Tracking The Growth and Success of FBS African American Head Coaches: Season Recap

The 2013 College Football Season regular season is officially completed and it was an up and down one for black head coaches. This week I am write up is going to be longer then usual because I am going to provide you with a season recap on each team. As well as my grades for each coach on the season based on how team performance based on expectations coming into the season. Let see how they wrapped up the regular season and how each coach did this year.

Combined Record (58-68)

Championship Week


Charlie Strong (Louisville)

Week 15: Louisville ended its 2013 regular season by beating rival Cincinnati on the road 31-24 in over time. Finishing their regular season 11-1.

Bowl Matchup: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Miami. This should be a good matchup and although it’s not the BCS or even national title game that the cardinals wanted going into the season. It is a solid bowl game against a program with a marquee name.

Program Outlook: All in all it was a good season for Coach strong and the Cardinals. An 11-1 record is nothing to scoff at but the Cardinals fell short of their lofty preseason goals. After beating Florida last year in the Sugar Bowl the expectation for Louisville was BCS or bust. 22 win in the past two seasons has Louisville as the clear dominant program in the American Athletic Conference. Next season things get a lot tougher as the Cardinals will join the ACC. Coach Strong has affirmed him as one of the top up and coming coaches in the country.

Teddy Bridgewater Halloween Costume

Teddy Bridgewater Halloween Costume

Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M)

Week 15: Did not qualify for the SEC championship game. Finished their season 8-4.

Bowl Matchup: Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Duke. A Cotton bowl win last year and a Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance this season. If you are in the SEC and don’t qualify for a BCS bowl game those are the two bowls that you want to play in. A win over ACC Coastal Division Champs Duke would cap off a solid season.

Program Outlook: Coach Sumlin accepted a contract extension to stay in College Station for a long time. Who could blame him? He has resurrected A&M to heights they haven’t seen since Jackie Sherrill was roaming the sidelines. Back-to-Back trips to New York for Johnny Football have ensured that country has taken notice of what Coach Sumlin is putting together with the Aggies.

David Shaw (Stanford)

Week 15: This past Saturday Stanford knocked off Arizona St for the second time this season. This time it was for the Pac-12 championship and now the Cardinal are headed to Pasadena. 11-2 season.

David Shaw

Bowl Matchup: Rose Bowl Vs. Michigan St. This is going to be a good match up of two pro style football times. If you like good old fashioned football that consists of stout defense, a good running game, and play action passes. Then this is the game for you.

Program Outlook: Two PAC-12 titles in a row and back to back Rose Bowl appearances means all is good in the land software geniuses, wine, and splash city. Given that Shaw is a Stanford Alumni unless he leaves for the NFL he should be in Palo Alto for life.

James Franklin (Vanderbilt)

Week 15: Did not qualify for the SEC Championship game. Finished season 8-4.

Bowl Matchup: BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Houston. This is going to be one of the better bowl match ups of the season. Houston has a high-powered offense and Vanderbilt has a quality defense. A win for either team would put them at 9 on the season.

Program Outlook: James Franklin literally is the best thing to ever happen to Vanderbilt football. The Commodores have qualified for bowl games 8 times in the 123 years history of the program and this year marks the third in Coach Franklin tenure. Everything is great in the Music City. The only question is how long will Coach Franklin choose to stay at Vandy.

Darrell Hazell (Purdue)

Week 15: Did not qualify for the B1G Championship game. Finished the season 1-11.

Bowl Matchup: Not bowl eligible.

Program Outlook: This was the first season in West Lafayette for coach Hazell and to be frank it was a disaster. Expectations were not high for the Boilermakers but after back-to-back bowl appearances under former coach Danny Hope. No one expected the decline that they witnessed this season. Darrell Hazell is a good coach and as a former Buckeye, I have confidence in him that he is going to get things turned around.

Curtis Johnson (Tulane)

Week 15: Did not qualify for the C-USA Championship and finished the season 1-11.

Bowl Matchup: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. This is a solid matchup, which is a de facto state of Louisiana championship game. After strong starts to the season both teams ended their season with losing skids and will be looking for this game to build momentum into 2014.


Program Outlook: Curtis Johnson improved the Green Wave from 2-10 in his first season to 7-5 this year. That is the type of improvement every program wants to see in year 2 under a new coach. With Nick Montana next season there is a strong chance that Tulane will make another bowl game.

Mike London (Virginia)

Week 15: Did not qualify for the ACC Championship game. Finished the regular season 2-10

Bowl Matchup: Not bowl eligible.

Program Outlook: I am truly surprised to see that Coach London still has his job. Having been to won bowl game in his four seasons in Charlottesville and a 0-8-conference record this season. The hot seat is a 12 on a scale of 1-10 for Coach London. The Cavaliers have signed their best recruiting class in years giving fans some hope for the future. However next year is a bowl game or bust plain and simple.

Garrick McGee (UAB)

Week 15: Did not qualify for C-USA Championship.  Finished the regular season 2-10.

Bowl Matchup: Not bowl eligible.

Program Outlook: It has been a difficult two years in Birmingham for Coach McGee. A 5-19 record isn’t the best but he is bringing in a solid recruiting class headlined by local running back Demracus Kirk. The plan is to simply keep laying the foundation for the team to improve.

Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina)

Week 15: Did not qualify for the C-USA championship game.  Finished the season with a good 9-3 record.

ECU has a chance to win 10 games for the first time since Jeff Blake was the QB.

ECU has a chance to win 10 games for the first time since Jeff Blake was the QB.

Bowl Matchup: Beef O Brady’s Bowl vs. Ohio. No they Pirates are not facing the Buckeyes contrary to what Brady Hoke might want you to believe. This is going to be a good matchup for Coach McNeill team vs. the Bobcats. Frank Solich has built a real strong program that expects go to bowl games and compete for the MAC title every year.

Program Outlook: This was the fourth year in Greenville for Ruffin McNeill and he has the program on the upswing. This season pirates qualified for their third bowl game in his tenure and were one game away from winning the C-USA East Division title.  A bowl win would give the pirates their 10th win of the season and with Shane Carden returning at qb next year they should be pre season favorites to win the division.

Willie Taggart (South Florida)

Week 15: 31-6 lost to Rutgers in the regular season finale. Finished the season 2-10.

Bowl Matchup: Not bowl eligible.

Program Outlook:  Coach Taggart took the job at South Florida with a lot of fan fare and big media tour. He was excited, the AD was glowing, and the fans thought they were going bounce back after the decline of Skip Holtz. However things did not go according to plan this season as the Bulls offense struggled all season to get things rolling. Once coach Taggart is able to get a full roster of players to fit his system I’m confident the bulls offense will be stampeding down the field.


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