Champaign, Where Football Coaching Careers Go To Die

Today’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) ‘Twas the season for coaching changes.

For a few schools, it still is. And for others, it still could be if the NFL ends up snatching their coveted football guru away from them.

During the past month or so, nearly 30 colleges across the country have swapped out the leaders of their pigskin programs. Most of the job openings have come about as a result of someone being fired. Others, however – such as Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Cincinnati – have emerged after coaches moved on to bigger and better jobs.

Or, at least, ones that pay them more money.

Badgers fans weren’t pleased, of course, to see Bret Bielema bolt Wisconsin’s Dairyland for Hog Heaven in Arkansas. Meanwhile, NIU and Cincy boosters were surely bummed as they watched Dave Doeren and Butch Jones leave for N.C. State and Tennessee, respectively. Nevertheless, as disappointing as those departures might have been for those schools, the fact that the coaches were in demand was a badge of honor, as well.

It meant their teams were successful.

But then there’s the University of Illinois, the sadsack program of the prairie whose last three head football coaches can now be found at Florida International University (Ron Turner), the University of Buffalo (Lou Tepper) and, well, the coaching unemployment line (Ron Zook).

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