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College football hot seat tracker: Auburn reportedly set to hire Hugh Freeze

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Unfortunately, the regular football season has come to an end. While the action on the field may be dwindling, the end of the regular season opens the floodgates for a lot of activity in the coaching market. Which head coach was fired? Who moves to another job? Here is a current list of current moves in the college football coaching carousel. This will be updated in chronological order.

Hugh Freese heading to Auburn?

After a failed bid to acquire Lane Kiffin, Auburn is reportedly finalizing a deal to hire Hugh Freese as the next head coach.

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Freese is currently the head coach of the Liberty but is best known for his ups and downs in Ole Miss. Freese spent five seasons at the Ole Miss and led the Rebels to two New Year’s Six bowls, but things fell apart in 2017 after it was all over. testified that he called the escorts from his university phone. This was just one of the many problems Freeze had off the field, including a long list of NCAA infractions.

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In 2019, he reappeared with the Liberty and compiled a 34–15 record over the past four seasons. Now he has another chance to become the head coach of the SEC.

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At the Auburn, Freese will replace Brian Harsin, who was sacked after going 9–12 in just 21 games. In the 2022 season, he was fired in eight games. Auburn was 3-5 at the time and ended up finishing 5-7.

UNLV makes changes

UNLV is leaving Marcus Arroyo after just three seasons.

Arroyo was sacked on Monday, two days after the Rebels finished the 2022 season with a 5–7 record. UNLV went 0-6 in 2020 and 2-10 in 2021, but an improvement with three wins in 2022 wasn’t enough to keep Arroyo in the job.

UNLV started the year 4-1 before losing six of seven throughout the stretch while dealing with a plethora of injuries.

“With our increased expectations at UNLV, we felt that change was needed at this time,” said athletic director Eric Harper.

Tim Lester at West Michigan

Western Michigan announced Monday morning that it had fired head coach Tim Lester. The Broncos were 5-7 in 2022.

“The forthcoming expansion of the college football playoffs and the incredible foundation for success we have with our football program creates an exciting national opportunity for Bronco Football. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity by taking a new direction in our football program,” said the West Michigan athlete. This is stated in a statement by director Dan Bartolome.

Leicester has been 37-23 in six seasons as head coach of his alma mater. Lester became WMU head coach in 2017 after PJ Fleck left for Minnesota, and the 2022 season was the first season under .500 in his tenure.

Although it was Leicester’s first losing season, WMU once won eight games during his time at the school. WMU lost six games in each of its first three seasons and was 4-2 in 2020 before going 8-5 with a Quick Lane Bowl win over Nevada in 2021.

Official: Wisconsin Hires Luke Fickell

Luke Fickell of Cincinnati has officially moved into the Big Ten.

Wisconsin announced Sunday night that it had hired Fickell to replace Paul Christ.

“I’m incredibly excited to announce Luke Fickell as our new head football coach and welcome his entire family to Madison,” Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh said. “Luke is one of the best football coaches in the country. He has proven himself to be a winner, recruiting and developing players.”

Fickell added, “My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Wisconsin family. This is a target work in a program that I have admired from afar for years. I fully agree with Chris McIntosh’s vision for this program. here is a foundation upon which I can’t wait to build it.”

Fickell, 57–18, coached the Bearcats for six years and famously led UC to the College Football playoffs in 2021. 2011.

Georgia Tech, Willy Fritz close to a deal?

Georgia Tech appears to be close to hiring.

According to the Constitution of the Atlanta Journal and The Athletic, the school has reached an agreement to hire a new head coach. And that trainer, by “all indications,” is Willy Fritz from Tulane.

ESPN reports that Fritz was interviewed for a job at GT on Sunday, but no deal was struck.

The 62-year-old Fritz has won everywhere he went – in junior college, Division II, FCS and FBS. Now he has a chance to get a job at Power Five.

Two days ago, Fritz’s Tulane team beat Cincinnati on the road to claim a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game. Tulane is set to host the UCF in this game on Saturday in New Orleans.

Fritz is in its seventh season at Tulane, a program that has traditionally struggled to win. Prior to Fritz’s arrival, Tulane had only one winning record in the previous 13 seasons. Under Fritz Tulane won three times and qualified for the cup four times. Before Fritz coached Tulane to win the Cure Bowl in 2018, Tulane hadn’t won a game since 2002.

In 2021, Tulane endured a brutal 2–10 season, much of which was moved due to Hurricane Ida. The Green Wave has rebounded strongly this year and is 10-2 into the AAC title game. Tulane’s final 10-win season came in 1998.

Prior to his time at Tulane, Fritz was head coach at Blinn Junior College for four seasons, Missouri Central for 13 seasons, Sam Houston State for four years, and Georgia South for two seasons.

If the hiring goes through, Fritz will replace Jeff Collins, who was fired after a 1-3 start and a 10-28 overall record with the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech finished the year 5–7, going 4–4 under interim head coach Brent Key.

Tulsa split from Philip Montgomery

Tulsa has changed coaches.

On Sunday, the school announced the dismissal of head coach Philip Montgomery. On Saturday, Tulsa beat Houston to end the season 5–7.

Montgomery has been in Tulsa since 2015 after being hired from the Baylor coaching staff and has a 43–53 career record at the school. Tulsa has bowled four games in his eight years and even won 10 games in the 2016 campaign, culminating in the Miami Beach Bowl.

Tulsa followed this season up 2-10 in 2017 and hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since. The Golden Hurricane were 7-6 in 2021 and 6-3 in 2020 after three consecutive losing seasons.

State of Texas fires Jake Spavital

After four seasons, Texas State moves on from Jake Spavital, who had a 13-35 record during his tenure. The Bobcats went 3–9 in his first season, 2–10 in his second season, and then posted a 4–8 record in 2021 and 2022.

Spavital relied heavily on junior college transfers and added players from the transfer portal to build their rosters rather than recruit Texas high schools. This approach did not work for Spavital.

Arizona State Hires 32-Year-Old Kenny Dillingham

Five years ago, the state of Arizona unexpectedly hired 63-year-old Herm Edwards to head up its football program. The new head coach has half the ACS.

On Sunday morning, the Sun Devils announced the hiring of 32-year-old Kenny Dillingham. Dillingham, an Arizona State graduate, spent the 2022 season as offensive coordinator in Oregon. Before the season at Eugene, Dillingham worked as offensive coordinator in Memphis, Auburn and Florida State.

The Arizona native becomes FBS’s youngest head coach, and he inherited a program that went 3-9.

David Shaw retires after another losing season

David Shaw never won fewer than eight games in his first eight seasons as Stanford head coach. During this time, Cardinal has won three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Cups. Since then, things have gone downhill, leading to Shaw’s resignation late Saturday night.

Stanford has gone 3-9 in each of the last two seasons with a 3-15 record in the Pac-12 game. Shaw retired after losing to BYU on Saturday night.

“After many prayers and numerous discussions with my wife, one phrase constantly comes to mind – it’s time,” Shaw said. “There are not enough words to describe the love and gratitude I have for my family, all my former and current players, my staff, this administration, and the entire Stanford family. Thank you all.”

Over 12 seasons, Shaw had a 96-54 record at his alma mater. He is the best winning coach in the history of the program.

Stanford head coach David Shaw stands by the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against BYU in Stanford, Calif., on Saturday, November 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez) #
Stanford’s David Shaw coached his last game for the Cardinals on Saturday night. Stanford lost to BYU, ending the Cardinal’s season 3–9. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

FAU leaves Willy Taggart after 3 seasons

Willie Taggart’s tenure with the Florida Atlantic ended after three seasons. Taggart went 15-18 in three seasons with the Owls and only won the bowl once.

The FAU lost 32-31 on Saturday to Western Kentucky in overtime, falling to 5-7 for the year. Taggart has been a head coach for Florida, Oregon, South Florida, and Western Kentucky.

Nebraska lands Matt Rule

Nebraska and Matt Rule signed an eight-year contract that would make Rule the new head coach of the Huskers.

Rule has had a rough time as head coach of the Carolina Panthers lately, but he’s made major changes at Temple and Baylor.

Under Rule’s watch, Temple went from 2-10 in his first season to winning a total of 20 games in his last two seasons with the program, including the conference title. Rule then went to Baylor because of the Art Briles scandal. The Bears went 1-11 in Rule’s first season. By his third year, Baylor had won 11 games to become the Big 12 champion.

An equally difficult rebuild lies ahead for Rhule in Lincoln. Nebraska has not had a winning season since 2016. The Huskers finished the 2022 season 4–8 and have an overall record of 23–45 over the past six seasons.


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