Early Grades on NCAA CFB Coaching Hires in the Lone Star State

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Tis the season for coaching changes and coaching hires.

The Lone Star State has a new makeover when it comes to head coaches in college football. Here is a break down of the four new faces set to roam the sidelines in Texas next season.

Texas A&M

Out: Kevin Sumlin (Unemployed)

In: Jimbo Fisher

Quick Take: Texas A&M made a splash hire with the addition of Jimbo Fisher. The Aggies made Fisher their top priority and landed their guy.

While the contract (10 years, $75 million guaranteed) might have been a bit overboard, A&M showed that it’s ready to be a serious contender in the SEC. Fisher, of course, brings name value and a championship pedigree. And the addition of ace recruiter Tim Brewster should give the Aggies an extra boost on the trail. Overall, A&M did a terrific job during its brief but exciting coaching search.

Grade: A-


New SMU Head Coach Sonny Dykes. Photo courtesy Kelley L. Cox/USA TODAY Sports

Out: Chad Morris (Arkansas)

In: Sonny Dykes

Quick Take: Southern Methodist University’s program took a colossal hit when Morris spurned the Mustangs to head to the SEC. Morris was on the verge of building something special on The Hilltop and had both the player and important figures around the program believing in the future.

SMU now takes a major step back with the hiring of Sonny Dykes, who was greeted with backlash from both players and fans. Dykes flamed out at California and doesn’t exactly seem like the best fit. SMU had an opportunity to hire assistant and Texas high school coaching legend Jeff Traylor, which would have been high risk, high reward but passed.

Grade: C-


Out: David Bailiff (Unemployed)

In: Mike Bloomgren

Quick Take: Bailiff is out at Rice after more than a decade with the program. He certainly had some major highs during his tenure with the program, leading the Owls to two 10-win seasons and its first bowl berth since the 60s.

But Rice has been on the decline over the last several years, and it was clearly time for a change. In comes Bloomgren, who knows a thing or two about turning around a prestigious academic program from his time helping rebuild Stanford. Bloomgren did a tremendous job as offensive coordinator for the Cardinal and has potential.

Grade: B+


Out: Sean Kugler (Unemployed)

In: The University of Texas-El Paso decided to go after one of its own to change the culture when it hired Kugler back in 2013. However, he went 18-36 during his time in El Paso and didn’t make it through the end of the year as the Miners got off to a 0-5 start.

UTEP went in a completely new direction by hiring Kansas State offensive coordinator Dan Dimel. While Kansas State isn’t known for its explosive offenses, Dimel helped make the program a consistent contender in the Big 12 by mining for under-the-radar talent. He is a good fit for UTEP from a recruiting standpoint and should fare better on the field than his predecessor.

Grade: B

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