Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

New Coaching Carousel Sent Spinning With Nebraska’s Decision

September 13, 2022

The 2022-23 coaching carousel has started. With Nebraska’s 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday, and subsequent termination of Scott Frost as head coach the following morning, the first domino fell.

The college football ecosystem is on a course similar to last year. That coaching carousel started when, ironically enough, Clay Helton (current Georgia Southern head coach) was fired after USC’s 42-28 loss to Stanford in Week 2. USC shocked the country nearly three months later when it announced Lincoln Riley was leaving (of all places) Oklahoma to helm the Trojans.

All roads go through Nebraska.

In all likelihood, Nebraska fans will wait months to learn who their new football coach will be. Athletic director Trev Alberts announced Mickey Joseph is the interim head coach for the remainder of the season in his Sunday statement. He then outlined the process at his press conference that afternoon.

“I do think there’s some benefits in terms of making the decision when we made it,” Alberts said. “I think this gives us an opportunity to really do the necessary work. We need to dive into a real process, and a detail-oriented process that talks to a lot of people.

“That’s why I mentioned earlier, you’re gonna hear about a lot of names. That’s good. That means we’re going to talk to a lot of people, because we’re going to clearly define what our values are. And we’re not going to hire coaches who don’t believe in what we believe in. We need to take as long as it takes to find the right leader.”

Alberts said the transfer portal window and early signing period (which closes Dec. 21) would factor into the timeline. For context, Oklahoma hired Brent Venables to replace Riley (who was hired by USC on Nov. 28) on Dec. 5.

It’s a turbulent time for college football. There were 29 coaching changes in last year’s coaching cycle. That’s the most since after the 2015 season. On average, each coaching cycle in the last decade includes 23 changes. Scott Frost was hired on Dec. 2, 2017, as one of the most sought-after candidates of that cycle. He was one of 21 new hires. Six of those coaches retain their positions today. And, just last year, head coaches were hired away from prestige programs Oklahoma and Notre Dame. This is college football now.

The Washington Post reported in 1994 that CBS sealed a $82 million deal with the Big East and a $125 million deal with the SEC in total. That was for football and basketball broadcasts. Just weeks ago, the Big Ten announced its new television contracts will bring in over $1 billion annually to be divvied among member schools.

Frost’s buyout in his contract would have been cut in half if he was fired Oct. 1. Alberts didn’t wait that long. He told press no contractual negotiation was made. “The contract is what the contract is,” he said simply.

As for the resources at Nebraska’s disposal to lure its new football coach?

“I am very aware of how the market has shifted in terms of compensation and at a place like Nebraska we are blessed to be in a position to meet market demand,” Alberts said. “Certainly resources will not be an impediment to hiring the type of coach that we want to lead the Husker program.”

Not halfway into September, before most schools have even started conference play, Nebraska is the most attractive head coaching destination. Mickey Joseph is acting head football coach the rest of the season. He could coach his way into the role permanently. But, for now, there’s a whole different ball game being played behind the scenes at Memorial Stadium. And the college football world waits to see what happens next.

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