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Saturday, January 29, 2022

College football head coaching openings: USC, LSU, Virginia Tech headline notable vacancies in college football

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During the 12 weeks of the college football season, the College Football Playoff rankings weren’t the only things that changed in the sports landscape. Programs are constantly evaluating the performance of their coaches and some decide to eventually move in another direction. This season has been notable, with many majors breaking up with coaches mid-season while others are expecting to follow suit. Below is a running list of the main coaching jobs that are currently open or those that will officially open at the end of the season.

Former coach: Clay Hilton

Hilton saw the end of his time at USC after losing this season to Stanford. Trojans have long yearned to return to the glory days of the early 2000s, and while those outsized expectations may be misplaced, this job is one of the best jobs on Earth. Resources stack against any other program, and the California talent pool hasn’t completely eschewed USC despite a few down seasons.

Former coach: Ed Orgeron

Orgeron will complete the season in Baton Rouge. He will miss his post two years after winning a national title due to poor performance and off-court issues. This is one of the best jobs in the best conference in the country. Whoever the coach gets this gig will have pressure to succeed but with tremendous support.

Former coach: Dan Mullen

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The Gators knocked out Mullen with one game remaining in the 2021 season after losing overtime to Missouri. That was an expected outcome, with Mullen losing five games in a row against Power 5 opponents. Florida now joins USC and LSU as strong programs that are making a change of leadership in this off-season.

Former coach: Justin Fuente

Fuente looked like he would complete the season, but the Virginia Tech officers decided to go in a different direction after the team’s victory over Duke. Frank Beamer is hard to follow but Fuente refused during his six-year tenure. This is one of the best jobs at ACC, with solid school resources.

Former coach: Jimmy Lake

Lake was abandoned after allegations surfaced that he had pushed and abused players mid-season. The Husky has also suffered some really embarrassing losses under his watch. This has been one of the best programs in Pac-12 in recent years and has made College Football Playoff. It’s a good backup job for candidates who miss out on bigger job opportunities.

Former coach: Gary Patterson

Patterson and the school parted after TCU lost to Kansas State this year. The coach was responsible for carrying The Horned Frogs through two conference changes and taking the program to new heights. Patterson showed that it is possible to win in the TCU, which is important in attracting good candidates.

Former coach: Nick Rolovich

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Rolovich did not comply with the school’s mandate for vaccination as part of the state’s mandate, so he was fired. This is a tough place to win, but Mike Leach succeeded in his “Air Raid” attack at Pullman.

Panthers FIU

Former coach: Butch Davis

Davis said he will be stepping down at the end of the season. FIU doesn’t have the resources of most Florida programs but the head coach here should be able to source some talented players from the state.

Troy Troy

Former coach: Chip Lindsey

Lindsay was 15-19 in three seasons, and the Trojans will miss a ball game unless they can beat Georgia State in Atlanta on November 27. After three straight wins in 2016-18, Troy failed to achieve a post-season ever under Lindsay’s tenure.

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