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Ivey: Wild coaching carousel to come

| Thursday, October 29, 2015

This college football season has been unlike any in recent memory in terms of coaching changes. It isn’t even November yet and there are already seven FBS college football programs that are looking for a future head football coach: USC, Miami, Illinois, Maryland, South Carolina, North Texas and Central Florida. That number will probably rise when the season ends.

Miami fired head coach Al Golden on Sunday after a 58-0 blowout loss to Clemson at home the previous day. The last five years, Golden led the Hurricanes to an overall record of 32-25, including a 4-3 record through the first seven games this season. Miami named tight end coach Larry Scott as the interim head coach. A number of names have already been mentioned as the possible replacement for Golden, including Butch Davis, who coached the Hurricanes from 1995 through 2000. Former NFL Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed has already said he would be interested in becoming the new head coach. Despite no previous coaching experience, Reed played for the Hurricanes from 1998 to 2001 and helped them win a national championship in 2001.

Back in August, a week before the college football season was scheduled to begin, Illinois fired head coach Tim Beckman. Beckman was fired over allegations of mistreating his players and forcing them to play while injured. During the three years he was head coach at Illinois, Beckman led the team to a 12-25 overall record. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit was named the interim head coach for the 2015 season. So far, Cubit has led the Fighting Illini to a 4-3 record through seven games this season.

This season has been so crazy that four head coaching vacancies were opened over the course of three days.

Steve Sarkisian was fired as USC head coach Oct. 12, a day after he took a leave of absence to deal with an alcohol problem. The last two seasons, Sarkisian led the Trojans to a 12-6 record, including a 3-2 record through the first five games of this season. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton was named the interim head coach.

Randy Edsall was fired as head coach at Maryland on Oct. 11. Through the last five years, Edsall led Maryland to an overall record of 22-33, including a 2-4 record in the first six games of this season. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was named the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

North Texas fired Dan McCarney Oct. 10. Through the last five years, McCarney led the Mean Green to an overall record of 22-32, including an 0-5 record to begin this season. Offensive coordinator Mike Canales was named the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

This season has also seen the ends of a couple of legendary coaching careers.

Steve Spurrier announced he was retiring as the head coach at South Carolina effective immediately Oct. 12. Spurrier has been a head coach for the last 28 years and has coached a number of teams, including Duke from 1987 to 1989, his alma mater, Florida, from 1990 through 2001, the NFL’s Washington Redskins from 2002 to 2004, and the Gamecocks from 2005 until this year. He led Florida to a national championship in 1996. In the last 11 seasons, Spurrier led the Gamecocks to an overall record of 86-49, including a 2-4 record to start this season. Assistant coach Shawn Elliot was named the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

George O’Leary resigned as head coach at UCF on Sunday. O’Leary had coached the Knights for the past 12 years, leading them to an overall record of 81-68. He led the Knights to a BCS bowl win just two years ago, when his Knights beat Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, but started this season with an 0-8 record.

Expect this offseason to have one of the most memorable coaching sweepstakes of all time. The number of job vacancies will continue to grow, and there are a number of young coaches who are looking to take the next step. Some of the names being thrown out as potential new coaches for these programs are Memphis head coach Justin Fuente, Temple head coach Matt Rhule, Houston head coach Tom Herman, Toledo head coach Matt Campbell and even Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. Expect these coaches to take the next step in their coaching careers, and expect these major programs to battle over who gets who.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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