There's a tipping point for each college football hot seat coach. For Tyson Summers and Georgia Southern, it was a 35-point demolition at UMass, one of the worst teams in the nation.
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Summers was fired just hours after the loss, ending his first head coaching job after just 18 games. And though athletics director Tom Kleinlein praised the 37-year-old Georgia native for his off-the-field work, the administration clearly couldn't see past staggering on-field regression.
"I thank Tyson and his family for their contributions to Georgia Southern," Kleinlein said. "Being the leader of a college football program is more than just coaching games; it's managing academics and leading 120 young men. Tyson did a great job in areas that the public doesn't see, but at the end of the day, the results on the field weren't where we needed them to be as we continue our growth as an FBS program. I wish he and his family all the best moving forward in their future endeavors."
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Who might the Eagles target for the second head coaching search in the last two years? Here are some ideas.
Current Position: Head Coach – Kennesaw State
A former Paul Johnson assistant and the favorite to replace Summers at Georgia Southern, Brian Bohannon is in his fifth season at Kennesaw State, his first head coaching job.
A Georgia native who played receiver for the Bulldogs, he has spent 17 of his 24-year coaching career in the state, including four years at Georgia Southern. He worked under Johnson for 16 seasons at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech before leaving in 2013.
The 46-year-old has led the Owls to a 6-1 mark this season.
Current Position: Offensive Line Coach and Run Game Coordinator – Navy
Hat tip to Bruce Feldman for the Ashley Ingram nomination.
Ingram arrived at Navy in 2007, hired by Paul Johnson from Bucknell, where was offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for two seasons. Johnson left for Georgia Tech after the season but Ingram remained on the staff of Ken Niumatalolo, who was promoted from assistant to head coach.
Ingram is a the Midshipmen's primary recruiter and has done a masterful job of identifying players to fit their triple-option system, something Johnson ran to perfect at Georgia Southern from 1997-2001.
Current Position: Head Coach – Sam Houston State
Could Georgia Southern hire another coach from Sam Houston State? It worked three years ago.
The Eagles hit the jackpot on Willie Fritz when the longtime lower-division coach led their transition to the FBS in 2014 and 2015 before leaving for Tulane. Keeler, a Northeasterner, surprisingly took the Bearkats' job and has thrived. The 58-year-old went 36-10 in his first three seasons, which included two FCS semifinal berths, and is 6-1 this year.
Hiring the then-35-year-old Summers did not work. Might they wish for a seasoned veteran with a similar background to Fritz's?
Current Position: Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach – Tulane
Tulane ranked 123rd and 113th in scoring offense in 2014 and 2015, respectively. They improved to 104th in 2016 and now rank 64th this season. Head coach Willie Fritz deserves loads of credit for turning around a tired program, but so does his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Ruse.
He's been with Fritz since 2012, when he had the same job at Sam Houston State. The pair made magic together at Georgia Southern thanks to impressive player development and near-flawless playcalling.
Current Position: Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach – Arizona State
This is the wild card.
Another Georgia native Billy Napier is in his first season as Todd Graham's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He spent the previous five years as Alabama (where he was a candidate to replace offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian) receivers coach and also has stops at Clemson, Colorado State and South Carolina State.
The former youngest coordinator in the country (29 years old at Clemson in 2009), Napier has strong ties in the southeast and while he's another young hire, he has more notable experience than Summers.