College Football

NCAA News: Christmas Week Coaching Vacancies Filled

The last two weeks of the calendar year are generally slow for most businesses, but not for the business of sports, and especially not for football. You could argue it's the busiest time of the year considering all the hirings and firings in both professional and collegiate football.

The NFL's "Black Monday" won't come until the New Year (the regular season ends on Jan. 3). However, we've already witnessed the dismissals of Dan Quinn, Bill O'Brien, and Matt Patricia in Atlanta, Houston, and Detroit, respectively. The general managers of those clubs were also let go, joined on the unemployment line recently by Dave Caldwell from Jacksonville and Marty Hurney in Carolina.

There have been plenty of openings in the college ranks as well, though that total has diminished just this week. We've already seen Shane Beamer take over for Will Muschamp at South Carolina and Bret Bielema return to the Big Ten, replacing Lovie Smith at Illinois.

Let's take a look at three of the more high-profile vacancies that were filled leading up to the holidays.

Jedd Fisch - Arizona

Kevin Sumlin was fired a day after Arizona was embarrassed by in-state rival Arizona State earlier this month, and less than two weeks later, the school has found his successor. Jedd Fisch spent this season as the New England Patriots' quarterbacks coach following stints with the Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars and the UCLA program.

The 44-year-old will be tasked with snapping a school-record 12-game losing streak that dates back to last season.

"I am honored and humbled to lead the University of Arizona football program," Fisch said in a statement. "I am 100% committed to building a program that all Wildcat fans will be proud to support. We will study hard, compete hard, recruit hard and be relentless in all aspects of our program."

Terry Bowden - Louisiana-Monroe

Terry Bowden, the son of Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden, replaces Matt Viator after Viator compiled a 19-39 record during his tenure that included an 0-10 start this season. The 64-year-old Bowden has been the head coach at Auburn, Akron and North Alabama, with a career coaching record of 175-114-2.

He has spent the last two years as a graduate assistant with Clemson.

"We're extremely excited to welcome Terry Bowden to our Warhawk family as head football coach," athletic director Scott McDonald said in a statement. "He brings a winning pedigree to our program. He has won at all levels of college football, beginning as the youngest head coach in the country in his first job at Salem College, and continued that through his tenure at Samford and Auburn, where he consistently competed for SEC Championships."

Bryan Harsin - Auburn

Gus Malzahn's departure created the most coveted vacancy this year in college football, or at least the one that will apply the most immediate pressure. The school announced on Tuesday night that that honor will be bestowed upon Bryan Harsin.

Harsin leaves his post as the head coach of Boise State after seven seasons and three Mountain West championships. Ironically, Harsin also replaced Malzahn in 2013 at Arkansas State.

Boise State opted not to play in a bowl game this year, while Auburn is preparing for the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Northwestern on New Year's Day.

College Football