Dandy Dozen: Coaches in Trouble

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Mike Locksley was first to go.

Well, actually Ohio State’s Jim Tressel got pushed out this spring, but that was on Memorial Day, so does it really count for this season? North Carolina’s Butch Davis was second to go, but that was in August.

So Locksley was the first major college football coach to be fired since the kickoff of the new season. New Mexico terminated him Sunday, a day after his Lobos lost 48-45 in overtime to Sam Houston State of the lower-tier FCS to fall to 0-4 this year and 2-26 overall under the former Illinois offensive coordinator.

Who’s next to go? Who needs to start winning fast?

Making it onto this list is far from dandy if you’re a coach. These are the 12 coaches whose job status is most precarious.

1) Houston Nutt, Mississippi (1-3 in fourth season, 23-19 overall)

Nutt was greeted like a savior in Oxford after replacing Ed Oregeron, and took the team built by his predecessor to the Cotton Bowl each of his first two seasons. The Rebels are 5-11 since and Ole Miss fans are starting to wonder if it’s time to get rid of Nutt and the guy who hired him, Athletic Director Pete Boone.

2) Rick Neuheisel, UCLA (2-2 in fourth season, 17-24)

Neuheisel’s return to college coaching _ at his alma mater, no less _ began with lots of bold talk about taking Los Angeles back from the grips of rival USC. Instead, even with the Trojans trending down, the Bruins have managed just one minor bowl appearance. Another losing record would likely finish this homecoming.

3) Larry Porter, Memphis (1-3 in second season, 2-14)

Most coaches get more than two seasons to implement their programs, but Porter’s Tigers have been virtually noncompetitive. Under the former LSU assistant and Memphis player, the Tigers have been outscored 148-17 by FBS teams this season.

4) Mark Richt, Georgia (2-2 in 11th season, 98-36)

Coming off a losing season, and a lackluster one before that, many Bulldogs fans already were losing patience with Richt. Now an 0-2 start (albeit to Boise State and South Carolina) have turned up the heat. An eight- or nine-win season is still in Richt’s reach. Anything less might not be enough.

5) Neil Callaway, UAB (0-3 in fifth season, 15-36)

The former Georgia offensive coordinator under Richt has yet to do better than 5-7 since taking over in Birmingham. Unless the Blazers surge to the finish, this five-year plan will be complete.

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