The New Head Coaches
The Class of 2013 - Part 3
The New Head Coaches For ...
2012 | 2011
2013 New Head Coaches
- Arkansas to Idaho
2013 New Head Coaches
- Kent State to South Florida
2012 New Head Coaches
- Southern Miss to Wisconsin
Out With the Old … Ellis Johnson
In With the New … Todd Monken
He Got the Job Because … the administration feels he’s the total package in a head coach. Southern Miss passed on Monken a year ago, tabbing Ellis Johnson instead. No wins later, the Golden Eagles feel fortunate to have gotten a second crack at a coach considered an up-and-comer on the offensive side of the ball. The school needs to reignite the fan base, and feels the new regime has the right system and the right flair to make it happen.
His Top Priority Will Be To … change the climate in Hattiesburg as quickly as possible. Going winless in 2012 was a shock to the system for a program accustomed to success, and a year removed from a Conference USA title. Monken may not have the talent to do an about-face in 2013, but he needs to repair the psyche of the holdovers, while making sure that the locals remain excited about the program.
Out With the Old … Doug Marrone
In With the New … Scott Shafer
He Got the Job Because … staying in house made the most sense for the Orange. The program finished the year 6-1 in large part because of the performance of Shafer’s attacking defenders. Syracuse’s hands were somewhat tied with this hire since Marrone just left for the Buffalo Bills, and numerous possible targets had already been gobbled up. Shafer has been in high demand, landing four different defensive coordinator gigs since 2005.
His Top Priority Will Be To … develop a quarterback. Shafer has a firm grasp on the defense, and the ground game will be in the capable hands of backs Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley. However, the fate of the 2013 team will rest with its ability to successfully replace Ryan Nassib, the rare Orange hurler with a future in the NFL.
Out With the Old … Steve Addazio
In With the New … Matt Rhule
He Got the Job Because … no one else made more sense. On many levels, Rhule is a perfect choice for the Owls. He has deep roots in Pennsylvania, which include a six-year stint as an integral assistant on Al Golden’s staff. Rhule was a part of the team that helped build Temple into a respectable program, and probably should have gotten this gig two years ago. He’ll recruit well and instantly be embraced by the returning players, the recipe for a fast start.
His Top Priority Will Be To … figure out the offense. Rhule is an offensive guy, another reason why Temple wanted to get him back in Philadelphia. The Owls haven’t ranked higher than 63rd in the country over the last six years, and have had a particularly hard time in the passing game. Rhule has to develop a quarterback who can throw the ball, or else Temple will struggle to make gains.
Out With the Old … Derek Dooley
In With the New … Butch Jones
He Got the Job Because … he wins. Jones has won 50 games and at least a share of four conference title in six years, three at Central Michigan and three at Cincinnati. He’s proven that he can adapt to a new environment, both school and conference, and can recruit a wide swath of territory, a job requirement for a Tennessee coach. Jones wasn’t the first choice, but the Vols are cautiously optimistic his track record will help make him the right choice.
His Top Priority Will Be To … get off to a fast start. No, not win the SEC East fast, but enough to satisfy a fan base that’s justifiably frustrated, and was hoping for a bigger splash from AD Dave Hart. Jones inherits a decent enough talent to at least get the Volunteers back into the postseason, which should keep the locals from brandishing their pitchforks. Obviously, the entire staff must score big victories in recruiting, while coordinator John Jancek has to elevate the D.
Out With the Old … Tommy Tuberville
In With the New … Kliff Kingsbury
He Got the Job Because … he’s one of the nation’s most coveted and fastest rising young offensive coaches. The fact that he was a record-breaking quarterback for the Red Raiders just a decade ago sure didn’t hurt either. He just got done mentoring the first freshman Heisman winner in college football history, Johnny Manziel, and unlike the last coach, really wants to be in Lubbock.
His Top Priority Will Be To … surround himself with some seasoning on the staff. Kingsbury was a very popular hire, but he’s also 33 and has just five years of coaching experience … total. He brings an element of risk that can be mitigated by a couple of well-placed veterans on defense, even if the bulk of the staff remains young and energetic. Kingsbury is like JFK, needing at least one LBJ at his disposal for occasional guidance.
Out With the Old … Gary Andersen
In With the New … Matt Wells
He Got the Job Because … the administration was compelled to stay in-house. Coming off its first-ever 11-win season, Utah State had absolutely no reason to look outside its own campus for a head coach. The 38-year-old Wells may not have a ton of experience, but he has a passion for his alma mater and a no-huddle spread offense built around QB Chuckie Keeton that’ll remain intact in 2013.
His Top Priority Will Be To … keep as many assistants as possible in Logan. Andersen and Wells aren’t the only coaches from the 2012 staff who stand to prosper by the Aggies’ success. So, too, are other coaches, such as defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who did a fantastic job last fall. Since Wells is still a little green, and doesn’t even have much coordinator experience, he’ll benefit from keeping as many co-workers from bolting to Madison or the Pac-12.
Out With the Old … Mike Price
In With the New … Sean Kugler
He Got the Job Because … he’s the anti-Mike Price. Kugler is two decades younger than his predecessor, with substantially more energy and fire. Oh, he’s also a Miner, an offensive lineman for the program in the 1980s and an assistant coach in the 1990s. Though Kugler has no head coaching experience, and has spent most of the last decade in the NFL, he’s a well-respected teacher and motivator.
His Top Priority Will Be To … hit the road. Kugler wants his alma mater to play smarter and with more physicality, but that’ll only happen if he can attract a better caliber of player to El Paso. While UTEP won’t be winning many battles with the Big 12 or Pac-12, it must improve when going head-to-head with other Conference USA teams.
Out With the Old … Willie Taggart
In With the New … Bobby Petrino
He Got the Job Because … he’s one of the dozen or so best head coaches in college football. And he’s now a Hilltopper. Who could have guessed that a school like Western Kentucky would have upgraded after losing a rising star, such as Taggart, to South Florida? Petrino is a rental, with baggage, but he wins everywhere he goes, and will bring considerable attention to a program that makes noise beyond the state line.
His Top Priority Will Be To … learn how to make a square knot. After his embarrassing dismissal from Arkansas last spring, Petrino has to be a Boy Scout now that he’s gotten a second chance to gradually clean up his image. If he has any hope of getting back to the big leagues in the next year or two, he has to prove he can be as clean off the field as he is successful on it.
Out With the Old … Bill Cubit
In With the New … P.J. Fleck
He Got the Job Because … he’s going to bring the youth and energy to Kalamazoo that the Broncos are seeking. Western Michigan wants to break loose from the mediocrity that’s gripped it for the past few years, and was instantly impressed by the vision and fire in the belly of Fleck. The former star receiver at Northern Illinois is from the Midwest, and has a great feel for the region and the MAC.
His Top Priority Will Be To … hire wisely. There’s a fine line between youthful enthusiasm and flat-out inexperience. At 32, Fleck becomes the youngest head coach in the FBS, and has never even been a coordinator during his brief career. If he doesn’t surround himself with the right veterans on the staff, he’s liable to get overwhelmed early in his tenure, much the way a green Jon Embree did at Colorado.
Out With the Old … Bret Bielema
In With the New … Gary Andersen
He Got the Job Because … AD Barry Alvarez sees a lot of himself in his new head coach. Andersen is tough, blue-collar and very well-liked by his kids and his campus. He is a rock-solid choice for a Badgers program built on a stable foundation. Andersen’s defenses are aggressive and disciplined, and his recent exploits at Utah State, a doormat before he arrived, show that he can elevate the talent around him … much the way Alvarez did as the head coach in the 1990s.
His Top Priority Will Be To … hire a few assistants who know their way around the Midwest. Andersen knows Utah, having spent almost his entire life in the state. But Salt Lake City is more than 1,000 miles from the areas that the Badgers have traditionally culled talent. The new coach isn’t going to learn Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio overnight, but he can flatten the curve by retaining a current coach or two, and by hiring shrewdly.