SEC Coaching Carousel Spinning Without Vanderbilt

Greg Arias

Three Southeastern Conference teams decided to part ways with their former coaches and turn their programs in a different direction at the end of their regular seasons.  

Arkansas and Ole Miss both made changes, firing Chad Morris and Matt Luke after both finished with losing records. Morris, in only his second season as top hog, failed to win a single conference game, going 0-16 and leading to his ouster.  

Missouri dismissed Barry Odum after a 6-6 season that included a mid-season loss to Vanderbilt when the Tigers were ranked in the Top-25. 

Only South Carolina and Vanderbilt finished with below .500 records and are not changing coaches, a decision that has the Commodore faithful trending on the angry side. 

Of the three conference schools with vacancies, all three have moved very quickly and appear to have landed their new coaches. 


Lane Kiffin, aka "Joey Freshwater" is back in the SEC for his second try as a head coach, having previously served as the Tennessee head coach for one season in 2009 before leaving Knoxville for his "dream job" as the head coach of the USC Trojans. 

Things didn't turn out well for Lane in SoCal, and after a stint as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban, Kiffin got another shot at the top spot for FAU where he made the most of it in rehabing both his private, and coaching images. 

Now heading to Oxford, a campus known for its coeds, what could possible go wrong for the Rebels with this hire? At least they don't have to worry about giving him the university credit card and wondering what he might be charging to it. 

Does anyone know if Joey owns a Harley? If so he should take a minute and call Bobby Petrino for advice on what not to do with his bike. 

Nov 10, 2018; Boca Raton, FL, USA; Florida Atlantic Owls head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during the first half against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at FAU Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Speaking of Petrino, that leads me to Fayetteville where the Hogs apparently have a new leader, tabbing former Georgia Bulldogs offensive line coach Sam Pittman as top hog for the Razorbacks. 

A familiar name in Fayetteville, Pittman's was the o-line coach for the Hogs from 2013-15 and his offensive line at both Arkansas and Georgia were among the best in the country under his direction. 

He also served as recruiting coordinator during his time at Arkansas and is considered a top notch recruiter. He is short on major college coaching experience, but has held the top spot in both the high school ranks and for two seasons at the junior college level. 

I can't tell if he owns a Harley, but if he can win at least one conference game, folks in that state will fall in love. 

Dec 7, 2019; Boone, NC, USA; Appalachian State Mountaineers head coach Eliah Drinkwitz loons on during the fourth quarter against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports


The Tigers struggled down the stretch and stumbled to a 6-6 mark, which ultimately led to the firing of Odum. 

Enter Eli Drinkwitz who led Appalachian State to a 12-1 record this season — his first season in Boone — including winning the Sun Belt Conference Championship Saturday over Louisiana-Lafayette.  

At only 36 years of age, Drikwitz brings youth to Columbia and hope that he can stack the Tigers roster with the type talent he had at App. State, which by the way finished the regular season in the top-25. 

Known as an offensive minded coach- from the Gus Malzahn tree- Drinkwitz will look to take the Tigers offense to new heights, but he will need to find a new starting quarterback, which will be the third new starter at the position in as many seasons. 

So there you have it, the new names who will be roaming the sidelines in the SEC for the first time as head coaches at their respective schools next season. 

Now that the carousel has spun and stopped, at least in the SEC. All that remains to be seen is ultimatly how these new hires work out for their respective schools. 

It also remains to be seen how things work out for Vanderbilt and Mason in the 2020 season. Who knows, Commodore fans may get to spin next season, but for now we know which 14 men will show up in Hoover for media days 2020.