The FBS coaching carousel of 2021 is moving fast, and we just started in November.
TCU parted ways with coach Gary Patterson on Sunday, marking the seventh coach to leave this season. That includes the opening of five Power 5 jobs. There were 18 coaching changes last season, a number that will likely be exceeded given the number we’ve seen so far.
Sporting News analyzes all the changes in 2021:
2021 FBS training changes
Randy Edsall, UConn
Resigned (September 6): Edsall resigned after the Huskies’ 0-2 start. Edsall had two separate terms at UConn. The first, from 1999 to 2010, saw the show rise through the ranks of FBS and culminated in a trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010. Edsall returned in 2017, and that produced a 6-32 record. UConn did not play in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. Lou Spanos is the acting coach of the Huskies.
Clay Helton, USC
Dismissed (September 14): Helton, who had been on the bench for the past several seasons, was fired after the Trojans’ 42-28 loss to Stanford in Week 2. Helton replaced Steve Sarkisian in 2015 and compiled a 46-24 record. That mark included the program’s last Pac-12 championship in 2017. However, USC dropped to a 19-14 record from 2018-21. Donte Williams replaced Helton as interim coach.
MORE: USC Coaching Candidates
Chad Lunsford, South Georgia
Dismissed (September 26): Lunsford was fired after a 1-3 start this season. It was a peculiar decision considering the Eagles made it to bowling the previous three seasons. Lunsford compiled a 28-21 record and had previously been an assistant coach in the 2013-17 program. Kevin Whitley was appointed interim coach.
Ed Orgeron, LSU
Resigned (October 19): Orgeron and LSU reached a separation agreement that will take effect after the end of the 2021 season. This occurred one day after the Tigers beat Florida 49-42. Orgeron replaced Les Miles in 2016 and became the third consecutive LSU coach to win a national championship (2019). The Tigers finished 15-0 with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow that year, but the program has been a disaster on and off the field ever since. The problems include a Title IX lawsuit and self-imposed penalties.
MORE: LSU Coaching Candidates
Nick Rolovich, Washington State
Dismissed (October 20): Rolovich was fired in his second season with the Cougars for failing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Rolovich cited religious beliefs for his reason for not getting vaccinated, and plans to sue the university for his dismissal. Rolovich, who previously trained in Hawaii, had a 5-6 record in Washington state. Jake Dickert replaced Rolovich on an interim basis.
MORE: Heat back at Harbaugh | OSU monster too big for Franklin?
Matt Wells, Texas Tech
Dismissed (October 25): Wells was fired after a 25-24 loss to Kansas State on October 23, which culminated an uneventful three-year season with the Red Raiders. Wells replaced Kliff Kingsbury, who took a head coaching job in the NFL with the Cardinals. Wells compiled a 13-17 record, but it seemed to have Texas Tech heading in the right direction this year with a 5-2 start. Sonny Cumbie, a former Red Raiders quarterback, is the interim coach.
Gary Patterson, TCU
Resigned (October 31): Patterson and TCU agreed to part ways after a 3-5 record for the first two months of the season. It’s still a somewhat shocking move considering he was the second longest-serving coach in the FBS behind Kirk Ferentz of Iowa. Patterson took over Horned Frogs in 2000, and led the show to six conference championships and 11 seasons with 10 wins. or more. The highlight was 2010, when TCU finished 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl. The horned frogs rose to the Big 12 and enjoyed success in the Power 5.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.