Every year college football coaches are fired and then hired. With every hire fans questions if that coach is the right man to fit that certain university. This year is no different with numerous coaches being hired by predominately football schools such as the University of Arkansas, University of Auburn, the University of Tennessee, and Purdue University.
On Dec. 6, it was announced that Bret Bielema was leaving the head coaching position at the University of Wisconsin to take the same position at the University of Arkansas. Bielema went 68-24 with the Badgers taking them to three consecutive Rose Bowls 2010- 2012. Even with Bielema’s success at Wisconsin, this hire has raised many questions across the country.
The first one being Bielema has no experience of playing or coaching in the South Eastern Conference. He has only played or coached in the Big Ten. He played at the University of Iowa and was an assistant coach was an assistant coach there before leaving to take the defensive coordinator job at Wisconsin. Due to him having no ties in the south, people are wondering if he can recruit the top college prospects in the south while competing with Nick Saban and Les Miles who those ties.
This hire has raised some eye brows also in part to the style Arkansas has had in the past years compared to the style Bielema ran at Wisconsin. Over the past few years Arkansas has emerged as one of the teams that like to throw the ball under former head coach Bobby Petrino. At Wisconsin, Bielema put a large emphasis on the running game. Last year, Wisconsin was in the top five teams in the conference for total rushing yards.
The last thing that is suspicious about this hire is there is a stigma that says money played a significant role in this deal. He will make an annual salary of $3.2 million for six years. In 2011 Bielema made a salary of $2.5 million.
On the same day Bielema took the Wisconsin job another SEC school announced they have hired a coach. Auburn University announced they hired Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzhan to the same position. Before leaving to take the head coaching position at Arkansas State, Malzhan was the offensive coordinator at Auburn University from 2009 – 2011. While he was offensive coordinator Auburn University he won the 2010 National Championship. Malzhan plans to bring back the high tempo attacking offensive that worked in 2010. Malzhan already has experience recruiting in the SEC as well and is trying his hardest to hold on to the top recruits Auburn University had prior to his hire.
He also intends on restoring the integrity to the football program. During the 2010 National Championship season four football players were arrest for armed robbery under the watch of former head coach Gene Chizik. One of these players transferred to Arkansas State after getting suspended when Malzhan was there. This player had one more incident at Arkansas State and Malzhan kicked him off the team.
Cash didn’t play a role in this hire last year based on the history of Malzhan. When Malzhan took the job at Arkansas State he took a substantial pay decrease, seeing he made $1.3 million while at Auburn.
Darrell Hazell was hired as the University of Purdue’s next football coach. Hazell comes from the Mid -American Conference where he coached at Kent State University to the MAC championship game and a bowl berth in the GoDaddy.com bowl against Arkansas State. Hazell has a Big 10 Conference and mid-west background being an assistant coach at Ohio State University and the last school he coached at (Kent State) is in Ohio.
Hazell has also proven to be successful with the limited amount of talent he has. He had a 16-9 record at Kent State University. Recently at the University of Purdue the football team has had a sub – par program going 23 -27 over last four years. They had to make the best with the limited amount of talent they had.
Former Central Michigan University and University of Cincinnati coach Butch Jones was hired by the University of Tennessee replacing Derek Dooley who went 15-21 overall and 4-19 in South Eastern Conference play. Jones turned down the University of Colorado job the same day he was hired by Tennessee. He brings the experience of winning into the job posting a career record of 50-27 at CMU and Cincinnati. During his time at Cincinnati his team has tied for first place in the Big East Conference the last two seasons.
He also has proven he can recruit players like former Central Michigan quarterback Dan Lefevar to play in his up tempo offense. Jones has also shown he can recruit players like former Central Michigan quarterback Dan Lefevar to play in his up tempo offense. All in all this is a good hire for Tennessee because they have brought in a guy who knows how to win and recruit.