Coaching Carousel & What It Means For NU

I recently reached out to Paul Myerberg, creator of , but now a college football writer for USA Today (btw, I reached out to Paul in hopes of having him on LTP very soon) where he has become the college football coaching tracker among other things. And you thought you were busy.  Let’s take a look at the comings and goings of the coaching crazy season and put on our purple Wildcat filter to see what impact, if any, these changes will have on the ‘Cats.

Team: Arkansas
Head Coach out the door: Fired John L. Smith
New Head Coach: Bret Bielema
Impact/Connection to NU: This one is huge. Wisconsin is going to its third straight Rose Bowl game and the main reason they were 7-5 in this year’s regular season could easily be attributed to assistant coaching turnover.  Barry Alvarez is stepping in to take some of Bret’s dough and coach the Rose Bowl, but the search is on and guys like Pitt’s Paul Chryst, are in the hunt. The ‘Cats face Wisconsin in Madtown in early October next year, so the more upheaval the better as far as I’m concerned. Also, the departure of John L. Smith from Arkansas’ sideline might help with the constant reminder of the Michigan State ’06 game.  Also, it prompts a “where are they now?” search of former ‘Cat assistant Garrick McGee.

Team: Auburn
Old Head Coach: Gene Chizik, fired.
New Head Coach: Gus Malzahn, from Arkansas State.
Impact/Connection to NU: Another direct connection here. Chizik is associated with Cam Newton by most, except ‘Cat fans. We’ll always link him to multiple runs on the field in the Outback Bowl after he thought the Tigers had finally won.  Gus Malzahn was the offense coordinator on that same team.

Team: Boston College
Old Head Coach: Frank Spaziani, fired.
New Head Coach: Steve Adazzio, from Temple
Impact/Connection to NU: BC is somewhat of a recruiting rival for us in the northeast and, of course, they’ve been on our schedule the past couple of years. The Tom Selleck look-a-like drove the program face down in to the ground after the Eagles had become a program we aspired to be like just five years ago. Now, Steve Adazzio, who highlights his time on Urban Meyer’s staff moreso than his time at Temple, is in place. Adazzio was hired for his recruiting prowess in the northeast, but ‘Cats fans should be thankful. BC alum and Saints OC, Pete Carmichael, would’ve been a huge get for them and he didn’t even get a call. BC is off the ‘Cats schedule, so this will merely be a recruiting issue for us.

Team: California
Old Head Coach: Jeff Tedford, fired
New Head Coach: Sonny Dykes, Lousiana Tech
Impact/Connection to NU: Direct. As in, we open the 2013 season at Cal! If there is one coach we should really dig in on it is Dykes. Tedford had a very solid record in his tenure at Cal and is famously known for bringing in Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers. However, the last few season the Golden Bears have been offensively challeneged in the high octane offensive Pac12. Not anymore. Dykes is known as an offensive mastermind and should present quite a challenge for our opener.

Team: Cincinatti
Old Head Coach: Butch Jones, left for Tennessee
New Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Impact/Connection to NU: Miami (OH) had better watch out. Its “cradle of coaches” moniker might need to be transferred in-state to the Bearcats. Is there a mid-major program with a better track record of late? Mark Dantonio leaves Cinci for Michigan State then his successor Brian Kelly goes to Notre Dame and then his successor, Butch Jones, now departs for Tennessee. Well, the second biggest coaching surprise to me so far has been Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville leaving the Big12 for Cincinnati. The Bearcats continue to become a fringe Top 25 team annually and now, at least from a perception standpoint, may have rid the stepping stone job by getting a “name” coach to come to this as a destination. We compete once in a while with Cincinnati for Ohio recruits, but not that much.  ‘Cats fans automatically think about the TicketCity Bowl loss when we see Tommy’s name.
Team: Georgia State
Old Head Coach: Bill Curry, retired
New Head Coach: Trent Miles, Indiana State
Impact/Connection to NU: None, really. Unless you consider the fact that Indiana will now have an easier time with FCS Indiana State, but that’s beyond a stretch.

Team: Idaho
Old Head Coach: Rob Akey, fired.
New Head Coach: Paul Petrino, coordinator, Arkansas
Impact/Connection to NU: None that I can find.

Team: Kentucky
Old Head Coach:  Joker Phillips, fired.
New Head Coach: Mark Stoops, coordinator, Florida State.
Impact/Connection to NU: Perhaps NIU catches a break with their Orange Bowl opponent who is now looking to fill the void left by Stoops.

Team: NC State
Old Head Coach: Tom O’Brien, fired after 7-5 season.
New Head Coach: Dave Doeren, NIU
Impact/Connection to NU: Well, we may have already received a direct benefit, although it is hard to tell. The ‘Cats recently net a rising star commit in athlete Tommy Fuessel, who decommitted from NIU and pledged his future to NU the same week. Tying this to Doeren’s departure is unfair, thought. Another connection is the fact Doeren would’ve been a front-runner for the Wisconsin vacancy according to some in Badgerville. Based on what he did as a DC at Wisconsin and at NIU, I’m glad he’s not in our conference. Doeren is also responsible for Mike Hankwitz being at NU, as he was co-coordinator with him under Bielema until Hankwitz got the boot.

Team: NIU
Old Head Coach: Dave Doeren, left for NC State
New Head Coach: Rod Carey, NIU OC
Impact/Connection to NU: We shall see. The Huskies aren’t on the ‘Cats schedule (unfortunately!), but the rising stock of this MAC team is one that could eventually become a recruiting threat.

Team: Purdue
Old Head Coach: Danny Hope, fired.
New Head Coach: Darrell Hazell, Kent State
Impact/Connection to NU: Direct. Hazell’s hiring has Boiler nation whipped up in a fury of the good variety. Hazell put together Kent State’s best season and seems almost 180 from old school Hope in his approach. The Boilers have been AWOL on our schedule and don’t return until a Halloween home date in 2015 at which point we’ll see what Hazell has created.

Team: Tennessee
Old Head Coach: Derek Dooley, fired.
New Head Coach: Butch Jones, Cincinnati
Impact/Connection to NU: Not much here, although I’ll now be rooting for Jones to get the Vols back out of the basement, or at least enough to beat their in state rivals, the cowards from Vanderbilt who I’m still pissed at for walking out the back door on their contracted series with us.

Team: Western Michigan
Old Head Coach: Bill Cubit, fired.
New Head Coach: TBD
Impact/Connection to NU: This is one we’ll keep an eye on as many forget that Western Michigan has been added to our 2013 schedule to fill the last minute cancellation of our series by Vanderbilt.  Western Michigan has struggled mightily at the box office, averaging under 15,000 per home game during last season’s 4-8 nightmare. Names like Illinois State’s Brock Spack, Wisconsin OC Matt Canada and several other up-and-coming coordinators are tantalazing the fan base. We not only play them on September 14, but we open with them again in 2016.

There are a host of schools with unfilled vacancies ranging from the likes of Colorado all the way down to FIU. We’ll keep an eye on them as we head towards one of my favorite community events of the year – ESPN Bowl Mania! Stay tuned for an announcment tomorrow that will have the college bowl confidence pool up and running as we try and get our highest participation ever (record is about 150).  We’ve got great stuff on tap this week as we’ll be hearing from USA Today’s Paul Myerberg as well as some history on the Gator Bowl, and I’m reaching out to Adam Rittenberg, Teddy G. and Dave Revsine to get some purple mafia insights in to the Mississippi State game and the state of the program.

One other angle today’s post begs is NU’s coaching stability. I haven’t found a stat for it, but there has been zero turnover in the past couple of seasons and the ‘Cats stability has to be atops the country right now with so much turnover going on. It will be interesting to see if Mick McCall gets any serious looks and/or other assistant coaches.

Speaking of this stability topic, Pat Fitzgerald addressed it head on and laid out the advantages he’s had in using it from a recruiting perspective in his recent interview with Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times. Check out the December 8 article here.

Show Me The Money

The coaching carousel underscores the arms race in coaching salaries and financial investment in facilities. Steve Rankin sent me this link to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, ranking the B1G coaching salaries, but I must point out a word of caution. Fitz, said to be getting $1.2Million in this grid, is off. Teddy Greenstein has repeatedly pinned Fitz’s salary in the $1.8million ballpark.


Recruiting PS

WildcatReport’s Louie Vaccher posted that highly sought after WR James Clark, who was on his official visit this weekend in Evanston, rated it a perfect 10 and said it has set the bar for the likes of Florida, Texas, Rutgers and Duke (the other four finalists) to beat. We’ll keep you posted.

LTP N Flag Project

Now through the Gator Bowl, we’ll be posting a Northwestern “N” flag per day from somewhere around the world that YOU contribute to. Simply email us a jpeg of your photo  at and we’ll put it in the blog and on our LTP Flag Map which you can see at the top of this page. Today’s photo is from John S., who took this beauty on a recent trip to Khatmandu, near the Tibetan border. It’s our second Khatmandu flag and this one speaks for itself.

'Cats in foreground, Himalayas in background!
  • FloridAlum

    I have been reading Paul Myerberg for several years and think he’s a great college football writer.

    • CM

      Agreed. He’s a great follow on Twitter.

  • bandcat

    Stability and Show Me The Money…Also a very nice view of Chicago from the new Athletic Offices on campus.. Hope thats the pitch Fitz uses to help recruit my Dream Coach for roundball… Hello Mr.Stevens!!

  • Scooter

    Regarding James Clark’s visit:

    There’s two football schools on that list, two academic schools, and one that’s both. Sounds like he’s trying to choose between football and academics. Hopefully his visit to us convinced him that he doesn’t have to.

    • cebpd

      hes got a great highlight tape, a great offer list. I am VERY excited if NU gets him.

  • Possible Bill Curry connection

    Connection to Georgia State: I believe Bill Curry gave the keynote speech at Camp Kenosha in 2006, but I can’t rember for sure.

  • NUMBalumDave

    Nice post, LTP. This really highlights the vast importance of off-season work, and with a mostly intact two-deep and coaching staff and no need to spend time learning new names, Cats are well positioned for a great 2013.

  • Stephen Zgrabik

    Anyone have any info on how we’re doing with the Gator Bowl ticket allotment?

    • CatInTheHat

      Good question. I took a peek at StubHub, and tickets there are absurdly cheap–as in, the same tickets that NU is selling for $80 are going for under $20 (and in some cases under $10) on the secondary market. I’ve been pounding the pavement to try and convince all of my bowl-bound friends to purchase their tickets through NU, but it’s REALLY difficult to make much of a case for that when tickets can be had for so much cheaper. I hope this isn’t threatening our ability to sell our allotment, but the 400% “discount” on the secondary market is going to create stiff competition for cat-tix.

      • Bob Parkman

        Not a math major, eh? Selling an $80 ticket for $20 is a 75% discount.

        • CatInTheHat

          Haha…yeah, not even close. Still, the point stands.

  • Hey, isn’t education worth paying for? What better way for students to feel good about themselves and the piece of paper they’re buying? What else are you going to do on a fall Saturday, anyway? At the more well endowed schools, the joke about paying tuition to a hedge fund, seems not that far off the mark for a liberal arts bachelors…

  • I just updated this in the post, but Neil Hayes hit the same “coaching stability” chord here last week –

  • Couple more adds – Western Kentucky is getting some fun PR today for hiring Bobby Petrino. Meanwhile, SI is reporting that the Colorado gig is going to San Jose State’s Mike McIntyre.

  • Next Cat

    Cal coaching connection to NU? We share a Pappy . . . as in Waldorf. Now Cal has a Sonny. Next time we play Cal, either Fitz will have passed Pappy in career wins or we still won’t have won a bowl game since we beat our Pappy when he was coaching Cal in the Rose Bowl 64 years ago.

  • Al

    No LTP bowl pick’em this year?

  • DanMan1976

    Great piece, although I’m not sure I buy that Tommy Tuberville heading to UC means he won’t use it as a stepping stone job. Mandel said the Lubbock faithful were never fond of him and the feeling was apparently mutual. This move was as much about getting out of Dodge as it was talking a better job. My guess is he takes the Bearcats to no worse than a five-way tie for the 2013 Big East title before jetting for an ACC or SEC gig.

  • Alec K
    • UVA Cat

      According to the report, NIU gets bonus points for having the football team graduate at a significantly higher rate than the general male student population at NIU. However, when you actually look at the numbers a 66% graduation rate vs the 51% of the overall male population at NIU makes you kind of scratch your head. For me, the metric is flawed to say the least, as much as I like to see NU at #1 in any kind of positive ranking.

      As Fitz says, “Stats are for losers”. In this case, I think the stats/metrics themselves are “losers”.