The school soccer teaching scorching seat for 2021 was presupposed to be crowded.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit final yr, sources broadly anticipated colleges to be hesitant to make teaching modifications, aware of the associated fee for already-crunched athletic division budgets. Simply anticipate 2021, they mentioned. Will probably be wild.
Then, South Carolina fired Will Muschamp, and Vanderbilt quickly adopted in jettisoning Derek Mason. Illinois (Lovie Smith) and Arizona (Kevin Sumlin) had been subsequent. Then a giant, considerably sudden domino at Auburn, which dumped longtime hot-seat resident Gus Malzahn. In January, two different main jobs opened up at Texas and Tennessee. Virginia Tech and Texas Tech opted to retain their embattled coaches and Michigan restructured Jim Harbaugh’s contract, however the carousel claimed extra coaches (and payout cash) than anticipated.
The run on firings regardless of the pandemic doubtless makes the recent seat a bit lighter for 2021. There are some huge names beneath, but when sure jobs do not open, this may very well be a reasonably mild yr for dismissals. Then once more, the carousel all the time comprises a couple of surprises.
I am conserving the league-by-league format I used earlier than the 2019 season, which lists coaches who’re squarely on the recent seat and those that may begin feeling stress if issues go poorly this fall. After speaking to a number of business sources, this breakdown supplies a practical view of the roles that would open someday earlier than the 2022 season. A reminder that coaches who would possibly retire quickly (i.e. Duke‘s David Cutcliffe) and people prone to transfer onto different jobs aren’t included right here.
Let’s get began with the Energy 5 after which transfer on to the Group of 5.
The Pac-12 may grow to be the epicenter for this yr’s teaching carousel. Helton is a well-known identify on this record and might be till he delivers USC’s first School Soccer Playoff look and the college’s first convention title since 2017. Helton guided the Trojans to a South Division championship in 2020, however his group was removed from dominant and vulnerable to errors and sloppy play. USC seemingly has turned a nook in recruiting and has made overdue enhancements in key areas of its program. As a USC supply lately informed me, “We’re positively higher, however how a lot?” The affable Helton has helped his trigger by creating no drama for his bosses, particularly whereas the college addresses scandals in different areas. However he wants to indicate championship outcomes this yr to win over a particularly skeptical fan base.
Kelly’s UCLA tenure has fallen far in need of expectations as he enters Yr 4 at 10-21 (10-15 in Pac-12 play). One other bowl-less season may immediate athletic director Martin Jarmond, who did not rent Kelly, to take motion, particularly with some intriguing candidates accessible. Kelly’s buyout stays $9 million till Jan. 15, 2022, which is less-than superb timing and will affect how the college proceeds.
Arizona State stays underneath the cloud of a serious NCAA investigation, which has resulted in three coaches being positioned on administrative depart. The probe may take time to finish and ASU ought to subject an excellent group this fall. However early indications don’t look good for Edwards and his workers, and a housecleaning after the season is feasible. Arizona State may appeal to a robust candidate pool, together with Louisiana coach Billy Napier, a former Solar Devils offensive coordinator.
Oregon State‘s Jonathan Smith (9-22) must ship quickly and Washington State‘s Nick Rolovich generated some detrimental headlines together with his resolution to not get vaccinated, however I do not hear both coach is underneath important job stress this yr.
Sizzling seat: Jim Harbaugh, Michigan; Scott Frost, Nebraska
At the same time as Michigan floundered in 2020, unable to win any dwelling video games, I heard the identical message out of Ann Arbor: Jim Harbaugh would not be fired. I nonetheless hear among the similar issues, as Harbaugh’s standing as a former star participant and a profitable coach elsewhere would not make him an apparent hot-seat candidate. There’s nothing typical about Harbaugh, who had just one yr left on his preliminary contract earlier than reaching a new, team-friendly agreement in January. Michigan not solely is paying Harbaugh a lot much less yearly however would solely owe him $4 million if it makes a change in 2021. If the Wolverines cannot navigate a schedule that features Wisconsin (street) and Northwestern (dwelling) within the West Division and journeys to Penn State and Michigan State — plus Ohio State at dwelling — athletic director Warde Manuel may need no alternative.
Frost has delivered even much less at his alma mater, going 12-20 (9-17 Large Ten) in his first three seasons. I initially put Frost within the “control” class, as Nebraska desires to provide him each alternative to succeed and has been by way of an excessive amount of management transition throughout a rocky first decade within the Large Ten. But last week’s news of an NCAA investigation into potential violations involving Frost provides a layer of stress in Lincoln, particularly if it opens up a possible dismissal for trigger. New athletic director Trev Alberts will lean towards continuity if in any respect potential, however one other poor season and looming NCAA points may pressure his hand.
I thought-about Purdue‘s Jeff Brohm for “control” as nicely, as he is solely 6-12 since agreeing to a seven-year, $36.8 million contract in April 2019. However Purdue nonetheless owes Brohm a lot cash that there is nearly no likelihood the college cuts ties in 2021.
There have been rumblings about Fuente’s job standing earlier than the Commonwealth Cup final yr, and a second consecutive loss to Virginia may need pushed Virginia Tech to behave. A 33-15 Hokies win ensured Fuente could be again in 2021. Virginia Tech additionally has been extra direct about its monetary scenario, and in saying Fuente would return, athletic director Whit Babcock mentioned in December, “We’re in a bind financially and sure, there’s buyouts, however we had been decided to make the correct resolution both manner.” Funds will not cease Virginia Tech from making a transfer this yr if Fuente would not ship higher outcomes. He is simply 19-18 the previous three seasons (14-12 in ACC play), and the group’s Coastal Division title in 2016 looks like a very long time in the past. Fuente additionally flirted with the Baylor job after the 2019 season, and Virginia Tech would have a robust candidate pool (Napier, Coastal Carolina‘s Jamey Chadwell, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott) if the job opens. We must always discover out loads early on as Virginia Tech faces North Carolina, West Virginia and Notre Dame all earlier than mid-October.
Babers led Syracuse to 10 wins and a No. 15 ultimate end in 2018, however he is simply 14-33 in his different 4 seasons, going 1-10 final fall. Syracuse is a troublesome job and Babers has introduced some power to this system, however he wants to provide a extra aggressive group this fall. Athletic director John Wildhack didn’t rent Babers however has been supportive of the coach, who has three years left on his contract and could be owed a considerable assure if fired this season.
Satterfield is just right here primarily due to last year’s dalliance with South Carolina, which did not sit nicely with athletic director Vince Tyra and others at Louisville. If Satterfield recaptures the magic of 2019, he’ll be fantastic, particularly with a contract by way of 2024. However a repeat of final season (4-7) may flip up the warmth a bit.
Sizzling seat: Matt Wells, Texas Tech
Athletic director Kirby Hocutt and college president Lawrence Schovanec addressed Wells’ standing instantly after the 2020 season, saying the coach would return for a 3rd season regardless of consecutive four-win campaigns. Wells hopes it is going to be the final such information convention from his bosses. He must win this fall, or Texas Tech doubtless will transfer on with three years left on the coach’s $18.8 million deal. Texas Tech fired Kliff Kingsbury for not profitable extra and competing within the Large 12, however Kingsbury went to a few bowl video games in six seasons and amazingly went from fired faculty coach to employed NFL coach in the identical offseason. Wells is not practically as tied into Texas Tech as his predecessor, and with in-state choices comparable to UTSA‘s Jeff Traylor and SMU‘s Sonny Dykes — son of former Purple Raiders coach Spike Dykes — the college doubtless will not hesitate to make an opportunity if higher outcomes do not come this fall.
Sizzling seat: None
Control: Ed Orgeron, LSU
A nearly empty SEC scorching seat is a bit jarring, given how a lot motion the league sometimes options. After seven teaching modifications the previous two seasons, the league ought to be calm this fall and winter. Orgeron led LSU to a nationwide title in 2019, teaching among the finest groups in current faculty soccer historical past. His general report (45-14, 28-12 in SEC play) and success in opposition to top-10 and high 25 opponents definitely bolsters his profile. Add in a hefty contract extension through 2026, and Orgeron ought to be secure. The primary concern for Orgeron is the continuing Title IX investigation and lawsuit, which added the coach as a defendant in June. He additionally comes off of a 5-5 season that included 4 losses by double digits. LSU nonetheless has one of many nation’s most proficient rosters, so Orgeron wants to indicate some enchancment this season. Trade sources additionally usually deliver up athletic director Scott Woodward, who inherited Orgeron and has a historical past of splashy hires (Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M, Chris Petersen at Washington). So Coach O is price monitoring, particularly early within the season.
The Group of 5 scorching seat will doubtless be extra energetic in 2021, so let’s have a look.
Convention USA may grow to be essentially the most energetic league within the teaching carousel, particularly if downward tendencies proceed at sure applications. Littrell appeared poised to leap to the Energy 5 after recording consecutive nine-win seasons in 2017 and 2018. However he has adopted with consecutive four-win seasons, and wishes a turnaround in Yr 6 in Denton. North Texas has essentially the most assets within the league and an excellent location close to Dallas-Fort Price. Athletic director Wren Baker would have a robust candidate pool if UNT chooses to make a change.
Stockstill has led MTSU since 2006 and produced a constant winner — seven bowl appearances between 2009 and 2018 — regardless of monetary limitations on the program. However the Blue Raiders have had consecutive dropping seasons, and a 3rd may put stress to behave. Dimel has two years left on his contract at UTEP, the place he is simply 5-27 however confirmed some enchancment final yr.
Davis, 69, is coming into the ultimate yr of his contract and may very well be extra of a retirement candidate, however the Panthers went winless final fall and wish a lift.
There have been some rumblings about Lindsey’s job standing late final season, and whereas they by no means materialized, the third-year coach must win this fall. Troy went 31-8 in coach Neal Brown’s ultimate three seasons, and recorded 5 consecutive years of eight wins or extra underneath Larry Blakeney from 2006 to 2010. Regardless of some challenges with location and price range, Troy expects to be an everyday contender within the more and more aggressive Solar Belt. Lindsey is simply 10-13 thus far. I used to be stunned to listen to Lunsford as a possible hot-seat candidate from business sources, since he is 25-14 the previous three seasons with two bowl wins. Athletic director Jared Benko did not rent him, although, and would possibly look to enter the market if the group’s on-field outcomes slip. Spavital is 5-19 at Texas State, which lately made Don Coryell its everlasting athletic director. If Spavital’s transfers-only recruiting strategy would not yield outcomes, he may very well be in bother.
Arth practically left Akron for a place on the workers of latest Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley. The previous quarterback within the NFL, World League, CFL and Enviornment League is simply 1-17 thus far with the Zips, who’re picked to complete fifth within the MAC East Division. Akron took a monetary hit in firing Terry Bowden and hiring Arth, who nonetheless has three years left on his contract. However Arth wants to indicate he can win at this stage, particularly since Akron in Might employed a brand new athletic director (Charles Guthrie).
Loeffler has three years left on his contract at Bowling Inexperienced, which hasn’t gained greater than 4 video games since 2016. He ought to get a 3rd yr so long as the group exhibits minimal progress, however Bowling Inexperienced is a football-driven program with some historical past that may’t afford a sixth consecutive principally noncompetitive season.
Hammock is simply 5-13 at his alma mater, which was the MAC’s signature program from 2010 to 2014 and recorded just one dropping common season between 2008 and 2018. Athletic director Sean Frazier employed Hammock and stays supportive, however NIU ought to be a bowl contender, at minimal, this fall.
Creighton did an unimaginable job getting EMU to a few bowl appearances in 4 years earlier than going 2-4 final fall. However athletic director Scott Weatherbee did not rent Creighton, who may need hit his peak with 7-win seasons in 2016 and 2018.
Few could be stunned if the AAC options zero coach firings in 2021. All three coaches listed below are coming into solely their third seasons, certainly one of which was impacted by COVID-19. Houston made a historic rent in Holgorsen, a sitting Energy 5 coach not going through important job stress who got here to UH and signed a five-year, $20 million settlement. A change could be costly (and a bit of embarrassing), however Houston additionally hasn’t been bashful about its program requirements, and Holgorsen is just 7-13.
East Carolina hasn’t recorded a profitable season since 2014, and Houston enters Yr 3 at simply 7-14. The varsity’s monetary points doubtless forestall a transfer, though one other poor end may change the technique.
Temple finally will rent a brand new athletic director, which naturally places stress on Carey to succeed. Carey’s general head-coaching profile (61-41) helps him and Temple actually struggled with COVID-19 points in 2020, however one other low-win season may make issues fascinating in a really aggressive league.
Sizzling seat: None
The Mountain West is one other league that should not see a lot, if any, shakeup to its teaching ranks. Colorado State coach Steve Addazio had a rocky summer time in 2020, because the college investigated allegations of racial bias and points round COVID-19 protocols however finally discovered no main points throughout the program. The group went 1-3 in a shortened season, and it appears far too quickly to make main judgments about this system’s route. Colorado State already needed to pay Addazio’s predecessor Mike Bobo greater than $1.8 million, and certain could not afford one other sizable assure, as Addazio could be owed $5 million if fired earlier than Dec. 1 and $3 million after.
The seven-team group of FBS independents may grow to be a very energetic spot within the teaching carousel. Edsall is simply 6-30 in his second go-round at UConn, which opted out of the 2020 season. UConn’s athletic division has been in a monetary mess, soccer’s unbiased standing would not assist and Edsall is signed by way of the 2023 season. But when the group would not begin profitable quickly, UConn may need to maneuver on from a coach that led the Huskies to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010.
Martin is coming into the ultimate yr of his contract at New Mexico State, the place he’s 23-64 general with just one season that eclipsed three victories. New Mexico State, which did not play in 2020 however cut up two video games earlier this season, is among the nation’s hardest jobs due to location and price range, and Martin has caught round for some time. However a poor season may sign it is time for a cut up.
Bell has three years left on his contract at UMass, which initially opted out of the 2020 season earlier than reversing course and taking part in 4 video games, dropping all of them. The 37-year-old is simply 1-15 at UMass, which appeared like an odd match for a Tennessee native who had not coached within the Northeast earlier than. Minimal enchancment ought to guarantee he is again in 2022.