Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley says recent uptick in midseason coaching changes 'not good for our game'

On Tuesday, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley lamented the loss of Big 12 coaches Gary Patterson and Matt Wells. He said that the timing was not right for college football.
Texas Tech fired Wells on Oct. 25, despite a 5-3 record. Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director, said that a change was inevitable by the season's end. Patterson's time at TCU was over after more than 20 years as Horned Frogs coach. AD Jeremiah Donati stated that he offered Patterson the chance to stay coach until the end of the season but he declined.

Riley spoke, his voice trailing off, saying, "To see two men out in midseason as that, one has a winning record, and one is undoubtedly, the greatest coach in school history." "Seeing Gary Patterson leave in the middle is just -- I don’t know what to make of it, man. To be honest, I was sick when the news came out. It's hard work. We are big boys who can make big-boy decisions and our jobs are closely scrutinized. It's amazing to me what he did there and how he didn't finish the year.

Patterson was 181-79 at TCU. He was second in tenure among active FBS head coaches, behind only Iowa's Kirk Ferentz who took over in 1999. Between 2012-17, the Horned Frogs were 51-27. However, they were only 21-22 since 2018.

"We might have to look at something perhaps like the pros do or something similar that really draws some clear lines on when firings can occur and when they cannot. Gary Patterson failing to finish a season at the place he built? That's just wrong.

Riley stated that he understood administrators would have to be aware of the fact that they could get ahead of December's early signing period. He said it was only one signing class, as opposed to a long-term coach decision. He also believes that the rush for midseason coaching changes is bad.

He said, "It's bad for our game, and not good for the league." "I hope we can come up with a better solution. I fear it will become the norm. If you are wondering why, it is because everyone is afraid they will miss out on the people they want to hire.

Donati, TCU's AD, admitted Tuesday that the TCU AD made the change immediately due to the recruiting calendar and the desire to hire Patterson’s replacement before December 15th signing period.

USC fired Clay Helton, while LSU announced that Ed Orgeron will not return to LSU in 2022. This has led schools to compete for the best candidates for the Texas positions.

TCU and Texas Tech both stated they are looking for similar candidates, particularly a Texas-based coach. SMU coach Sonny Dykes is 8-1. He grew up playing baseball in Lubbock for his father, Spike Red Raiders', and later as Mike Leach's assistant. After being fired from Cal, he was also an analyst at TCU one season.

Jeff Traylor of UTSA, a former Texas high school coach who is now a prime candidate for both schools and a $28million extension with the Roadrunners. The deal includes a $7.5M buyout.

Riley stated that Riley may need to consider something similar to what the pros do or something that draws some clear lines about when firings can and cannot occur. "Gary Patterson not finishing his season at the place he built?" That's not right.