A Look Back at the One-and-Done Coach
By Paul Myerberg // Dec 15, 2011
With the move official, let’s put Todd Graham’s second one-and-done stay into a historical perspective. Among the current 120-strong group, there are only two other head coaches with one such tenure, let alone two. This list doesn’t include those coaches currently in their first season at a specific program – coaches like Colorado’s Jon Embree, in the first year of a newly-minted contract. No active coach, other than Graham, has had two one-year stints.
Lane Kiffin spent the 2009 season at Tennessee, aggravated everyone in sight – outside of Knoxville, it should be added – and rejuvenated the program’s swagger despite finishing 7-6. That winter, Kiffin informed the university he was accepting the open position at U.S.C. during a minute-long press conference.
It felt a minute long, at least. At that moment, Knoxville hated Kiffin with the same passion as the rest of the SEC. Like Graham in 2007, when he left Rice for Tulsa, Kiffin took a step up in program prestige; unlike Graham’s move to Arizona State, Kiffin viewed his destination as his dream job.
The second is Hugh Freeze, who last week parlayed a 10-win season at Arkansas State into the rebuilding job at Mississippi. That’s a fairly clear promotion: Sun Belt to the SEC. The slight difference is that Freeze spent two seasons at Arkansas State altogether, having been the Red Wolves’ offensive coordinator in 2011. Kiffin and Graham – at both the latter’s stops – were newcomers during their lone season in town.
Not counting interim coaches – like Ohio State’s Luke Fickell, for example – there have been 43 one-and-done coaching stints among current F.B.S. programs since 1960, counting those who have joined the F.B.S. in the years since.
This list also doesn’t include coaches who were hired yet never coached a game, like George O’Leary at Notre Dame or Mike Price at Alabama. Listed chronologically:
Ching Do Kim, Hawaii 1961
Bum Phillips, UTEP 1962
James McDonald, Tennessee 1963
Hugh Devore, Notre Dame 1964
Clark Shaughnessy, Hawaii 1965
Jim Mackenzie, Oklahoma 1966
Lou Saban, Maryland 1966
Phil Sarboe, Hawaii 1966
Don King, Hawaii 1967
Perry Moss, Marshall 1968
Don Fouss, Middle Tennessee State 1969
Al Michaels, N.C. State 1971
Bill Peterson, Rice 1971
Dave Smith, Oklahoma State 1972
Jackie Sherrill, Washington State 1976
Warren Powers, Washington State 1977
Bob Kappas, Ohio 1978
Bill Parcells, Air Force 1978
Rod Dowhower, Stanford 1979
Lou Saban, Army 1979
Richard Bell, South Carolina 1982
Pat Dye, Wyoming 1980
Sam Weir, U.C.F. 1982
Sam Wyche, Indiana 1983
Lee Corso, Northern Illinois 1984
Dennis Erickson, Wyoming 1986
Jim Hilles, Wisconsin 1986
David McWilliams, Texas Tech 1986
George Henshaw, Tulsa 1987
Carl Torbush, Louisiana Tech 1987
Nick Saban, Toledo 1990
Ray Perkins, Arkansas State 1992
Ron Turner, San Jose State 1992
Jeff Horton, Nevada 1993
Joe Lee Dunn, Mississippi 1994
Howard Schnellenberger, Oklahoma 1995
Steve Mariucci, California 1996
Houston Nutt, Boise State 1997
Dennis Erickson, Idaho 2006
Todd Graham, Rice 2006
Lane Kiffin, Tennessee 2009
Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State 2011
Todd Graham, Pittsburgh 2011
There have been five one-and-done seasons since 2006, with Erickson’s second – joining Idaho in 1986 – and Graham’s pair joined by Freeze last week and Kiffin in 2009. Hawaii had a run from 1961-67: Kim, Shaughnessy, Sarboe and King. That makes the program as it currently stands look farsighted in comparison.
How about poor, poor Washington State? The Cougars hired Jackie Sherrill in 1976; after one season, Sherrill left Pullman for Pittsburgh. His replacement, Warren Powers, lasted only one season before leaving for Missouri. That puts any pain over Graham’s departure into some perspective, doesn’t it?
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Tags: Arkansas State, Dennis Erickson, Hugh Freeze, Lane Kiffin, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Todd Graham, Tulsa, U.S.C.
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