude I feel for my family, all of my former and current 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 program history.
FAU moves on from Willie Taggart after 3 seasons
Willie Taggart’s tenure at Florida Atlantic is over after three seasons. Taggart went 15-18 in three seasons coaching the Owls and only once made a bowl.
FAU lost 32-31 Saturday to Western Kentucky in overtime 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 to an eight-year contract for Rhule to be the Huskers’ new head coach.
Rhule most recently had a tough run as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, but he executed major rebuilds at Temple and Baylor.
Under Rhule’s watch, Temple went from 2-10 in his first season to winning a combined 20 games over 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. By Year 3, Baylor won 11 games and played for the Big 12 championship.
A similarly difficult rebuild will be in store for Rhule in Lincoln. Nebraska hasn’t had a winning season since 2016. The Huskers finished the 2022 season 4-8 and have a combined 23-45 record over the past six seasons.