Football Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

I agree with Gritty on this one. Let me put it this way. If we were playing Russian roulette and the gun was pointed to your head and I said, "You've been lucky a couple times already, want to try again?" would you agree to play one more time? 90% of the best candidates are off the board. Is it still possible to find a great hire? Sure. But our odds get less and less every week. (Ya, I know that was dramatic, but it helps make it very clear for some).
If this is true, and I'm not saying it isn't - why is there so much change again after a couple of years. Is there a stat that compares those 'best' candidates you mention to what job they have the following year, and the year after ... or even 5 years later.... Seems to me that these coaches 'move around' a LOT... and their 'shine' has worn off after a couple of seasons. Shouldn't the goal be to find a more 'LONG-TERM' answer ????? Not just hire the 'coach-de-jour' ???
 
To use your own hyperbolic logic, I could easily ask if you're suggesting that we should fire a coach immediately after their first loss... Or perhaps after the first time the team fails to make a first down....
But that isn't the implication of my logic at all. The correct implication is all the Barry Alvarez stuff, and if you can find a plausible Lovie comp where it worked out please let me know because I have looked extensively.

Well, technically you can't say that all those schools wouldn't have been better off keeping those coaches. There's no way to say for sure since they were ultimately all fired.
This is the more challenging response.

And yet, name a coach who a school really missed out on something by firing too early. Northwestern and Denny Green maybe? SMU and Hayden Fry perhaps? Though he'd already been there over a decade.

You would think there would be more examples. I find the fact that there aren't quite telling, really.
 
Last edited:
And yet, name a coach who a school really missed out on something by firing too early. Northwestern and Denny Green maybe? SMU and Hayden Fry perhaps? Though he'd already been there over a decade.

You would think there would be more examples. I find the fact that there aren't quite telling, really.
Ed Orgeron maybe? Though it is tough not to win at the clip he is at LSU
 
Likes: ChiefGritty
Glen Mason at Minnesota always comes to mind for me, only because he was churning out low-level bowl bids every year and Minnesota thought they could do so much better with Tim Brewster (foreshadowing: they did not).


View attachment 4000
I always thought the Zooker could have been our Glen Mason. The fans always act like we would be good with a Mason type record but after a few seasons you get greedy.

And I absolutely thought Zook should have been fired. In 2009 actually
 
I always thought the Zooker could have been our Glen Mason. The fans always act like we would be good with a Mason type record but after a few seasons you get greedy.

And I absolutely thought Zook should have been fired. In 2009 actually
The issue I had for comparing the two is that Mason took Minnesota to 7 bowl games in 8 years (The '99 Sun Bowl was their first bowl game in 13 years), where Zook only ended up taking Illinois to 3* bowl games in his last 5 seasons. Plus, Zook's recruiting classes plummeted after 2009, leading to Beckman having a steeper hole to climb out of when he took over (Brewster had some back luck in 2007 with six single-digit losses and bounced back accordingly in 2008). For me, keeping Zook for 2012 wouldn't have changed the trajectory of what ultimately happened that season.

Zook's early recruiting success put together a couple talented rosters together, culminating in one great season, but it wasn't as sustainable as what Mason did at Minnesota.
 
Likes: Dren1
i still can’t believe how much Zook’s teams underachieved after the Rose Bowl. The amount of talent on those teams was unreal for a team like Illinois. We were churning out pros at a rate as good as any blue blood for those few years. I really think it came down to botched coordinator hires. If I remember correctly Okruch left for personal reasons leading up to the Rose Bowl and Locksley left the next year. Zook promoted from within for the DC and made the huge mistake on Schultz for the OC. If he’d have brought in coordinators on par with Koenning and Petrino at that time, he very well could still be coaching us now. Those teams were loaded.
 
Give him the same schedules as Glen Mason and he very well might have been.
This is a great point that I had forgotten. Mr. Guenther and his impossibly hard and poorly constructed schedules.

Zook was hurt in recruiting by Lox leaving and the constant question of his job status. I think if there was stability in his job situation and Vic Koennig as his DC he could have won 6 games a year forever. Zook and staff had a pretty good eye for underrated talent, not unlike this staff, so I think he could have kept the talent coming in at a reasonable level.

Unfortunately, Zook was always going to lose a couple of games a year they shouldn't do to his odd game game management
 
Likes: lexwaldez
I remember a game at Indiana where he literally didn’t know the score. It had to do with a weirdly timed 2 point attempt and he honestly admitted having the score wrong during an interview.
I was at that game and we ended up losing after being up big. He wasn't a great in game strategist to say the least. Definition of a program manager coach rather than x and o's
 
Likes: Blockhead
But that isn't the implication of my logic at all. The correct implication is all the Barry Alvarez stuff, and if you can find a plausible Lovie comp where it worked out please let me know because I have looked extensively.
I know many like to use the Barry Alvarez story as an example, and for sure I'd like it -- NO, I'd love it IF we could ever find our 'Barry'....

1990 1–10 0–8 - 10th
1991 5–6 2–6 T–8th
1992 5–6 3–5 T–6th
1993 10–1–1 6–1–1 T–1st. WRose56
1994 7–4–1 4–3–1 4th. WHall of Fame
1995 4–5–2 3–4–1 T–7th
1996 8–5 3–5 7th W Copper
1997 8–5 5–3 5th L Outback
1998 11–1 7–1 T–1st WRose
1999 10–2 7–1 1st. WRose
2000 9–4 4–4 T–5th. WSun
2001 5–7 3–5 T–8th
2002 8–6 2–6 T–8th WAlamo
2003 7–6 4–4 T–7th LMusic City
2004 9–3 6–2 3rd LOutback
2005 10–3 5-3 T–3rd

But look closely... He started out bad (1-10 / 0-8), then improved for the next 2 years to get to the Rose Bowl, then went BACKWARDS for the next 2 years.. Then improved again (but did a repeat immediately), then surged again.... And he gets tons of credit for taking the program to ALL those bowl games... He's a miracle worker for sure...

I'm not saying that Lovie is going to replicate this - or be even close and yes he's already behind that growth pattern (like what coach isn't)... What I'm saying is that we're in year 2 1/2 (based on late hiring date), and it's too early to tell what will happen. It could go completely south... IDK... It could work out fine... IDK .... But here's what I know. There are 125 FCS programs, there are 130 FBS schools, there are 169 Div 2 schools, and 250 Div 3 schools... How many fire a coach after 2-3-4 or 5 years and hire a new coach and find their Barry, who builds a SUCCESSFUL long-term program ??? How many ? Yet, post after post intimates that it's so easy to do.

Illinois has been hiring and firing coaches regularly and frequently since I've been on this planet (over 80+ years), and I've paid attention ever since 1949-50. We've caught lightning in a bottle only 3 times IMO, yet not one single Illinois Coach was able to BUILD a consistently winning program, such as Barry with 9 bowls over an 11 year span.... But what other team in FCS/FBS/Div2/Div3 has been able to do this ???? (not counting tOSU & scUM & Ala & etc. - because the perennial winners have NEVER been as DOWN as Illinois is)

I want Illinois to be a winner on the field and off .... I'm just sad it probably won't happen in my time left.
 
Likes: Chukwuwumba
I'm honestly more than a little surprised he hasn't had a more high profile job since leaving. I know he didn't do anything insane here and ultimately his tenure was a failure, but if he wasn't a great recruiter, not sure who is.

Obviously he's old, and it's been a while since he was in the college game, and I'd bet being an NFL STC is a lot easier than recruiting and coaching in the NCAA, but still.
 
Illinois has been hiring and firing coaches regularly and frequently since I've been on this planet (over 80+ years), and I've paid attention ever since 1949-50. We've caught lightning in a bottle only 3 times IMO, yet not one single Illinois Coach was able to BUILD a consistently winning program, such as Barry with 9 bowls over an 11 year span.... But what other team in FCS/FBS/Div2/Div3 has been able to do this ???? (not counting tOSU & scUM & Ala & etc. - because the perennial winners have NEVER been as DOWN as Illinois is)
I won't survey all of FBS, but just in our own conference, Iowa under Fry and Ferentz have consistently won for 40 years and Dantonio has been a home run for a dozen seasons at MSU. Those two, plus Wisconsin, were mediocre-to-garbage programs for decades until everything fell into place.

As has been mentioned countless times here, given fan bases, resources and recruiting areas, there is zero reason why Illinois cannot be as successful a program as Wisky, Iowa or MSU. What has held back the Illini are a lack of commitment from the administration, the right coach and a cracker jack AD. I'm optimistic the latter issue has been resolved by Whitman, but I'm still concerned about the former.
 
I'm honestly more than a little surprised he hasn't had a more high profile job since leaving. I know he didn't do anything insane here and ultimately his tenure was a failure, but if he wasn't a great recruiter, not sure who is.

Obviously he's old, and it's been a while since he was in the college game, and I'd bet being an NFL STC is a lot easier than recruiting and coaching in the NCAA, but still.
Isn’t this basically the description of ligs? Don’t know is age though. NFL st coach, became college st coach; great success with punter and kicker this year, it has worked.
Seems to only to recruit ST, and got Blake (great find) and griffin (very high ranked).
Seems like Zook could easily get back to college as ST assistant, if he wanted. Doesn’t have to recruit if he doesn’t want to. Not sure how he would do to find/ develop a kicker/punter though, but could probably recruit a good one!!!!
 
Likes: ChiefIllini
...back to a last page conversation / response to 0440. I guess I understand a Texas tie to recruiting as a
position coach, but the step forward on offense came from a fresh new perspective and the freedom
to implement a system based upon our players. I don't see our defense making significant strides
with Lovie implementing the same old same old. It hasn't worked yet. I would hope for a like-minded
DC (to Lovie) who has a track record at the college level, knows how to motivate a defense.
 
...back to a last page conversation / response to 0440. I guess I understand a Texas tie to recruiting as a
position coach, but the step forward on offense came from a fresh new perspective and the freedom
to implement a system based upon our players. I don't see our defense making significant strides
with Lovie implementing the same old same old. It hasn't worked yet. I would hope for a like-minded
DC (to Lovie) who has a track record at the college level, knows how to motivate a defense.
I'm with you and nothing would surprise me with Lovie but I think he trusts his system whether it's right or not is up for debate. That being said he has his list of candidates lined up and should be starting interviews soon....and no I don't know any of the names yet haha.
 
Last edited:
...back to a last page conversation / response to 0440. I guess I understand a Texas tie to recruiting as a
position coach, but the step forward on offense came from a fresh new perspective and the freedom
to implement a system based upon our players. I don't see our defense making significant strides
with Lovie implementing the same old same old. It hasn't worked yet. I would hope for a like-minded
DC (to Lovie) who has a track record at the college level, knows how to motivate a defense.
Lovie has worked his system for decades. He has said that he even played a version of it in Junior High (in the 70s). He has worked it, developed it, and perfected it. The question people had, with Lovie coaching in College, was whether there was enough time for players to learn the system. It is one of the reasons we have seen his players from early on. He believes that the system needs tweaking, it doesn't need to be junked. And I am certain that he will be able to see the talent on the roster and make adjustments based on our personnel. He has done it before. I actually think that we are better off with him running his system than anyone else. And, I think the upgrade to speed in 2019, will help him put people on the field that can run the system. This doesn't mean that this is going to work. But if his defense is going to work, he is the best person to be able to figure it out. If it is not going to work, it is best if he runs it and can't make it work. I don't think Lovie is going to be on staff and run a different defense.
 
Just in general, I think too much is made about the difference and types of defenses. There’s only so many zones and man coverages and only so many gaps up front to cover. The differences are really individual techniques taught to the players, coach philosophies (how often you blitz, disguising fronts/coverages), and who has what responsibility (runstuffing 2 gap d line vs a Lovie style every man has 1 gap, etc). Now I understand those differences can be pretty drastic with the types of players you need and what it may look like on the field, but if you can recruit the players you need, and develop and teach them properly, any scheme should, and has proven to, work.

Now, Lovies scheme has always frustrated me based mostly on personal preference. I think confusing the qb is the key to college defense and my favorite way to do that is through aggressive blitzes, press coverage, and disguised converages. Lovie tends to be more “basic” in his looks and traditionally doesn’t blitz a ton. If his team is fundamentally strong in the secondary and good individually up-front, it should still work fine, just not my cup of tea.

I guess what I’m getting at is if Lovie wants to stay with his philosophy, I’m totally fine with it and it’s something that can definitely work. (Iowa has run a similar scheme with great success for years). They just really need to sure up the fundamentals and get coaches who are comfortable coaching that scheme.
 
Is there a movie on this flight?
Elmhurst
Just in general, I think too much is made about the difference and types of defenses. There’s only so many zones and man coverages and only so many gaps up front to cover. The differences are really individual techniques taught to the players, coach philosophies (how often you blitz, disguising fronts/coverages), and who has what responsibility (runstuffing 2 gap d line vs a Lovie style every man has 1 gap, etc). Now I understand those differences can be pretty drastic with the types of players you need and what it may look like on the field, but if you can recruit the players you need, and develop and teach them properly, any scheme should, and has proven to, work.

Now, Lovies scheme has always frustrated me based mostly on personal preference. I think confusing the qb is the key to college defense and my favorite way to do that is through aggressive blitzes, press coverage, and disguised converages. Lovie tends to be more “basic” in his looks and traditionally doesn’t blitz a ton. If his team is fundamentally strong in the secondary and good individually up-front, it should still work fine, just not my cup of tea.

I guess what I’m getting at is if Lovie wants to stay with his philosophy, I’m totally fine with it and it’s something that can definitely work. (Iowa has run a similar scheme with great success for years). They just really need to sure up the fundamentals and get coaches who are comfortable coaching that scheme.
Lovie's D will look a lot better when our Jimmys and Joes are finally on par with our opponents. We're getting there.

As to defensive philosophy, good analysis and good points. Stands to reason that college QBs are much more prone to confusion than pro QBs. Tweaking the D to promote more confusion seems like a good idea.
 
Lovie's D will look a lot better when our Jimmys and Joes are finally on par with our opponents. We're getting there.

As to defensive philosophy, good analysis and good points. Stands to reason that college QBs are much more prone to confusion than pro QBs. Tweaking the D to promote more confusion seems like a good idea.
Exactly. I truly believe the answer to high powered college offenses is qb confusion and press coverage. Now that’s probably making it too simple, but ideally you’d get pressure on the qb, while giving him no quick open window to throw.