MAJOR CONFERENCE JOBS
Out: John L. SmithClick ARKANSASHere to view this Link., interim contract expired on Nov. 23 after going 4-8 in one season.
In: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, hired Dec. 4.
What he inherits: Despite a disaster of a season, Bielema walks in the door of a program that had things pointed in the right direction. He will be taking over a young defense and will need to replace only a few starters. On offense, he will need a new quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and two linemen. He has a new facility to recruit to and a state with much better talent than his former home. Also, he is going to a school with ties to the South and Texas, making for easier recruiting.
Buzz on the new coach: Bielema has a 68-24 head coaching record with the Badgers and has led his team to three straight Rose Bowl appearances. The Badgers finished 8-5 (4-4 Big 10) this season but were 11-3, 11-2 and 10-3 the three years prior. He led the Badgers to a 12-1 record in 2006 that included a Capital One Bowl win over Arkansas. He brings defense and a balanced offensive mindset that should fit into the SEC fairly well.
Out: Gene ChizikClick AUBURNHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 25 after going 33-19 in four seasons.
In: Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn, hired Dec. 4
What he inherits: A major decision. The first thing that Malzahn will have to do is decide what to do with his assistants, and that could have a major trickle down to the recruiting class. From there, Malhzahn will actually be quite familiar with the roster because he played a part in selecting which players were on it during his time as the offensive coordinator. The program has passionate fans and wants to win, so he will be afforded the opportunity to do so.
Buzz about the new coach: Malzahn led Arkansas State to a 9-3 record and the Sun Belt title in 2012, his only year at the helm after three seasons as Auburn's offensive coordinator. Having spent time with the Auburn program, he already knows the fans and the people in charge. Playing the political game that comes with the SEC will not be unfamiliar territory. Many have given Malzahn credit for the national title in 2010, so his tenure is off to a strong start in the popular vote.
Out: Frank SpazianiClick BOSTON COLLEGEHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 25 after going 21-29 in four seasons.
What he inherits: A program that nearly rock bottom this year, going 2-10 with one victory over FBS competition. He will have to rebuild the offensive line and most of the defense. Those would usually be viewed as problems, but with how bad the team was this year, it could be a blessing in disguise.
Buzz about the new coach: This was a surprise hire for Boston College because Addazio was not a name that had surfaced in most circles. Addazio makes sense because he has always been a New England recruiter and has a tough Northeastern exterior. He was 13-11 in two seasons with Temple and should come in and sell a similar message at Boston College. Recruiting should stay the course or take a step in the right direction under Addazio.
Out: Jeff TedfordClick CALIFORNIAHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 20 after going 82-57 in 11 seasons.
In: Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes, hired Dec. 5.
What he inherits: After going 59-30 through his first seven seasons in Berkeley -- all with winning records -- Jeff Tedford had a mark of 23-27 over the past four years forcing his exit. The team had a lot of veterans that need replacing. Seniors at quarterback, running back, full back, and three offensive linemen will all be gone. Likewise the defense will have some holes to plug with two seniors on the defensive line and two in the secondary will be gone. The linebackers and other skill position players were all young last year. Dykes offense may lend itself to getting young gunner Zach Kline an early look at the quarterback position and that could rejuvenate the program.
Buzz on the new coach: Dykes, 43, went 22-15 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech. He's the branch of the Mike Leach coaching tree that had the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 nationally in total offense this season. "He's a great offensive mind with lots of good recruiting experience at the BCS level and a guy who will fit in perfectly in Pac-12," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "He will recruit skills kids very well out there and take advantage of the California talent."
Out: Butch JonesClick CINCINNATIHere to view this Link., hired by Tennessee Dec. 7 after three seasons and a 23-14 record.
What he inherits: Tuberville will step into a situation that has a lot of potential. On offense, Cincinnati was relatively young this year and will return a lot of its best players, including quarterback Munchie Legaux and running backs Ralph Abernathy and Jameel Poteat. The defense will need a remake, but that has been a strength of most Tuberville teams. The recruiting has picked up at Cincinnati, and that will help.
Buzz on the new coach: This is a total splash hire for Cincinnati, responding one day after losing Jones to Tennessee. Many feel that it should be viewed as an upgrade with the success that Tuberville has had at other schools. The concern is that the Big East is fading into irrelevance, but this hire could keep the program a high-profile place. There are very few negatives to point to here.
Out: Jon EmbreeClick COLORADOHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 25 after going 4-21 in two seasons.
In: San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre, hired Dec. 10.
What he inherits: A program at what must feel like rock bottom for many fans. The Buffs have endured a school-record seven straight losing seasons and three very rocky coaching transitions. The roster is limited and the home state recruiting is a thinned out herd compared to the rest of the PAC-12.
Buzz about the new coach: He can certainly rebuild. MacIntyre cut his teeth as athe defensive coordinator at Duke and helped the defense turn around to the tune of 68 fewer yards and nearly 10 points fewer per game in his first year. He then took over at San Jose State and turned a 1-12 team in 2010 to a BCS-ranked program in his third season. He has worked on a limited recruiting budget and can find players to fit his style. This may be just what the program needs to get moving back in the right direction.
Out: Joker PhillipsClick KENTUCKYHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 4, with a 13-24 record over three seasons.
In: Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, hired Nov. 27.
What he inherits: The Wildcats were winless in the SEC this year (0-8) and lost games to in-state foes Louisville and Western Kentucky. Perhaps most frustrating part for the Kentucky fans is that they have watched rival Louisville evolve into a BCS contender from a mid-level Conference USA program and they want a turn around for themselves. The defense is young and the recruiting class is small but solid.
Buzz on the new coach: The hiring process at Kentucky went underground without many names being bandied about until Stoops became a fast riser a few days after Thanksgiving. He is a defensive-minded coach from a defensive-minded family, and the hire has been met with nearly universal approval from fans and recruits. Stoops elevated the Florida State defense to No. 2 in the country and has shown time and again to be among the best in the business on that side of the ball. His reputation precedes him, and players and their parents are quick to build lasting relationships. How quickly he will turn the energy into victories is yet to be determined, but the initial buzz is very positive.
Out: Tom O'BrienClick N.C. STATEHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 25 after going 40-35 in six seasons.
In: Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren, hired Dec. 1.
What he inherits: The Wolfpack fought back to gain bowl eligibility this season and will be returning several key pieces to the puzzle next year starting with running back Shadrach Thornton. Doeren will have to do a lot of work with replacing three seniors on the offensive line as well as quarterback Mike Glennon. Defensively, the team will return eight starters but will need to replace both safeties. The recruiting class is solid but certainly not spectacular, which is where the program hopes to improve in the coming seasons.
Buzz on the new coach: Doeren is another young coaching hire as the soon-to-be 41-year-old has quickly made his way up the ranks having Northern Illinois poised to be a BCS buster. His career record is 23-4 and 17-1 against MAC foes. A major selling point for Doeren is that his team has finished in the Top 5 of APR in both of his seasons at the helm. Replacing Glennon at N.C. State may be made easier with his success in coaching quarterbacks as current NIU signal caller Jordan Lynch is ranked third in total yards per game and fifth in rushing yards per game. Lynch, a first-year quarterback, has rushed for over 100 yards in 10 consecutive games which could be a preview of the offense that Doeren will bring with him to the ACC.
Out: Danny HopeClick PURDUEHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 25 after going 22-27 in four seasons.
What he inherits: It's a team that won its last three games to finish the regular season 6-6 and gain a spot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Oklahoma State. The Boilermakers lost their first five Big Ten games before finishing 3-5 in the league. The highlights of their season were near misses against unbeaten Notre Dame and Ohio State. Their top commit for 2013 is four-star QB Danny Etling.
Buzz on the new coach: If it wasn't for an overtime loss to Northern Illinois, Hazell and the Golden Flashes might be going to a BCS bowl instead of the Huskies. Kent State's 11-2 season was good enough to earn its first trip to a bowl in 40 years. The Golden Flashes will play Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com bowl Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.
Out: Skip HoltzClick SOUTH FLORIDAHere to view this Link., fired on Dec. 2 after going 16-21 in three seasons.
What he inherits: A program trending downward. The Bulls won nine games in the season before Holtz arrived after a successful stint at East Carolina. The win total dropped in each year of the Holtz regime, from eight to five to three. The program has been left out of the recent conference realignment after looking like it was ready to compete for a spot in the Big Three in Florida.
Buzz on the new coach: Taggart spent three seasons as Western Kentucky's head coach, and he has the Hilltoppers headed to their first FBS bowl game. They will play Central Michigan Dec. 26 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Western Kentucky was 2-10 in Taggart's first year before it posted 7-5 records each of the last two seasons. That's a 16-20 composite record, similar to Holtz's mark at USF.
Out: Doug MarroneClick SYRACUSEHere to view this Link., hired by Buffalo Bills after going 25-25 in four years.
In: Syracuse defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, promoted Jan. 8.
What he inherits: Syracuse is making a move from a Big East slate of games to an ACC schedule and it will be losing a lot of talent. The program has just 14 commmitments at the time of the promotion and there is a lot of work to be done. The program is a two-time bowl winner after suffering through tough seasons with Greg Robinson. The offense is expected to stay up-tempo and the defense that Shafer inplimented figures to maintain its toughness.
Buzz on the new coach: Shafer was thought to have had his career path stalled after one season with Rich Rodriguez in Michigan. It was the fifth stop in five years for Shafer who was unexpectadly given another opportunity under Marrone. After receiving some interest from Western Michigan, Shafer chose to stay at Syracuse which ultimately produced a head coaching opportunity.
Out: Steve AddazioClick TEMPLEHere to view this Link., hired Dec. 4 by Boston College after going 13-11 in two seasons.
In: New York Giants offensive line coach Matt Rhule, hired Dec. 17.
What he inherits: Temple was trending upward with Al Golden and Addazio as head coaches, but conference realignment has not gone the way of the Big East and that could put the program on shaky grounds. Temple has a new commitment to football, and its fan base is building. There is opportunity to win here and the Owls have been making strides in the right direction.
Buzz on the new coach: The primary name that was discussed immediately was Matt Rhule. Rhule was the co-offensive coordinator under Addazio, and many expected him to take over the program if Addazio left early. There was overwhelming support for Rhule from current and former players to the administration and this hire will keep the fans happy and potentially settle a situation that has brought in the third head coach in six years. There may not be much early buzz nationally but this is one of the best, and most sound hires the Owls could have made.
Out: Derek DooleyClick TENNESSEEHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 18 after three seasons and a 15-21 record.
In: Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, hired Dec. 7.
What he inherits: A program in flux is staring Jones in the face. His best players will all be looking for an NFL grade and quarterback Tyler Bray and receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson could all leave major holes in the offense if they choose to leave. If that trio leaves, combined with the graudation of Zach Rogers and Mychal Rivera, Jones will be looking for an entirely new offense with the exception of running back Marlin Lane. Defensively the team only loses two players to graduation and does not figure to have players leave for the NFL so that may have to be the strength of the team.
Buzz: After 18 days, numerous interviews and a couple of very public rejections, Tennessee appears to have found a football coach who wanted the job all along. With a 50-27 mark in six seasons as head coach at first Central Michigan and then Cincinnati, Jones had reportedly stressed his appreciation for UT and its gameday atmosphere since his Bearcats squad played in Neyland Stadium last season. Jones was courted extensively by Purdue, Boston College and most recently Colorado and Wisconsin. Fans will take this hiring with a shrug of the shoulders and will want to see immediate results. If Jones can put the program back into a bowl next season it may be a win on Rocky Top.
Out: Tommy TubervilleClick TEXAS TECHHere to view this Link., hired by Cincinnati on Dec. 8 after going 20-17 in three seasons.
What he inherits: Kinsbury will walk into a nearly blank slate with a lot of seniors at the top of the depth chart set to graduate. He will need to replace his quarterback, three receivers and three on the offensive line. On defense the entire secondary is gone so his fingerprints can be put on the program immediately. The commitment list leaves a lot to be desired with no four-star players and a couple that have yet to garner two-stars.
Buzz on the new coach: This will likley be viewed as a great hire for many Tech fans. Former coach Tommy Tuberville was never fully embraced by fans because he was not one of them and was too defensive. Kingsbury played at the school and will most certainly run an offensive more similar to former coach Mike Leach. If his recruiting can match the energy that he will inject into the program this may be a perfect match.
Out: Bret BielemaClick WISCONSINHere to view this Link., hired by Arkansas Dec. 4 after seven seasons and a 68-24 record.
In: Utah State head coach Gary Andersen, hired Dec. 18.
What he inherits: Andersen will walk into a very good situation at Wisconsin as the program was not on a downward trend but rather headed back to the Rose Bowl for what seems to have become a familiar trip as the Badgers have played in Pasadena the last three seasons. The program has just updated its facilities and has very good academic reputation. The team is not depleted of talent and he should be able to win with the current players as he shapes the team in his own mold.
Buzz on the new coach: Andersen is not a flashy hire but he comes with plenty of substance which may make him a perfect fit at a no-nonsense Wisconsin program. He is a quality game manager and the fans got to see that first hand this season as his Utah State team was a missed field goal away from downing the Badgers. His calling card has been the development of talent and playing strong defense - both of which will be needed in the Big Ten.
In: Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, hired Dec. 11.
What he inherits: Harsin steps into an Arkansas State program which won the Sun Belt Conference title for the second year in a row, and for the second year in a row it will need to find a replacement for its head coach. The expectations have been raised at Arkansas State, and the faithful in Jonesboro will not accept a middling hire who runs the risk of dropping back to a six- or seven-win program. There are pieces in place for this to be a solid steppingstone job time and again. Harsin will need to be more aggressive with his offense to fit the pieces that are already on the roster.
Buzz on the new coach: This may not be the exciting hire that Arkansas State fans expected. Harsin was a decent but not spectacular recruiting in his time at Texas. The offense is multiple but with a preference to the power running game to set-up play action passing - a departure from what Gus Malzahn did - but he also like to mix in plenty of gadget plays that keep the players exciting. The complaint at Texas was that Harsin was stubborn with his system and wanted to stick to power run even without the pieces to do that. He will not have those pieces at Arkansas State. On the bright side for Arkansas State fans, it is unlikely that Harsin will be a one-and-done coach so this may bring some stability to the program in the coming years.
Out: Mario CristobalClick FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL Here to view this Link., fired Dec. 5 after going 27-47 in six seasons.
In: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Ron Turner, hired Jan. 4.
What he inherits: This is a team that has been well put together -- for FIU standards -- and there is a chance to succeed. Many thought Cristobal was ready to turn the corner but that never materialized. This is still a mid-to-low level Sun Belt job and the talent base is still recruiting at that level. Turner will need to get those on the roster to buy into his NFL-mentality and push for new blood to want to join the program.
Buzz on the new coach : As suprising as the firing of Cristobal was, the hiring of Turner has to be just as high. The 59-year-old coach has been in coaching for 36 seasons and has been the head coach at a college just once in 1992 when he lead San Jose State. His contract is for five-years at a half-millon per season.
Out: Robb AkeyClick IDAHOHere to view this Link., fired on Oct. 21 after going 20-50 in five-plus seasons.
In: Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.
What he inherits: The simple fact is that Petrino does not inherit much of anything positive. The team only scored 18 touchdowns last season and gave up 64. It did not have a player rush for more than 500 yards and it rotated through three quarterbacks of which none were successful. The area is relatively devoid of talent to restock the shelves and this job will test his ability to recruit as well as to put coaches and players in a place to succeed.
Buzz on the new coach: Petrino is the fourth coaching hire since 2003, and the first three accumulated a 29-76 record. The program is a member of the WAC -- which will not have enough teams to compete in football, forcing the team to play an independent schedule next season. It has some of the worst facilities in the country, it is the sixth-lowest-paying job among FBS-level coaches per a recent USA Today report, but contract details were not released. Petrino coached at Idaho for three seasons early in his career and is from Montana so it is not a bad fit for him personally. The first-time coach will need to establish himself away from his more famous brother Bobby.
Out: Darrell HazellClick KENT STATEHere to view this Link., hired Dec. 4 by PurdueClick KENT STATEHere to view this Link..
In: Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, hired Dec. 18.
What he inherits: A team that had an exciting season and nearly busted the BCS bubble before falling in the conference championship game. He is also stepping into a situation that will be close to a rebuild as he is losing many seniors in key places.
Buzz on the new coach : Haynes is a former defensive standout for the program and his homecoming was the loud rumor for the short search. He was not going to be headed back to Fayetteville coming into this season and so this was an opportunity to move up in the ranks when there may not have been other options afforded him. Haynes was an assistant at Ohio State as well so his ties to Ohio football have been built. If he and his staff can recruit the area there could be sustained success.
Out: Sonny DykesClick LOUISIANA TECHHere to view this Link., hired by Cal on Dec. 6 after going 22-15 in three seasons.
In: Former USF coach Skip Holtz, hired Dec. 13.
What he inherits: Holtz takes over a team coming off of one of its best seasons ever making it into the Top 25. He also walks into the doors of a program that will enter practice this spring with a chip on its shoulder after being left out in the cold during bowl season - for a Georgia Tech team with a 6-7 record. The program is moving from the WAC into Conference USA and that also has some positive buzz around the area. All in all, this is a spot that has a lot of energy right now and a recent run of success. Holtz may be coming into the right place at the right time to resurrect a career that was trending upward before a major crash at USF.
Buzz on the new coach: Holtz was one of the hottest names on the coaching carousel just a few seasons ago when he pushed East Carolina into the Conference USA title game on multiple occasions. Louisiana Tech moved into the Top 25 this season under Sonny Dykes and the offensive explosion was a welcomed experience at Tech. The last two coaches, Dykes and Dooley, have gone on to bigger and better so this has been a stepping stone to major conference jobs. It could be a great place for Holtz to rehab his career and rebound back into a major coaching job. Having ties to Texas will play a role for recruiting and so it opens up the doors to many coaches but expectations have been raised and regression will not be long tolerated. Holtz has experience recruiting to a non-AQ conference school and figures to do a good job here.
Out: DeWayne WalkerClick NEW MEXICO STATEHere to view this Link., announced resignation Jan. 22 after going 10-40 in four seasons.
In: New Mexico State offensive coordinator Doug Martin, hired Feb. 1.
What he inherits: New Mexico State sank down to a winless team in the conference last season and for a program that has had few highlights it is approaching rock bottom. There is little points of optimism here and Martin will have his work cut out for him not only working in a state devoid of talent but having a hard selling point to come to the program.
Buzz on the new coach: Martin is well regarded as one of the best developers of quarterbacks and that is the bright spot. In his previous stops he has increased the offensive output at each place and that will be the selling point for getting players on campus. Martin uses the spread attack but has an eye for defense and there could be major turnover in short form.
Out: Dave Doeren, hired at N.C. State on Dec. 1 after going 23-4 in two seasons.
In: Northern Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Carey, hired Dec. 4.
What he inherits: The NIU program was elevated under Jerry Kill but taken to another level in the two seasons under Doeren. The Huskies became the first MAC school to receive a BCS Bowl bid this year. Carey isn't inheriting anything unfamiliar to him. The former offensive coordinator will be moving his office just down the hall. His familiarity with the program is an asset and the return of quarterback Jordan Lynch will certainly aid in his first year on the job.
Buzz on the new coach : Not much as this is an internal hire so the search was short and sweet. Carey will get the opportunity to continue on with what has been laid out in front of him at NIU. The last two head coaches have been very successful and the expectation will be to keep the ship sailing in the right direction. Not changing the offense and having to revamp the roster through recruiting will help.
Out: Mike MacIntrye, hired by ColoradoClick SAN JOSE STATEHere to view this Link. on Dec. 10 after going 16-21 in three seasons.
In: FCS San Diego coach Ron Caragher, hired Dec. 17.
What he inherits: In three short seasons the Spartans improved from 1-12 to the No. 24 team in the BCS standings. It won at Fresno State for the first time in 24 years and beat Navy and Colorado State. There is a decent product on the field and while the job isn't a dream for most anyone it is now acceptable and not a graveyard. The program that has gone from irrelevant to nationally ranked and would like to maintain a place somewhere in between. The fall is much easier to expect than its lofty standing. The roster turnover is coming and restocking the shelves will be paramount.
Buzz on the new coach : This has a feel of a second chance with lightning in a bottle as the last San Diego coach to move towards the Bay Area was Jim Harbaugh who went from the Toreros to the Stanford Cardinal. While this isn't the same jump there will be a buzz that the last guy from that school is in the pros now. San Diego was limited in recruiting by being an FCS school, San Jose State is limited in recruiting because of its budget. Being able to make a dollar from two dimes is the key to success at this post.
Out: Ellis JohnsonClick SOUTHERN MISSHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 27 after going 0-12 in one season.
In: Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, hired Dec. 10.
What he inherits: Monken walks into a confounding situation after Southern Miss won 12 games in 2011 and lost 12 games in 2012. It is impossible to convince anyone that the roster is comprised of a team worthy of having a 12-loss season -- which is likely why Johnson was fired. This is a proud school that has a history of winning, and it has everything in place to win again. The offense is young and will have holes on the line. The defense will be replacing players on every level but should be steady because the roster is stocked.
Buzz on the new coach: Following a great interview the weekend prior to his hiring, Monken became a fan favorite for the job. His history of successful offenses at Oklahoma State is exciting and returns to what Southern Miss fans want to see from a head coach. The philosophy change from Larry Fedora to Ellis Johnson was too dramatic, and so were the results.
Out: Mike PriceClick UTEPHere to view this Link., announced retirement on Nov. 19. Went 48-61 in nine seasons.
In: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler, hired Dec. 10.
What he inherits: A team in the need of a bounce back. UTEP fell down to 3-9 in 2012 and only has seven current commitments. A former player at UTEP, Kugler knows the lay of the land and can sell the program. Being in Texas gives him a fertile recruiting bed even if El Paso is nearly totally devoid of FBS-level prospects most years.
Buzz on the new coach: Kugler has a tremendous reputation among NFL coaches and many believe he will be a solid hire by UTEP. He has a creative offensive mind that starts with fundamentals as a former offensive lineman and that will likely be a major asset. He has not been involved in college football since 2006 when he spent a season at Boise State but is familiar with UTEP as a former offensive line coach at the school from 1995-2000. His history of successful offensive lines and running back production could signify a slight change in philosophy than Mike Price held.
Out: Willie TaggartClick WESTERN KENTUCKYHere to view this Link., hired Dec. 7 at South Florida. Taggart was 16-20 at WKU.
In: Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, hired Dec. 10.
What he inherits: An opportunity. The Western Kentucky roster is going to have some major turnover - especially on defense - but there is enough coming back on the offensive line and at the skill positions that Petrino should be successful. The recruiting for the school may receive a moderate bump - at least at quarterback - that continuing to compete for Sun Belt titles, which may become the new expectation.
Buzz: Petrino is getting his make-good opportunity just 100 miles down I-65 from where he really made his name as a head coach at Louisville. It is a little surprising that Western Kentucky was the school that took a chance on him and his baggage but someone was going to and for Hilltopper fans it might as well have been them. The best case for WKU is that he helps the program takes the next step before he leaves in two years for a bigger job. The worst case is that the Arkansas situation repeats itself but without the success on the field.
Out: Bill CubitClick WESTERN MICHIGANHere to view this Link., fired on Nov. 17 after eight seasons and a 51-47 record.
In: Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant coach P.J. Fleck, hired Dec. 17.
What he inherits: An impatient fan base and administration that was expecting to take another step under Bill Cubit but that never materialized. The roster has talent on it but not a lot and that will need to be addressed through recruiting.
Buzz on the new coach: A week after Kliff Kingsbury was the youngest coach on the FBS-level, Fleck stole his thunder as the 32-year-old will take the reins at Western Michigan. Fleck was an assistant under Greg Schiano at both Rutgers and Tampa Bay and when the chance came for a head job he took it. Fleck has only six years of coaching to his credit and none of them were as a coordinator. He will need to surround himself with experienced coaches and hit the recruiting trail hard.
Out: Gary Andersen, hired by Wisconsin after going 26-24 in four season.
In: Utah State offensive coordinator Matt Wells, promoted Dec. 20.
What he inherits: Wells actually wil step into a job with potential after amounting to what was a graveyard for a number of years. The team returns 16 of 22 starters and is coming off its best season in history. If there was ever an opportunity for a new coach to keep positive momentum going for the Aggies it is now.
Buzz on the new coach: Wells is a former quarterback at Utah State and is one of the youngest coaches in the country. He understands the lay of the land at Utah State as well as what impact recruiting plays on the development of a program. He was the former offensive coordinator and will retain much of the staff which will keep the continuity going in the right direction.