Erickson and Stoops

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Mike Stoops isn’t alone any more.

The Arizona Wildcats football coach was fired on October 10. Since then we’ve been watching the rest of the Pac-12 to see if any other coaches would join him.

The hot seat proved to be especially cruel in 2011.

Arizona State fired Dennis Erickson on Monday. UCLA canned Rick Neuheisel the same day. Washington State’s Paul Wulff lasted until Tuesday.

For seven weeks we have been trying hard to keep these guys employed. Alas, the positive thinking from the Cheap Seats wasn’t enough.

Jeff Tedford at Cal and Oregon State’s Mike Riley survived. We weren’t even tracking Erickson at first but he came out of nowhere by losing to almost everyone else on the list.

The four coaching changes in a single season are the most in the Pac-12 since after the 2002 campaign. Interestingly enough, Neuheisel and Erickson were leaving then too.

Neuheisel was fired from Washington and replaced by Keith Gilbertson. Erickson left to go to the NFL (for the second time) so Oregon State hired Mike Riley (for the second time). Mike Price left Washington State to coach at Alabama (for about 27 seconds) and Bill Doba replaced him. UCLA fired Bob Toldeo and hired Karl Dorrell, the guy Neuheisel would eventually replace. It’s like the circle of life but with mediocre football coaches.

(The school with the best hire in the Pac-12 that year wasn’t even in the Pac-12 yet. Following the 2002 season Utah hired a guy named Urban Meyer.)

What does all this turnover mean for Arizona? First, it means the Wildcats are very happy to already have their guy locked up. But UA fans are still going to be paying close attention since two of the new coaches will represent 40% of the competition in the Pac-12 South.

If someone is going to make a home-run hire you want it to be WSU since they’re in the other division. The problem is the Cougars have the lowest national profile of the three openings. UCLA and ASU have been carrying the “sleeping giant” banner for years.

Arizona and Arizona State will both be starting a season with new coaches just 11 years after the last time it happened. Back then the Cats went retread (John Mackovic) then young (Stoops). The Devils went young (Dirk Koetter) then retread (Erickson). The four coaches produced a combined three bowl wins.

Wildcat Universe now hopes a young retread is the answer. As for the other three Pac-12 coaching searches?

If anyone needs some help we’ve got a list they can use.

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Scott Terrell failed in his quest to cool the hot seat. Do not look for career advice on Twitter and Facebook.