clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 college football coaching carousel tracker

In this Sept. 31, 2019, file photo, Southern California head coach Clay Helton watches an NCAA college football game against Fresno State in Los Angeles. Helton is now head coach at Georgia Southern.
Kyusung Gong, Associated Press

There is a new phenomenon in college football this season.

For a variety of reasons, we are already starting to see coaches get fired who typically would not have gotten a pink slip until the end of the regular season in late November.

So far, nine jobs have opened up around the country, a number previously unheard of for early November. Except for Washington State’s firing of Nick Rolovich, which occurred because he did not comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the others have happened as programs want to hit the reset button as soon as possible.

One big reason is recruiting, whether athletic directors want to admit it or not. Until 2017, athletic directors could fire coaches at the end of November, and then the new coach would have about six weeks until national signing day at the beginning of February to piece together a recruiting class.

Not much time, but somewhat doable.

In 2017, however, the NCAA instituted an early signing period, three days in mid-December during which prospects could ink national letters of intent. Suddenly, it became much more difficult for new coaching staffs to put together a recruiting class in just about two weeks.

As such, we’re seeing coaching changes now so programs can theoretically give new hires as much time as possible before the early signing period (Dec. 15-17 this year — most will happen on the first day).

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati reportedly acknowledged as much on Nov. 2 in discussing the departure of Gary Patterson, a legend who had been the coach since 2000 and already has a statue on campus.

That said, there are a number of factors that are contributing to the increase in midseason firings this year, according to a story last week by Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger.

Here’s a running list of all the coaching changes so far. Their replacements will be added to the list as they become official.

2021 College football coaching changes

School Fired/departing coach New coach
School Fired/departing coach New coach
LSU Ed Orgeron
USC Clay Helton
TCU Gary Patterson Sonny Dykes
Texas Tech Matt Wells Joey McGuire
Washington State Nick Rolovich
UConn Randy Edsall Jim Mora
Akron Tom Arth
Georgia Southern Chad Lunsford Clay Helton
UMass Walt Bell Don Brown
Washington Jimmy Lake
Florida International Butch Jones
Virginia Tech Justin Fuente
Florida Dan Mullen
Troy Chip Lindsey
Louisiana Tech Skip Holtz
SMU Sonny Dykes Rhett Lashlee