Wells, Mike Sherman is gone from Texas A&M. The Aggie quest for football success continues. It got me to thinking how much the Aggies erred by forcing out RC Slocum, and then to the following list. It's really a combination of bad fire/reassignment combined with the successor and results. Sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for.
- Darrell Dickey, North Texas: Dickey led North Texas to four straight Sun Belt conference championships in the early 00s, and ended up being a victim of raised expectations brought on by his own success. He followed those seasons with two nine loss seasons and was gone. Dickey’s ouster led to one of their largest boosters disavowing the university, and to hiring Todd Dodge, who had a 8-40 record during his four years at the school.
- Phil Fulmer, Tennessee: Fulmer won a national championship and went 152-52-0 during 17 seasons in Knoxville. The only coach with more victories has the stadium named after him. Fulmer’s championship was in 1998 and the 00s led to some 3 and 4 loss seasons and a 5-7 season in 2008, his last. The Vols Fulmer up with the brief tenure of Lane Kiffin, who went 7-6 and bailed for USC, then Derek Dooley, who has coached the Volunteers up to a 12-14 record in his two years.
- Gary Gibbs, Oklahoma: Gibbs led a probation ravaged program to a 44-23-2 record over 6 seasons. After the success of Fairbanks and Switzer, the 65% winning percentage wasn’t enough. However, after 5-5-1 under Schnelly and 12-22 under John Blake, Gibbs looked like Vince Freaking Lombardi. Personally, I thought Gibbs did a great job of winning with class and integrity, but his 2-15 record against Colorado, Nebraska and Texas got him fired.
- Gary Barnett, Colorado: the Buffs forced out Barnett in 2005 after seven seasons, one conference championship and four Big 12 north division championships. The firing made a little sense, since Barnett’s 49-38 record represented the lowest winning percentage for a Colorado coach not named Chuck Fairbanks since Bud Davis led the Buffaloes to a 2-8 record in 1962. However, the hiring of Dan Hawkins ended up being an epic fail. The former Boise State coach went 19-39 in four seasons and change. The 3-10 opening campaign of Jon Embree has led to little renewed optimism in Boulder. The Buffs have had two ten loss seasons since Barnett left. They had two ten loss seasons in the previous 106 years of Buffalo football.
- Bruce Snyder, Arizona State: Snyder led the Sun Devils to a 59-44 record from 1992 – 2000. Snyder was within a game of the national championship in 1996. After canning Snyder, the Sun Devils hired Boise State coach Dirk Koetter, who went 40-34 in six seasons, and Dennis Erickson, who went 31-30 in five seasons before being fired earlier this season.
- David Cutliffe, Ole Miss: Cutcliffe replaced Tommy Tuberville, who bolted for Auburn. Cutcliffe led the Rebels to a 44-29 record over seven seasons ending in 2004. Ole Miss best year was 2003, when senior QB Eli Manning passed the Rebels to a 10-3 record. The following year Ole Miss slid to 4-7, with four of those losses coming by less than a TD, and Cutcliffe was shown the door and Ed Orgeron was hired to turn the program around. Boy, did he ever. The Rebels went 10-25 over the next three seasons. Houston Nutt led a dead cat bounce, where the first two teams went 9-4, but have gone 6-18 over the last two seasons.
- Ralph Friedgen, Maryland: Maryland fired their coach and alumnus (who was recruited to Maryland by Lee Corso to play quarterback in the 60s) after he compiled a 75-50 record over 10 seasons. A 2-10 record in 2009 put him on the hot seat, and a 9-4 season in 2010 wasn’t enough to save him. Edsall’s first season led to a 2-10 record and only one victory over an FBS level foe.
- RC Slocum, Cash Machine U: RC coached the Aggies for 14 years and never had a losing season. In the nine seasons since, Franchione and Sherman each coached the Aggies through two losing seasons, and depending upon the bowl game, the Aggies could make it three. The last bowl victory by someone other than Slocum: Jackie Sherrill in 1988.
- Mike Leach, Texas Tech: This story is well chronicled, but Leach won more games in Lubbock than any coach in school history. He was fired so that Adam James could flourish under better coaching leadership. Tuberville’s 13-12 record at Tech represents the lowest winning percentage over a two year period since Spike Dykes went 12-12 in 1993 and 1994, and the first time that Tech has not gone to a bowl since Dykes final year in 1999.