After a busy weekend of college football, we are a week closer to the cranking up of the coaching carousel. The Wiz of Odds has an interesting entry this morning on college football coaches and their coordinators.
Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News surveyed 120 I-A teams for the number of coordinators since 1999, when Tommy Tuberville, above, made his debut at Auburn. Of the 15 coaches who have held the same job since 1999, Tuberville and Troy’s Larry Blakeney have each burned through 10 coordinators, tops in the land.
On average, the 15 coaches have employed only 5.6 coordinators in 10 years.
Check out the following coaches’ records over last 10 years from the Wiz’s interesting table:
Tommy Tuberville: 84-37
Phillip Fulmer: 83-38
Bobby Bowden: 86-35
It is pretty hard to imagine that all three of these coaches are so firmly attached to the hot seat that many experts expect two of the three of them to be fired. In fact, Tony Barnhardt ran fantastic article on Phil Fulmer this weekend that can be seen by clicking here.
But it appears Phillip Fulmer’s dream, which was so good for so long, may soon be coming to an end. There was no other conclusion to draw late Saturday night after the Volunteers fell to No. 2 Alabama 29-9 before a crowd of 106,138 that cascaded boos onto the field for most of the third and fourth quarters. Tennessee fell to 3-5 (1-4 in the SEC) and could be headed to its second losing record in the past four seasons.
Fulmer left the field with his wife and daughters by his side. When he met with reporters, he looked like a man who was running out of answers.
Fulmer, in his 16th full season as head coach, was in the SEC Championship Game a year ago, losing to LSU, the eventual national champion. But the fall of the Volunteers this season has been so steep and so dramatic that even his strongest defenders are now having a hard time making their case.
If this turns out to be Fulmer’s last season at Tennessee, he will leave with an average record of 9-3. He won a national championship in 1998 and has taken teams to five SEC Championship Games — only Steve Spurrier has been to more. He has won 100 more games (150-50) than he has lost. Those numbers are decidedly in Fulmer’s favor.
But there are other numbers which have been circulated by a disgruntled Tennessee fan base that is convinced the Volunteers program, despite last year’s trip to Atlanta, has been slipping for several years while its biggest rivals — Alabama, Florida and Georgia — have been moving forward. Fulmer is 0-4 vs. Florida’s Urban Meyer, 3-5 versus Georgia’s Mark Richt and 1-4 versus Saban, who also coached LSU.
Fulmer won back-to-back SEC championships in 1997 and 1998 but has not won a title since. No coach in Tennessee history has ever gone 10 years without winning an SEC championship.
And then there is the issue of David Cutcliffe, Fulmer’s longtime offensive coordinator who is now the head coach at Duke. With Cutcliffe calling the plays, Fulmer’s teams were 85-19. In the years that Cutcliffe was gone, first at Ole Miss and now at Duke, Tennessee’s teams are 65-31.