Dennis Erickson, Rob Ianello and Other Football Coaches Who Got Axed This Week
With college football’s regular season winding down, the annual parade of underachieving coaches being shown the door has begun. Here is a list of those coaches who have been fired since last weekend’s games.
Akron head coach Rob Ianello was fired after two seasons in which the Zips went just 2-22, including 1-15 in Mid-American Conference play. To add insult to injury, Ianello learned of the decision while en route to his mother’s funeral.
UAB fired coach Neil Callaway after going 18-42 in five seasons with the Blazers. This year, UAB finished 3-9 and closed out the season by losing to previously winless Florida Atlantic. Callaway’s best season with the Blazers was 5-7 in 2009. This season, UAB’s average home attendance had dropped to its lowest level in nine years.
After losing its last four games following a promising 6-2 start, Arizona State fired coach Dennis Erickson. Erickson, who won two national championships while at Miami, was never able to duplicate that kind of success in the desert, going 31-30 in five seasons at ASU. Erickson will coach the Sun Devils in their bowl game, their first in the last four years.
Ron Zook went out in record breaking fashion. After guiding the Illini their best season-opening record since a national championship season in 1951, Zook became the first coach in history to start a season 6-0 and then finish with a six-game losing streak. During his seven years at the helm, Zook took Illinois to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1983, but also had five losing seasons and finished with a 34-51 record. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will serve as interim coach for a potential bowl game.
After two dreadful seasons, Turner Gill has been fired by the Jayhawks. Although Gill wasn’t left with much to work with after former coach Mark Mangino was fired in 2009, the Jayhawks have seemingly gone in reverse the last two years, going 5-19 and losing ten in a row to end this season, with six of those losses coming by 30 or more points.
After going 3-21 in two seasons, it probably wasn’t a surprise to see Memphis fire coach Larry Porter. The former LSU assistant had a reputation as a top recruiter when he was hired by his alma mater in 2009, but he was unable to turn the Memphis program around, winning just one Conference USA game during his tenure.
Rick Neuheisel was fired by his alma mater after going 21-28 in four years and, most recently, losing 50-0 to cross-town rival USC. Although UCLA will represent the Pac-12 South in this week’s conference title game against Oregon, a loss would leave the 6-6 Bruins needing an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play in a bowl game. Neuheisel will coach the Bruins in the Pac-12 title game, but offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will serve as interim coach should UCLA make a bowl game.
Cougars coach Paul Wulff was just 9-40 (4-32 in conference) in his four seasons in Pullman, the worst winning percentage of any coach in school history. In fairness, he inherited a team that was racked by off-field problems and academic sanctions that had led to the loss of several scholarships. But getting the team from one win per year to four was not enough progress for WSU officials.