Kiffin not the first one-and-done in college
Lane Kiffin bolted Tennessee for Southern Cal after only one year with the Volunteers. This is great for the college football coaching carousel, disaster for Tennessee and we’ll see for USC. Leaving after one year is in poor taste, especially for a guy who didn’t have a job when hired by Tennessee; Kiffin had been axed by the Oakland Raiders in September 2008. But Kiffin is not the first coach to do it.
One-and-done coaches have hit Oklahoma three times. Jim Tatum ignited the Sooner football renaissance in 1946, then bolted for Maryland, which Tatum turned into a powerhouse. Jim Mackenzie started a new OU era, bringing in a staff for the ages (Barry Switzer, Galen Hall, Chuck Fairbanks, Larry Lacewell) in 1966, then died of a heart attack in April 1967. Howard Schnellenberger arrived in 1995, alienated the OU administration (and most everybody else) before the season barely started and was fired after a 5-5-1 season.
Oklahoma State lost a coach after one season when Dave Smith took off for SMU after going 6-5 in 1972. That’s back in the day when SMU and TCU would steal coaches from this state. Dave Bliss, Jim Killingsworth, eventually even Billy Tubbs. The defection didn’t cripple the Cowboys; Smith brought in a staff that included Jim Stanley, who became head coach and in 1976 led OSU to its only Big Eight championship.
Other notable one-and-dones in college football:
* Air Force:Bill Parcells, apparently always a wayfarer, coached the Falcons to a 3-8 record in 1978, then resigned to become defensive coordinator of the New York Giants. He left the Giants before the 1979 season, returning to Colorado to work in private business. Parcells got back into football in 1980 and by 1986 coached the Giants to the Super Bowl title. But Air Force persevered without him; the Falcons promoted Parcells’ offensive coordinator, Ken Hatfield, and Air Force quickly became a football school.
Boise State: Houston Nutt, hired away from Western Kentucky, coached the little-known Broncos to a 5-6 record in 1997, their second season in Division I-A. They had gone 2-10 in the first year. The jump was enough for Frank Broyles to pull the string on bringing Nutt back to Arkansas, where he coached 10 seasons.
California: Steve Mariucci was the Green Bay Packers quarterback coach, then was hired away by Cal in 1996. The Golden Bears went 6-6, and the 49ers were sold. They had Mariucci as head coach, and Cal went 12-43 over the next five years under Tom Holmoe.
Indiana:Sam Wyche coached the Hoosiers to a 3-8 record in 1983, but that didn’t deter the Cincinnati Bengals from hiring Wyche, once a Bengal quarterback, as their head coach.
Maryland: One week after coaching the Buffalo Bills to the 1965 AFL championship, Lou Saban quit to become the coach at Maryland. He stayed a year, going 4-6, then jumped to the Denver Broncos. Saban had 11 stops as a head coach; his longest stint was five years (Bills 1972-76) and only three of the stints lasted longer than two years.
Missouri: The Tigers hired a young assistant coach from Georgia Tech in 1957, and Frank Broyles did a solid job. Mizzou went 5-4-1. Then Arkansas offered Broyles the job as head coach, and Broyles went to the Ozarks and began a 50-year career as the Razorbacks coach or athletic director.
Nebraska: Pete Elliott was 29 years old and on Bud Wilkinson’s OU staff when the Huskers hired him in 1956. Elliott coached Nebraska to a 4-6 record, then was hired away by California.
Northwestern: Our old pal, Lou Saban, coached the Wildcats to an 0-8-1 record in 1955. I don’t know if he was fired or left on his own; with Saban, it was always hard to tell. But Saban’s departure was one of the better things to ever hit Northwestern, which in his place hired Ara Parseghian.
Penn State: In the last 61 years, the Nittany Lions have had three head coaches. Joe Paterno for 44 years, Rip Engle for 16 years and Joe Bedenk for one season, 1949. Bedenk coached Penn State to a 5-4-1 record, then requested a demotion back to offensive line coach. Penn State hired Engle, who hired a young assistant named Paterno.
Pittsburgh: Len Casanova was a successful coach at Santa Clara (in 1948, he beat Bud Wilkinson and OU at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco) and took the Pitt job for 1950. Before the season, Casanova lost much of his team to the Korean War, and the Panthers went 1-8. Casanova bolted for Oregon, where he spent 20 years as coach and/or AD.
Rice: Todd Graham was Steve Kragthorpe’s defensive coordinator during the Tulsa comeback years, then went to Rice and coached the Owls to a 7-6 record in 2006. When Kragthorpe went to Louisville, Graham returned to TU as head coach.
San Jose State:Ron Turner, brother of long-time NFL head coach Norv Turner, became the San Jose State coach in 1992 and coached the Spartans to a 7-4 record. Then Dave Wannstedt hired away Ron Turner to be the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator. San Jose State has had just two winning records since.
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