In the FCS Huddle: Ride on the coaching carousel so strange
By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director/Senior Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The FCS head coaching carousel has ground to a halt ... at least for the short term.
The spinning ride is harsher than a polar vortex. An alarming 26 FCS schools - just over one-fifth nationally - have changed head coaches since the end of the 2013 regular season in November.
The hiring of K.C. Keeler at Sam Houston State on Thursday completed the list of moves, though the ride is sure to start up again whenever a coach gets a whiff of another opportunity or some college administration says its football program's rebuilding plan is taking too long.
It was just over a year ago that Keeler was ousted from a successful, 11-year run at his alma mater, Delaware, which he had taken to the FCS national championship game as recently as the 2010 season.
Now Keeler has been handed the keys to the Sam Houston program that followed Delaware as the national runner-up in 2011 and '12.
The changes have occurred in 11 of the 13 FCS conferences, with the Big South and the Ivy League the only ones not to have movement (and they had a combined seven head coaching changes in 2011 and '12).
There's been everything imaginable amid the changes, including the player revolt at Grambling State that followed Doug Williams' firing during the season and led to Broderick Fobbs becoming the new head coach on Dec. 4 - as the fourth person to lead the program in less than three months.
An impressive five coaches jumped from their FCS jobs to head coaching positions on the FBS level: Chris Creighton from Drake to Eastern Michigan, Craig Bohl from his FCS championship program at North Dakota State to Wyoming, Dino Babers from Eastern Illinois to Bowling Green, Fritz from Sam Houston to Georgia Southern and Bill Clark from Jacksonville State to UAB earlier this week.
One of the more unique changes was Clint Conque leaving Central Arkansas after 14 seasons to move across the Southland Conference to Stephen F. Austin, whose program has been worse the past three years.
Rick Comegy moved about 100 miles in the SWAC, getting fired at Jackson State (following two straight conference championship game appearances) and landing at Mississippi Valley State.
Even the Eddie Robinson Award national coaches of the year from five of the past six seasons won't be patrolling the same sideline next season. Bohl won the award the last two seasons and left on his own accord, but two-time winner Mickey Matthews of James Madison, Henry Frazier III of North Carolina Central (who didn't make it through preseason training camp) and Tony Samuel of Southeast Missouri State were fired.
The SWAC has had the most head coaching changes with four. Unless you want to give four to CAA Football because of Elon's switch to Rich Skrosky. Of course, that scenario touches on conference realignment, and that too often is stranger than the coaching moves.
Big bucks rule the day in college football. Those five-year rebuilding plans? Better make it two years. The paydays versus FBS opponents? Better get another zero added to the number.
Clearly, patience, and loyalty, are not prerequisites for any FCS athletic department.
01/23 14:24:43 ET