In the ever-changing world of college football, the 2018 coaching hiring cycle proved to be tumultuous and unpredictable. With 21 jobs changing hands, including 13 at the power conference level and five at championship-winning programs, it was a season of upheaval that would have lasting consequences.
A Season of Change
As the 2018 college football season came to a close, it became evident that change was on the horizon. Chip Kelly, who had been at the helm of UCLA, announced his departure to join Ohio State as the offensive coordinator. The Bruins quickly found a replacement in DeShaun Foster, a former player with a strong connection to the program.
Meanwhile, Jim Harbaugh left Michigan for the Los Angeles Chargers, creating a vacancy that was filled by Jedd Fisch. Nick Saban's retirement from Alabama marked the end of an era, and the Crimson Tide welcomed Ken Niumatalolo as their new head coach.
At Boston College, Bill O'Brien took over as head coach, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a strong reputation.
The ripple effects of these coaching changes were far-reaching. Jimbo Fisher's hiring at Texas A&M, for example, was met with both excitement and skepticism. While Fisher had a proven track record of success, some questioned whether he was the right fit for the Aggies.
Six seasons later, the impact of the 2018 hiring cycle is still being felt. Only one coach remains in place at the university that hired him in 2018: Mike Bloomgren at Rice. Thirteen of the other 20 coaches were fired or forced out, while seven left on their own to pursue other opportunities.
The individual churn from this hiring class, which has been widely regarded as one of the worst in college football history, has been staggering. Factors such as a life-altering pandemic, drastic changes in the job description, NCAA infractions cases, and losing records have all contributed to the instability.
As we reflect on the tumultuous 2018 college football coach hiring cycle, it's clear that the landscape of the sport has changed dramatically. The challenges faced by coaches in today's dynamic environment are greater than ever before, and the pressure to perform is immense.
Despite the struggles and setbacks, however, there are also stories of resilience and determination. Coaches like Bloomgren, who has managed to weather the storm at Rice, serve as a reminder that success is still possible in the face of adversity.
As we look to the future of college football, it's clear that the lessons learned from the 2018 hiring cycle will continue to shape the sport for years to come.
In conclusion, the 2018 college football coach hiring cycle was a tumultuous period in the sport's history, marked by change, upheaval, and uncertainty. While the fallout from this period has been significant, it has also highlighted the resilience and determination of those who choose to coach at the highest level.
As we look back on this time, it's clear that the lessons learned will continue to shape the sport for years to come. Whether it's the importance of adapting to new challenges, the need for strong leadership, or the value of perseverance, these are lessons that will continue to resonate with coaches, players, and fans alike.