Some hires of college football coaches have altered the balance of power in the sport. Others made headlines and garnered public attention, but ultimately fizzled out. Here are seven recruitments that shaped the game:
1. 1951: Woody Hayes leaves Miami (Ohio) for Ohio State
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When Wesley Fesler resigned as Ohio State coach on December 9, 1950, a name hung over the search for an Ohio State replacement: Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown, the future Pro Footballer. Hall of Famer who had led the Buckeyes from 1941 to 1943. Although Brown never applied for the job, he was interviewed for the job.
But Ohio state hired Hayes, who had set a 14-5 Miami record, including a Salad Bowl victory to cap a 9-1 season in 1950. He signed a one-year contract. of $ 12,500 which included a full professor position in physical education and the right to appoint coaches.
“His selection from a shortlist of seven wannabes ended days of guesswork and gossip and put the brakes on a ‘Bring Brown’ boom that was going full steam ahead for weeks,” The Associated Press wrote.
HERITAGE: At Ohio State, Hayes won three national championships by consensus and finished 205-61-10. On December 30, 1978, he was fired for hitting a Clemson player who intercepted a pass against Ohio State at the Gator Bowl the night before.
2. 1957: Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant leaves Texas A&M for Alabama
A report on Bryant’s release as a Texas A&M coach secured an eight-column banner headline on the front page of the Birmingham, Alabama News even before accepting an agreement with Alabama.
“It’s like your mom calls when she needs you,” Bryant said of a potential transfer to his alma mater after Texas A&M lost to Texas in their last regular season game. “That’s the only reason I would think about it. ”
Bryant accepted the position in Alabama before coaching Texas A&M one last time at the Gator Bowl. It’s unclear if he took a sign from his A&M office to Alabama that said, “Winning isn’t everything, but it’s definitely better than anything that comes in second.”
HERITAGE: Bryant has enjoyed tremendous success in 25 years in Alabama, turning a mediocre program into a national powerhouse. He has won six national championships and has a 232-46-9 record.
3. 1963: Ara Parseghian leaves the northwest for Notre-Dame
Parseghian’s departure from the northwest was filled with drama and uncertainty, resulting in large part from a South Bend Tribune (Indiana) report that prematurely flagged the hiring of the 40-year-old at Notre Dame.
Parseghian apologized for the delay in his hiring announcement, which allegedly implied his confusion over a successor at Northwestern. “[The] it was all disproportionately disproportionate and I regret the embarrassment caused to Notre-Dame by the brief delay in signing the contract, ”he said.
Reverend Edmund Joyce, who hired Parseghian, said: “I told Mr. Parseghian that Notre Dame’s possibilities were good and we were interested in a young man with a good record.”
HERITAGE: In 11 seasons with Fighting Irish, Parseghian set a 95-17-4 record and won national championships in 1966 and 1973.
4. 1968: Bo Schembechler leaves Miami (Ohio) for Michigan
The relatively unannounced Schembechler in Miami, Ohio, was an astonishing pick for Michigan, who many expected to see as top coaches Joe Paterno (Penn State), Vince Dooley (Georgia) and Doug Dickey (Tennessee) . His hiring marked the first time since 1938 that Michigan had hired a head coach from outside its footballing family.
“Who knows what this new man can do to restore Michigan’s shaken prestige as one of the nation’s premier football powers,” Detroit Free press sports editor Joe Falls wrote. “But any guy who’s ever worked for Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian needs to know what the job is all about, as well as the excellence.”
HERITAGE: Schembechler never won a National Championship in Michigan, but he posted a 194-48-5 record and appeared in 10 Rose Bowls (winning two). He had a fierce rivalry with his mentor Hayes and Ohio State, including “The Ten Year War” from 1969-1978. In 2021, vandals splashed paint on a statue of Schembechler, who some accuse of covering up sexual assault allegations by a former Michigan team doctor during the coach’s tenure.
5. 1976: Johnny Majors leaves Pittsburgh for Tennessee
Four weeks before Pitt’s Sugar Bowl game with fifth-placed Georgia, the Majors announced their decision to coach Tennessee, their alma mater. Pitt would go on to beat Georgia to finish 12-0 and win the national title. The success of the majors in Pittsburgh made him a product of choice in Tennessee.
“[T]it was one of the most unusual hires in football history “, Knoxville News-Sentinel wrote sports editor Tom Siler. “This time, UT officials had no choice. Tennessee fans chose John. UT officials just followed customers’ orders for cash.”
HERITAGE: In the final weeks of the 1992 season — his 16th in Tennessee — Majors were asked to step down. He won two Sugar Bowls and a Cotton Bowl with the Volunteers, and finished 116-62-8.
6. 1982: Jackie Sherrill leaves Pittsburgh for Texas A&M
In Pittsburgh, Sherrill – after an 11-1 season and a Sugar Bowl victory – was making $ 60,000 a year plus incentives that roughly doubled that number. Sherrill’s six-year contract with Texas A&M included a salary and benefits that reportedly amounted to $ 300,000 per year.
“Saying ‘my heart and soul remain in Pittsburgh’, Jackie Sherrill last night transferred her bank account to College Station, Texas,” wrote Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports editor Bruce Keidan.
Even Pitt’s players realized the deal was too good to pass up. “For that kind of money I think I could stand on my head for 10 years,” tackle Dave Puzzoli told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
HERITAGE: Sherrill was 52-28-1 in seven seasons at Texas A&M. His best years came from 1985 to 1987, when he went to three consecutive Cotton Bowls, winning two.
7. 2007: Rich Rodriguez leaves West Virginia for Michigan
Rodriguez’s Mountaineers, 10-1 and ready to play in the national title game, had only their “Backyard Brawl” rivalry game with Pitt on the left. But the 28-point favorites West Virginia lost the game and all title hope.
The loss, however, did not deter Michigan, which hired Rodriguez 16 days later. Sports Illustrated Stewart Mandel called his hiring “the biggest in college football” since Florida took over Urban Meyer.
Rodriguez’s separation from West Virginia was bitter. A modest graduate assistant reportedly handed the West Virginia athletic director the coach’s resignation letter. Regarding the separation, Rodriguez said: “It’s never easy. When is a good time or an easy time to quit a program? I don’t think a coach will tell you that there is an easy time. . “
HERITAGE: Rodriguez lasted three years at Michigan, producing just one winning season and finishing with a 15-22 record.