The biggest SEC coaching turnover since 2004

(H-L photo/Mark Cornelison)

Joker Phillips got the ax at Kentucky. Gene Chizik was pink-slipped at Auburn. Derek Dooley got the ziggy at Tennessee. John L. Smith was asked to leave at Arkansas. So a reader asked when was the last time the SEC had so many coaching changes in the season.

The answer is 2004. After that season, Florida fired Ron Zook, Ole Miss fired David Cutcliffe, South Carolina’s Lou Holtz retired and LSU’s Nick Saban left for the NFL. In 2005, Urban Meyer was the new head coach at Florida, Ed Orgeron was at Ole Miss, Steve Spurrier at South Carolina and Les Miles at LSU. Just two of those four coaches are still at those schools.

Here’s a look at SEC coaching exits since the league expanded in 1992.

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  1. jbcarol says:

    Robbie Caldwell coached Vandy in 2010. He claimed he was lining the practice field when he was called in to be informed he was replacing Bobby Johnson. He was a hit at the SEC Media Days. He did not have as much success on the field.

  2. John Clay says:

    That’s right. I didn’t list interim coaches, except for John L. Smith this year.

  3. Dini says:

    A caveat to this is that it is rarely in the best interests of the coach to resign. They all have contracts that have to be bought out giving them lots of money for being terminated. Not that I would do different given the circumstances. Ride the gravy train.

  4. jbcarol says:


    It is a technicality for certain. Vandy removed Coach Caldwell’s “interim” tag after he killed at the SEC Media Days:

    “Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams announced the decision at the Rotary Club of Nashville’s meeting on Monday at the Wild Horse Saloon, where Caldwell was a guest speaker.”

    Link to AP article at the time: