As a football coach, you know things are bad when you finally beat a team and its coach is immediately fired. Losing to your team, obviously, is grounds for immediate dismissal. That scenario actually happened to Turner Gill, the Kansas coach who saw his counterpart at Colorado get fired.
Gill had a top-flight college career as a player, and then took a coaching job at Buffalo (NY). That school was never a football powerhouse, and was then the punching bag even for the other also-ran college programs. Gill coached Buffalo up into a winning program. Kansas – having assumed the Big12 doormat position from Baylor – hired Gill to turn their program around two years ago.
He beat then-No. 15 Georgia Tech in his second game as coach, a wowzer for Kansas fans, and a shocking defeat for Tech. That, unfortunately for Gill, was all she wrote. This year he pulled out two wins against lower division schools, and then preceded to lose ten straight games, including a 70-28 loss to Oklahoma State (in which the starters were pulled by OSU Coach Gundy at halftime), a 43-0 loss at Texas (now at 7-4 and hardly the Longhorns of old), and a 61-7 loss to Texas A&M in which the Aggies ran up the 61 points in three quarters of play.
Gill’s Jayhawks lost by a single point to Baylor, but had held a 24-3 lead in the fourth quarter before the Bears came storming back to win 31-30.
It is that time of year when school administrations have to decide about the next season. Continue with the current plan? Change coaches? In an era of got-to-win, it is a quicker fix in the eyes of boosters (read that money-donors), to fire the coach.
Turner Gill is out.
The season’s conclusion has so many upheavals that the media regularly presents charts and graphs on who is out and who is on the short-list for replacement. The Tulsa World lumps them all together in a column called Coaching Roundup, bringing to mind an image of cattle at the stockyards being herded down chutes to eventual slaughter.
Here’s the other fallout: Dennis Erickson – gone at Arizona State. Larry Porter from Memphis, Ron Zook at Illinois. Neil Callaway at UAB.
That’s the list, for now (not including Penn State, Ohio State, and other mid-season firings).