Whoo boy, buckle up folks. As if there wasn't enough on-field drama to satisfy the most rabid college football fans, some schools are already ending coaching tenures.
If you thought for a minute this is school sports and not really a business, look no further than USC. Sure, it was the start of Clay Helton's sixth season, but still, it is only Week 2. This is the sort of thing you maybe see in pro sports, but schools usually let the season play out (not always, of course), and not at USC as history has shown. Against the wishes of Trojan fans, USC athletic director Mike Bohn has defended Helton several times in six years. The beat down by Stanford (42-28) changed that position, despite the rather large payout that comes with the firing.
“As I committed to upon my arrival at USC, during the past two offseasons we provided every resource necessary for our football program to compete for championships,” Bohn said in a statement. “The added resources carried significantly increased expectations for our team’s performance, and it is already evident that, despite the enhancements, those expectations would not be met without a change in leadership.”
According to the LA Times (2021), "His win percentage (.657) ranks ninth in USC football history, sandwiched between the Trojans’ last two fired coaches, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, both of whom were also fired early in the season" (para. 9).
Sources say Helton’s buyout is expected to be somewhere between $10 and $15 million, and his overall record at the school was 46-24.
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If that weren't enough excitement for week 2 off-field news, Navy had two bizarre coaching changes. Athletic director Chet Gladchuk, after Saturday’s loss to Air Force, decided he wanted to fire 22-year offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper. Then, head coach Ken Niumatalolo asked the AD to reconsider, and Jasper is back with the team. Jasper played for coach Niumatalolo in the 1990s at Hawaii and they have a strong bond, but apparently, that friendship does not extend to Gladchuk and Jasper. This is an odd situation and hopefully for the Midshipmen it does not cause any unnecessary distractions going forward.
You'd think that is where the Navy news ends, but on the same day Jasper was fired and rehired, Navy fired assistant coach Billy Ray Stutzmann for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Here is the coaches tweet from the incident:
We are off and running in college football. Full stadiums, several Top-25 upsets, and coaches fired....after Week 2.
~Michael Patrick Day, Irish Proud & 12oz Sports Writer
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@prevailz
Kartje, R (2021). USC fires football coach Clay Helton following loss to Stanford. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved https://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/story/2021-09-13/clay-helton-fired-usc-football-coach