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Meet The New Coaches - Fresno St to Memphis
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 2, 2012


With all the changes and all the surprises on the coaching front, do you know who all the new guys are? How good were the new hires and how will they all work out? Before jumping into the recruiting season, meet the new bosses who'll take over as Richard Cirminiello breaks down and analyzes 2012's new head coaches.

Preview 2012

Meet The New Coaches - Part 2


By Richard Cirminiello

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- 2012 New Head Coaches - Akron to Florida Atlantic
- 2012 New Head Coaches - Fresno State to Memphis
- 2012 New Head Coaches - New Mexico to Pitt
- 2012 New Head Coaches - Rutgers to Washington State
 
Fresno State
Head Coach: Tim DeRuyter
Replaces: Pat Hill
Last Gig: Texas A&M defensive coordinator

Reason to like the hire: DeRuyter has had a long track record of transforming underachieving defenses, like the one in College Station, which is exactly what the Bulldogs need. The former Air Force player and coach also promises to bring an air of discipline and hard work to the Fresno State program. He’ll help with the transition to the Mountain West, where his new employer is headed after spending the past two decades in the WAC.

2012 SEASON PREVIEW
All August long, CFN and Scout.com will get you ready for the season with these great features. But that's not all. Check CFN's 2012 preview page for even more coverage.
Aug. 1: Top coaches on the hot seat
Aug. 3: Meet the new coaches
Aug. 6: Teams that might surprise us
Aug. 8: Teams that might disappoint us
Aug. 10: Teams that could ruin your season
Aug. 13: Biggest unanswered questions
Aug. 15: Great programs heading nowhere
Aug. 17: Unknown programs on the rise
Aug. 20: Top Heisman Trophy candidates
Aug. 22: Best games of the regular season
Aug. 24: Toughest stadiums to play in
Aug. 27: Teams most likely to play in BCS
Aug. 29: Title game match-ups we'd love
Reason to question the hire: DeRuyter isn’t walking into an ordinary situation or an ordinary part of the country. He’s following Pat Hill, who’d been an institution at Fresno State since coming over from the NFL in 1997. And he’ll need to quickly get acclimated with the Valley, a very tight-knit community that has its own culture and set of unique obstacles. He’ll have to speak the language of the locals, and gradually become a part of the fabric of a demoralized area.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: Be extremely disappointed if his Bulldogs aren’t great right away. He’s walking into a terrific situation and he should be one of the hot names going into the 2013 season.

Hawaii
Head Coach: Norm Chow
Replaces: Greg McMackin
Last Gig: Utah offensive coordinator

Reason to like the hire: Not only is the Honolulu native returning home, but he has also finally landed that coveted first head coaching job later in life. He’s Ralph Friedgen with a lei. As an assistant, Chow has long been recognized as one of the top teachers of offensive personnel, especially quarterbacks. When the Warriors have flourished, it’s always been supported by the passing game, a trend the new staff will continue. On so many levels, this is a perfect marriage of coach and University.

Reason to question the hire: Chow, now 65, was passed over for openings for years. Did those other schools know something that Hawaii doesn’t? The last time the coach was truly at the top of his game, he was leading a stacked USC squad seven years ago. Since that stint as a member of Pete Carroll’s staff, Chow has had three mediocre stops as the offensive coordinator of UCLA, Utah and the Tennessee Titans.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: He’s not going to make Hawaii Sugar Bowl good like June Jones did, but get your popcorn ready. The offense has been fine over the last few years, but now it’s going to become terrific again.

Houston
Head Coach: Tony Levine
Replaces: Kevin Sumlin
Last Gig: Houston inside receivers coach/special teams coordinator

Reason to like the hire: The Cougars have maintained a sense of continuity by promoting from within. Those who have played for or worked alongside Levine have long labeled him a rising star within the profession. He’s a respected leader inside the program, yet is also very well-liked by his players. The last time Houston stayed within the family, replacing Art Briles with the then little-known Sumlin, the move worked out quite well.

Reason to question the hire: Obviously, a lack of experience will be the biggest hurdle for Levine, 39, to clear. Forget head coaching familiarity. The former wide receiver at Minnesota has never even been a coordinator. Maintaining the renaissance built by Briles and Sumlin will come with all kinds of new challenges, from hiring assistants and attracting new talent to dealing with loftier expectations and the countless rigors of being a young executive.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: Next. He learned quickly and the Houston offense isn’t going to slow down any time soon. It’s not going to do what it did with Case Keenum running it, but Levine will make sure the attack keeps flying.

Illinois
Head Coach: Tim Beckman
Replaces: Ron Zook
Last Gig: Toledo head coach

Reason to like the hire: After a series of successful shifts as a coordinator, Beckman proved he can handle top billing by leading a turnaround at Toledo. His Rockets offenses were exciting and prolific, promising news for an Illini team pining for an infusion of new ideas on that side of the ball. In three years in the MAC, he proved to be one of the league’s premier recruiters, showing an affinity for landing wins throughout the Midwest. Illinois needs a guy who can occasionally beat out the likes of Urban Meyer, Brady Hoke and Bret Bielema.

Reason to question the hire: If Illinois was looking to make a splash with this personnel move, it missed the mark. While Beckman is a stable and steady hire, he wasn’t even the program’s third choice to supplant Zook. He’s a defensive coach by trade, but his Rockets teams were fundamentally challenged and had all kinds of problems slowing down opponents. If Beckman attempts to live solely off the proceeds of his skill players, he’ll have a very short stay in the Big Ten.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: It will be interesting to see if he’s able to give the program a bit of an attitude. He wasn’t afraid to ruffle a few Big Ten feathers by going after Penn State players, but it might take a little PR work to not come across like Ron Zook, Part 2.

Kansas
Head Coach: Charlie Weis
Replaces: Turner Gill
Last Gig: Florida offensive coordinator

Reason to like the hire: Within a few days of being hired in December, Weis had attracted a pair of disgruntled former blue-chip quarterbacks, Notre Dame’s Dayne Crist and BYU’s Jake Heaps, to Lawrence. He has rarely had problems orchestrating high-powered offensive attacks, and he’s going to get quarterbacks who’ll want to play for him. He also owns three Super Bowl rings from his days as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, a level of experience and success that can only help a wayward program, such as Kansas.

Reason to question the hire: In five years at Notre Dame Weis was just 35-27, failing to back up his bluster with results on the field. His defenses were always a problem in South Bend, which should be cause for concern for any team residing in the pass-happy Big 12. He’s bounced around the last two years with Florida and the Kansas City Chiefs, and his abrasive, in-your-face approach will be even harder to digest if he can’t turn the Jayhawks around.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: He’ll be a red-hot NFL offensive coordinator hire in 2015.

Massachusetts
Head Coach: Charley Molnar
Replaces: Kevin Morris
Last Gig: Notre Dame offensive coordinator

Reason to like the hire: Like Kansas, soon-to-be MAC member Massachusetts has handed the reins to a former Notre Dame offensive coordinator. Molnar not only brings boundless energy to the Minutemen, but also a 28-year resume that includes stints with four different Mid-American Conference programs. Having studied under Brian Kelly for the past seven years, he has the blueprint for a fast-paced offense that could generate more interest in the program around Amherst.

Reason to question the hire: When making the daunting leap from the FCS to the FBS, it’s ideal to have an experienced head coach leading the way. Molnar isn’t that guy. Residing on Kelly’s staff is a double-edged sword. Yeah, he learned from one of the game’s brighter offensive minds, but he also got buffered and sheltered from a mess of chief executive challenges that are going to be on his desk beginning in 2012.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: It will take two years, but he’ll make UMass a player in MAC play by 2014. His offenses will be excellent with a little bit of time.

Memphis
Head Coach: Justin Fuente
Replaces: Larry Porter
Last Gig: TCU co-offensive coordinator

Reason to like the hire: To those who’ve toiled alongside him, Fuente is considered one of the rising young stars of the coaching ranks. He operates with limitless energy, which resonates on the practice field and the recruiting trail. A former quarterback, who was instrumental in the development of current Cincinnati Bengal Andy Dalton, he’ll bring fresh ideas, an inventive approach and a winning attitude to Memphis from Fort Worth.

Reason to question the hire: A young, off-the-radar assistant from a highly successful program—didn’t the Tigers just finish going down this road with Porter? Yes, Fuente is extremely mature and advanced for his age, but he’s only 35, and will be asked to learn on the fly at a flailing program that’s won just five games over the last three years. After being surrounded by so much prosperity since joining TCU in 2007, he’ll need to show he can build from the bottom up without any past experience.

CFN prediction on how he’ll do: This could be an interesting hire that’s not getting a whole bunch of play. He’ll have to take his lumps, but don’t be stunned if he makes Memphis a little bit of a factor.

- 2012 New Head Coaches - Akron to Florida Atlantic
- 2012 New Head Coaches - New Mexico to Pitt
- 2012 New Head Coaches - Rutgers to Washington State