College football coaching carousel: Tracker for every FBS coaching change in 2023

How many coaching changes will there be in 2023? 

That number will be determined in the coming weeks, but the number jumped to eight on Saturday with another move within the Power 5. Jonathan Smith left Oregon State to take the same position at Michigan State. 

In 2022, there were 23 FBS coaching changes, which was down from 28 in 2021. There were 18 coaching changes in 2020. 

So, who’s next? A look at all the FBS coaching changes for 2023: 

College football coaching changes 2023

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 

Fired (July 10): Northwestern fired Fitzgerald three days after the school announced a two-week suspension in connection with a hazing investigation within the program. Fitzgerald is currently suing the university for $130 million in damages. Fitzgerald’s firing was an offseason shocker considering the former Wildcats linebacker had been the head coach since 2006. He had a 110-101 and led Northwestern to Big Ten championship appearances in 2018 and 2020.

Mel Tucker, Michigan State 

Fired (Sept. 27): The Spartans fired Tucker with cause on Sept. 27. Tucker was under investigation by the university in connection with a sexual misconduct complaint by Brenda Tracy, a prominent sexual assault awareness advocate. Tucker led the Spartans to a 11-2 record in 2021, which prompted the school to sign him to a massive $95 million contract extension. Michigan State slipped to 5-7 in 2022 and was 2-0 at the time when he was let go. Harlon Barnett is Michigan State’s interim coach. 

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M 

Fired (Nov. 12): Texas A&M fired Fisher, who was hired in 2018 from Florida State with the expectation he could lead the Aggies to a national championship. Fisher, however, struggled with building a consistent contender in the SEC West. Texas A&M finished 9-1 in 2020 in the COVID-19 shortened season, with the only loss coming to eventual national champion Alabama. The Aggies were 19-15 from 2021-23 under Fisher, and that included a 10-13 record in SEC play. Fisher will receive a massive $75 million buyout in guaranteed money. 

Andy Avalos, Boise State 

Fired (Nov. 12): Boise State fired Avalos – a former linebacker for the Broncos from 2001-04 – in just his third season. The Broncos slipped to 5-5, but the timing was curious considering they were coming off a 42-14 victory against New Mexico. Avalos had a 22-14 record. He was previously the defensive coordinator at Oregon.

Zach Arnett, Mississippi State

Fired (Nov. 13): Arnett was Mike Leach’s defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, and was elevated to interim coach when Leach fell ill in December 2022. Mississippi State named him permanent head coach just days after Leach’s death, and then let him go before he finished his first season. Arnett won Mississippi State’s bowl game after the 2022 season and was 4-6 in 2023. The Bulldogs hired Jeff Lebby. 

Brady Hoke, San Diego State 

Retired (Nov. 13): Hoke announced his retirement, effective at the end of this season. The Aztecs slipped to 3-7 this season, and Hoke is 39-31 in his second stint with the program. He was the head coach at Michigan from 2011-14 and the interim coach at Tennessee for two games in 2017. Hoke, 65, is 104-91 as a head coach.  

Dino Babers, Syracuse

Fired (Nov. 19): Babers is out effective immediately on the heels of a loss to Georgia Tech, the school announced. After a 4-0 start, the Orange have dropped six of their last seven games. They can still become bowl-eligible by beating Wake Forest on Saturday, however. Babers, 62, was in his eighth season at the school and finishes with a 41-55 record there after much more successful two-year stints at Eastern Illinois (19-7) and Bowling Green (18-9). 

Jonathan Smith, Oregon State

Resigned (Nov. 25): Smith resigned from his alma mater to take the same position at Michigan State. Smith, 44, did a remarkable job building the Oregon State program from the bottom up over the last six seasons. He totaled a 25-13 record with three straight winning seasons in conference play. The level up to the Big Ten will be a challenge, but Smith is a solid fit at Michigan State. 

Danny Gonzales, New Mexico

Fired (Nov. 25): Gonzales had his best season with his alma mater in 2023, but a 4-8 record wasn’t good enough to keep him in the job. The former Lobos player went 11-32 in four seasons in Albuquerque, bottom out at 2-10 in 2022. A two-win improvement this year wasn’t enough. 

Tom Allen, Indiana

Fired (Nov. 26): Allen took the Hoosiers to New Year’s Day bowl games after the 2019 and 2020 seasons but has seen diminishing returns since, with records of 2-10, 4-8 and finally 3-9 this season ultimately spelling the end of his tenure after seven years. Allen, 53, was 33-49 in his first head coaching job. His buyout is $20.8 million. 

Dana Holgorsen, Houston

Fired (Nov. 26): Houston expected big things when it lured Dana Holgorsen away from West Virginia after he led the Mountaineers to seven bowl games in eight seasons. The Cougars enjoyed the high life for one season, in 2021, but it never quite clicked for Holgorsen in H-Town. After going 12-2 two years ago, Houston slid to 8-5 in 2022 and 4-8 this year, costing Holgorsen his job. He was 31-28 in five seasons with the Cougars after going 61-41 in eight years at WVU. 

FBS coaching changes by school 2023

SCHOOL OUT IN
Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald David Braun
Michigan State Mel Tucker Jonathan Smith
Texas A&M Jimbo Fisher TBD
Boise State Andy Avalos TBD
Mississippi State Zach Arnett TBD
San Diego State Brady Hoke TBD
Syracuse Dino Babers TBD
Oregon State Jonathan Smith TBD
New Mexico Danny Gonzales TBD
Indiana Tom Allen TBD
Houston Dana Holgorsen TBD

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