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Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
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UCGrad1992 Offline
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Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
Great article from Down The Drive web site with some good historical perspective on first year coaching success...

Quote:As we get ready for Luke Fickell’s first season as head coach of the Bearcats, we look at a few other first year head coaches in program history.

In the last 20 years, the Cincinnati Bearcats have welcomed in four new head coaches, with Rick Minter a holdover after taking over in 1994. This year, they will welcome a fifth in Luke Fickell. Expectations are already bloated for Fickell, even as he takes over a roster that managed just a 4-8 record last season while ranking second to last in the American Athletic Conference in scoring offense. That’s not the type of cupboard that the last four head coaches have walked into, but there are still some lessons to be learned from looking at their first years at the helm. Let’s run through them.

Mark Dantonio
First year: 2004

Predecessor: Rick Minter

Win differential: +2

Minter coached at UC for a lot longer than most would have liked, even if he did make three-straight bowl games from 2000 to 2002. Looking back, UC fans may wish Dantonio coached longer than he did considering his success at Michigan State. Dantonio did a solid job in his first season at UC, even if he didn’t stick.

After a middling 5-7 mark in 2003, Dantonio pushed the Bearcts back to the postseason, winning seven games as a first-year head coach. Those victories included an upset of then No. 21 SMU and a 32-14 triumph over Marshall in the Forth Worth Bowl.

Dantonio has gone on to be a defensive wizard at Michigan State, but in that first season he led a pretty nice offense. He guided Gino Guidugli during his breakout season and also featured skill players like Hannibal Thomas and Richard Hall, doing more with them than Minter, who brought each player to the team.

Brian Kelly
First year:
2007

Predecessor: Mark Dantonio

Win differential: +3

That +3 up there is based on a technicality. Kelly was brought on as the head coach after Dantonio left for Michigan State before the Bearcats played in the 2006 Independence Bowl. UC won that bowl game against Western Michigan, earning Kelly, the former head coach at Central Michigan, his first win as the head man for the red and black.

In his first full year as head coach, Kelly kept the wins rolling, piling up 10 and leading UC to its first AP ranking since 1976. He also led the way to the Bearcats’ second-straight bowl win in his first year coaching them. Now that is impressive and mildly confusing to read.

Kelly would continue doing great things for the Bearcats, increasing the team’s win total in each of the next two years, including the magical 2009 season when UC went 12-0 in the regular season, won the Big East championship and reached its highest AP ranking in program history (No. 4). Of course, Kelly and UC didn’t part ways all that well, with Kelly taking the job at Notre Dame and declining to coach the team in the Sugar Bowl, where the Bearcats were pounded 51-24 by Florida.

Butch Jones
First year:
2010

Predecessor: Brian Kelly

Win differential: -4

UC went back to the Central Michigan well to pluck Jones. Unlike Kelly, Jones did not coach until his actual first full year. What a cavalier approach. Unfortunately, Jones did not have success in common with Kelly, at least in the first year. Fresh off the best season in school history, the Bearcats went just 4-8 in Jones’ first season. That poor record came despite a No. 1 ranking in scoring and total offense for the Bearcats in the Big East.

Jones did have something else in common with Kelly besides the fact that both came from CMU. They both left UC after three seasons, as Jones went on to take the head gig at Tennessee after rebounding to win back-to-back bowl games in his final two seasons with the Bearcats.

[He Who Shall Not Be Named]

First year: 2013

Predecessor: Butch Jones

Win differential: -1

We all know how it ended but it didn’t start so badly. Granted, [HWSNBN] left Texas Tech in a less than ideal way and took over a roster mainly built by Jones, but he guided UC to another strong season in his first year on campus. Powered by the defensive magic of Greg Blair, Nick Temple and Silverberry Mouhon, the Bearcats won nine games for the third-straight season and fifth time in six years before bowing out 39-17 to North Carolina in the Belk Bowl.

Unlike the other guys on this list, [HWSNBN] did not lift or even keep things steady, as the Bearcats went 9-4, 7-6 and finally an uninspiring 4-8 before he was going to be fired resigned.

CLF
I’m expecting a small turnaround for Fickell in his first season, even if its just a one-win improvement. That will be enough to count it as a success, especially if he is building a foundation like Kelly and Jones rather than a house of sand like [HWSNBN]. That’s the measuring stick that will ultimately matter, but for his first season, these are the seasons that Fickell’s first will be compared to.

First Year Success
 
(This post was last modified: 07-15-2017 12:30 PM by UCGrad1992.)
07-15-2017 12:22 PM
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rosewater Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-15-2017 12:22 PM)UCGrad1992 Wrote:  Great article from Down The Drive web site with some good historical perspective on first year coaching success...

Quote:As we get ready for Luke Fickell’s first season as head coach of the Bearcats, we look at a few other first year head coaches in program history.

In the last 20 years, the Cincinnati Bearcats have welcomed in four new head coaches, with Rick Minter a holdover after taking over in 1994. This year, they will welcome a fifth in Luke Fickell. Expectations are already bloated for Fickell, even as he takes over a roster that managed just a 4-8 record last season while ranking second to last in the American Athletic Conference in scoring offense. That’s not the type of cupboard that the last four head coaches have walked into, but there are still some lessons to be learned from looking at their first years at the helm. Let’s run through them.

Mark Dantonio
First year: 2004

Predecessor: Rick Minter

Win differential: +2

Minter coached at UC for a lot longer than most would have liked, even if he did make three-straight bowl games from 2000 to 2002. Looking back, UC fans may wish Dantonio coached longer than he did considering his success at Michigan State. Dantonio did a solid job in his first season at UC, even if he didn’t stick.

After a middling 5-7 mark in 2003, Dantonio pushed the Bearcts back to the postseason, winning seven games as a first-year head coach. Those victories included an upset of then No. 21 SMU and a 32-14 triumph over Marshall in the Forth Worth Bowl.

Dantonio has gone on to be a defensive wizard at Michigan State, but in that first season he led a pretty nice offense. He guided Gino Guidugli during his breakout season and also featured skill players like Hannibal Thomas and Richard Hall, doing more with them than Minter, who brought each player to the team.

Brian Kelly
First year:
2007

Predecessor: Mark Dantonio

Win differential: +3

That +3 up there is based on a technicality. Kelly was brought on as the head coach after Dantonio left for Michigan State before the Bearcats played in the 2006 Independence Bowl. UC won that bowl game against Western Michigan, earning Kelly, the former head coach at Central Michigan, his first win as the head man for the red and black.

In his first full year as head coach, Kelly kept the wins rolling, piling up 10 and leading UC to its first AP ranking since 1976. He also led the way to the Bearcats’ second-straight bowl win in his first year coaching them. Now that is impressive and mildly confusing to read.

Kelly would continue doing great things for the Bearcats, increasing the team’s win total in each of the next two years, including the magical 2009 season when UC went 12-0 in the regular season, won the Big East championship and reached its highest AP ranking in program history (No. 4). Of course, Kelly and UC didn’t part ways all that well, with Kelly taking the job at Notre Dame and declining to coach the team in the Sugar Bowl, where the Bearcats were pounded 51-24 by Florida.

Butch Jones
First year:
2010

Predecessor: Brian Kelly

Win differential: -4

UC went back to the Central Michigan well to pluck Jones. Unlike Kelly, Jones did not coach until his actual first full year. What a cavalier approach. Unfortunately, Jones did not have success in common with Kelly, at least in the first year. Fresh off the best season in school history, the Bearcats went just 4-8 in Jones’ first season. That poor record came despite a No. 1 ranking in scoring and total offense for the Bearcats in the Big East.

Jones did have something else in common with Kelly besides the fact that both came from CMU. They both left UC after three seasons, as Jones went on to take the head gig at Tennessee after rebounding to win back-to-back bowl games in his final two seasons with the Bearcats.

[He Who Shall Not Be Named]

First year: 2013

Predecessor: Butch Jones

Win differential: -1

We all know how it ended but it didn’t start so badly. Granted, [HWSNBN] left Texas Tech in a less than ideal way and took over a roster mainly built by Jones, but he guided UC to another strong season in his first year on campus. Powered by the defensive magic of Greg Blair, Nick Temple and Silverberry Mouhon, the Bearcats won nine games for the third-straight season and fifth time in six years before bowing out 39-17 to North Carolina in the Belk Bowl.

Unlike the other guys on this list, [HWSNBN] did not lift or even keep things steady, as the Bearcats went 9-4, 7-6 and finally an uninspiring 4-8 before he was going to be fired resigned.

CLF
I’m expecting a small turnaround for Fickell in his first season, even if its just a one-win improvement. That will be enough to count it as a success, especially if he is building a foundation like Kelly and Jones rather than a house of sand like [HWSNBN]. That’s the measuring stick that will ultimately matter, but for his first season, these are the seasons that Fickell’s first will be compared to.

First Year Success

I think that Clf will have a carbon copy of Butch Jones first year. It is my belief that the two have similar strengths and weakness. I will be surprised if Clf is a strong x and os type of coach right out of the blocks. There seems to be a soft roster at this point in Bearcat football. Both recruit at an above typical clip. In a couple of years, I could see us back in the top 25. The article is far to kind to ctt. He had a loaded roster from the prior year and lost games to Illinois and USF and the blowout bowlcation loss.
 
07-15-2017 01:32 PM
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UCGrad1992 Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-15-2017 01:32 PM)rosewater Wrote:  I think that Clf will have a carbon copy of Butch Jones first year. It is my belief that the two have similar strengths and weakness. I will be surprised if Clf is a strong x and os type of coach right out of the blocks. There seems to be a soft roster at this point in Bearcat football. Both recruit at an above typical clip. In a couple of years, I could see us back in the top 25. The article is far to kind to ctt. He had a loaded roster from the prior year and lost games to Illinois and USF and the blowout bowlcation loss.

Just curious rose, the article predicted a slight improvement for CLF - maybe only one win above the 4 wins from last season. Do you feel he will repeat at 4-8?
 
07-15-2017 01:44 PM
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BearcatJerry Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
Minter left a senior-laden squad that was primed to win in Dantonio's first year, but then slid in year two.

Dantonio left the cupboard full for Kelly.

Kelly left the program decimated for Jones' first year, but Jones did pick it back up.

Jones left the program pretty solid for the other guy, who under-utilized what was here.

My hope is that the other guy at least left the cupboard with some decent stuff... I do expect a good year with a bowl for year one of Fickell.
 
07-15-2017 05:28 PM
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rosewater Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-15-2017 01:44 PM)UCGrad1992 Wrote:  
(07-15-2017 01:32 PM)rosewater Wrote:  I think that Clf will have a carbon copy of Butch Jones first year. It is my belief that the two have similar strengths and weakness. I will be surprised if Clf is a strong x and os type of coach right out of the blocks. There seems to be a soft roster at this point in Bearcat football. Both recruit at an above typical clip. In a couple of years, I could see us back in the top 25. The article is far to kind to ctt. He had a loaded roster from the prior year and lost games to Illinois and USF and the blowout bowlcation loss.

Just curious rose, the article predicted a slight improvement for CLF - maybe only one win above the 4 wins from last season. Do you feel he will repeat at 4-8?

I think the only sure thing is Austin Peay. We have UConn at home and maybe Miami on the road probable. Miami grew up considerably over the course of last year. Ecu away and Temple/UCF/Tulane at home are 50/50 games. Do not like the odds with SMU, Michigan, USF, Navy. It looks like 4-8 or 5-9 from my perspective. I think the article is right on.
 
(This post was last modified: 07-15-2017 05:34 PM by rosewater.)
07-15-2017 05:33 PM
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UCGrad1992 Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-15-2017 05:28 PM)BearcatJerry Wrote:  Minter left a senior-laden squad that was primed to win in Dantonio's first year, but then slid in year two.

Dantonio left the cupboard full for Kelly.

Kelly left the program decimated for Jones' first year, but Jones did pick it back up.

Jones left the program pretty solid for the other guy, who under-utilized what was here.

My hope is that the other guy at least left the cupboard with some decent stuff... I do expect a good year with a bowl for year one of Fickell.

Your last point is where I'm standing for now. That is based mainly on the upgrade in regime change and there remains enough in the cupboard to be coached up and motivated to perform better. You only need 6 wins to become bowl eligible so CLF could achieve a +2 win differential from last year to get there.
 
07-15-2017 06:05 PM
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QSECOFR Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
I spoke to a Bearcat assistant coach last week. One of the questions I posed was, "What will be the biggest difference this year from last year?" He simply replied "Attitude!" I like that.
 
07-16-2017 10:30 AM
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-15-2017 05:28 PM)BearcatJerry Wrote:  Minter left a senior-laden squad that was primed to win in Dantonio's first year, but then slid in year two.

Dantonio left the cupboard full for Kelly.

Kelly left the program decimated for Jones' first year, but Jones did pick it back up.

Jones left the program pretty solid for the other guy, who under-utilized what was here.

My hope is that the other guy at least left the cupboard with some decent stuff... I do expect a good year with a bowl for year one of Fickell.

Bigger issue in 2010 was attitude. We played with the same guys the following year and went 10-3. If not for a Collaros injury they would have won a couple more
 
07-16-2017 11:19 AM
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UCGrad1992 Offline
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-16-2017 10:30 AM)QSECOFR Wrote:  I spoke to a Bearcat assistant coach last week. One of the questions I posed was, "What will be the biggest difference this year from last year?" He simply replied "Attitude!" I like that.

Yep. Last year the team was flaccid like its coach. This year, if we get punched in the mouth, we're going to punch back.
 
07-16-2017 05:59 PM
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RE: Recent History of Bearcats Football Coaches' First Year
(07-16-2017 05:59 PM)UCGrad1992 Wrote:  
(07-16-2017 10:30 AM)QSECOFR Wrote:  I spoke to a Bearcat assistant coach last week. One of the questions I posed was, "What will be the biggest difference this year from last year?" He simply replied "Attitude!" I like that.

Yep. Last year the team was flaccid like its coach. This year, if we get punched in the mouth, we're going to punch back.

If this team takes on the head coaches personality I think we will be throwing the first punches.
 
07-16-2017 08:09 PM
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