Coaches come and go, it’s a fact of life in college football. So is the eternal sense of optimism that comes whenever a football program starts a new chapter of its existence.
Whatever struggles a program may have experienced, whatever doldrums they may be slogging their way through, the hiring of a new coach brings hope. Maybe it’s someone who had success at a previous institution that could turn around a fledgling program. Maybe it’s the coordinator who’s finally ready to take on his first big head coaching job. Maybe it’s the hot, young coach on the market who has worked his way up the coaching ladder to finally take over the sleeping giant. Maybe it’s Lane Kiffin.
Another fact of life in college football is that not every coaching change works out as it was intended, no matter how bright fans, analysts, and experts think that new era is going to turn out to be.
Of course, that doesn’t stop every coaching hire being labeled a “home run” at the outset. Why college football people love using a baseball analogy to describe coaches being hired is a bit of a weird peculiarity in and of itself, but that’s another #longread for another day.
File this one under the “Future Cold Takes” file because odds are not every single one of these hires will turn out to be the “home run” that it was hyped to be.
Willie Taggart – Oregon
Willie Taggart Is a Home Run Hire for Oregon Football… https://t.co/vCuVgFnzcK
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) December 7, 2016
— Justin Hayes (@jhayes_gna) December 8, 2016
Tom Herman – Texas
This is the closest thing to a home run hire Texas officials can make. Herman is 22-4 in two seasons at Houston and 6-0 against ranked teams. UT fans are simply starved for a winner. At this point, if Herman can get the Horns to a bowl game, that would represent progress. – Austin American-Statesman
While not the exact “home run” analogy, I’m going to assume that “unicorn” puts Herman in the same class.
— Trevor Matich (@TMatich) November 27, 2016
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Fansided even has a listicle for not just one but five reasons why Coach O was a home run for the Tigers.
LSU I think hit a home run w/hiring Coach O…is there anyone more LSU than him?
— Matt Stepp (@Matt_Stepp817) November 26, 2016
The home runs even go down to the coordinator level, like for new LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
If Kiffin does get FAU, Canada would be a home run for LSU. That dude can coach. https://t.co/W5H24P70cA
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) December 12, 2016
Home run hire https://t.co/ipWUyWJbvG
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) December 14, 2016
Jeff Brohm – Purdue
— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) December 5, 2016
Landing Jeff Brohm is a huge get for #Purdue. Is 15-1 in C-USA past 2 yrs despite QB shuffle this year. This is a home run hire for Boilers.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 5, 2016
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 5, 2016
Brohm should definitely be honored that he got into the elite “home run hire” territory by also being a GRAND SLAM hire.
Only history can judge any hire, but on paper, today? On paper, today, Purdue hit a grand slam by hiring Jeff Brohm.
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) December 5, 2016
Matt Rhule – Baylor
This is home run for Baylor and a killer for Temple. Matt gave them a real identity- @CFD22 on Matt Rhule leaving Temple for Baylor
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) December 6, 2016
Home Run Hire for Baylor getting Matt Rhule
Didn't expect this. Rhule will have alot of work to do Baylor has 1 commit in 2017 pic.twitter.com/3TEPz8zfLj
— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) December 6, 2016
Matt Rhule is a home-run hire for #Baylor – Won't be an easy rebuild but he'll do it the right way.
— Justin Hopkins (@JHopkins541) December 6, 2016
Major Applewhite – Houston
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) December 9, 2016
Lane Kiffin – Florida Atlantic
When reports had Lane Kiffin as Houston’s frontrunner, Mike Farrell thought it would be a home run. It’s hard to imagine he feels differently about FAU hiring Kiffin.
— Marc Ryan (@MarcRyanOnAir) December 5, 2016
Even if Kiffin puts his foot in his mouth over something, or gets the NCAA enforcement division riled up, or simply finds that there isn’t enough talent in the program to push Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion out of the way in this league, the Owls still will have taken their biggest home-run swing since agreeing to let Howard Schnellenberger sell his original concept of football in paradise. And if it turns out that Kiffin has matured to the point that he really can teach FAU players about doing things the right way and earning every success, that would be a fine surprise. – Palm Beach Post
This is why this hire by FAU already is a home run. pic.twitter.com/TBLMt21hEb
— Tom D'Angelo (@tomdangelo44) December 13, 2016
Butch Davis – Florida International
Even fellow college coaches are getting in on the home run derby. Miami (FL) coach Mark Richt thinks Butch Davis is a “home run” for FIU.
Richt on FIU's hire of Butch Davis: "It's a home run for FIU. he's going to be excited about the opportunity there…"
— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) November 15, 2016
That's a home run hire for FIU, if true https://t.co/Nvd9QYlXK2
— RedDirtSport (@RedDirtSport) November 5, 2016
Luke Fickell – Cincinnati
— Bobby Carpenter (@Bcarp3) December 7, 2016
Geoff Collins – Temple
— Jamar Chaney (@Jamar51Chaney) December 13, 2016
Temple may have just upgraded at Head Coach. Geoff Collins is a home run. @HARRYMAYES975
— John Hayes (@johnP_hayes) December 13, 2016
The old Temple coach thinks the new Temple coach is a home run hire…
— Tom Hanslin (@tomhanslin) December 13, 2016
Shockingly, Collins “won the press conference,” continuing an impressive streak of every new football coach aside from Jim Tomsula doing so.
If this press conference is any indication, Temple hit a home run with this hire.
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) December 14, 2016
Charlie Strong – South Florida
Bang. Home run hire for USF. https://t.co/Mu2TRUt5x5
— Daniel Seahorn (@CoachSeahorn) December 11, 2016
— WDAE (@620wdae) December 13, 2016
Strong is an unbelievable home run hire for South Florida. It's rare to see an upgrade after losing a successful coach to a bigger school.
— Jeff Barlis (@JeffBarlis) December 11, 2016
And hey, even we got into the act on this one as well! The Comeback named Charlie Strong a “home run hire” for the Bulls…
Wait a minute though… these sound just a little bit familiar…
#Texas hitting a home run with Strong. Will continue to keep Texas guys home and recruit the heck out of Florida too. They can be scary good
— Alex Gleitman (@alexgleitman) January 4, 2014
Apparently not all home run hires are created equal. Be careful out there football fans.