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Colleges clean house on busy Sunday

The Associated Press

BOSTON — Boston College fired coach Steve Addazio after seven seasons in which the Eagles never surpassed seven wins.

Wide receivers coach Rich Gunnell will serve as interim coach, athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement on Sunday afternoon, a day after BC beat Pittsburgh to achieve bowl eligibility for the sixth time in seven years under Addazio.

“He inherited a program that had a down stretch and led us to six bowl games while recruiting high-character student-athletes that represented BC the right way,” Jarmond said. “Our student-athletes have been pillars of the community and in the classroom and that’s a credit to Steve and his staff.”

Addazio was 44-44 since taking over in 2013, earning a bowl-qualifying sixth win with the 26-19 victory over Pittsburgh. The 60-year-old coach spent much of his postgame news conference talking about the program’s future, insisting, “It’s not about me.”

“All I cared about was getting this team to six wins and getting another month with them. And then watching what I watched,” he said after celebrating with his players in the locker room. “That was the greatest gift that I got. You want to talk about me? That was a great gift.”

Addazio lamented the loss of quarterback Anthony Brown and linebackers John Lamont and Isaiah McDuffie, and spoke — in a familiar theme for him over the years — about the program’s youth. The Eagles have 62 players who are redshirt sophomores or younger.

“You know what I’m excited about? I’ve got a really good football team,” he said. “We’ve got most everybody coming back. This is going to be one hell of a football team moving forward. And we’ve got another month to tweak it and turn it and coach it and develop it. That is so exciting. I think this can be something special.”

Asked if he thought he was safe for another season, Addazio said, “It’s not about me. I’m fine.”

“I care about being with our guys. That’s the most important thing there is,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about them.”

The firing was first reported by Yahoo.com.

Addazio had worked as an assistant at Notre Dame and with the Florida teams that won the national championships in 2006 and 2008 before getting his first head coaching job at Temple in 2011. He stuck around just two years, leading the Owls to 9-4 and 4-7 records, before taking over a 2-10 team in Chestnut Hill

Elsewhere:

n Texas coach Tom Herman shook up his staff Sunday, firing defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and demoting offensive coordinator Tim Beck after the Longhorns struggled to a disappointing 7-5 record in a season they were expected to contend for the Big 12 championship.

The Longhorns began the season ranked in the Top 10 but are now unranked as they await their bowl destination after losing three of their last five games.

Also dismissed was wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Drew Mehringer. Inside receivers coach Corby Meekins will no longer coach but will stay in the program in an administrative role.

Beck will stay on as quarterbacks coach through the bowl game, but his status beyond that was unclear.

Herman said he was “very disappointed” in the season and said that 7-5 “will never be our standard at Texas.”

“I take full responsibility for any and all of our shortcomings and know we need to do a better job coaching across the board,” Herman said. “With that said, I do believe the future is very bright.”

Staff changes were expected. Herman said last week the program was in “full evaluation” mode and signaled several assistants could be let go.

Much was expected of Texas this season after a 10-4 finish in 2018 that included a dominant victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Texas started 4-1 with its only defeat a 42-38 home loss to No. 1 LSU. But the defense struggled early and was badly exposed against LSU and in losses to Oklahoma and TCU. The Longhorns also barely escaped a major upset with a 50-48 win over Kansas.

n Mississippi fired football coach Matt Luke, three days after his third non-winning season ended with an excruciating rivalry game loss, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school had not yet made an official announcement. Luke, a former Ole Miss offensive lineman, was elevated to interim head coach about two weeks before preseason practice started in 2017 when Mississippi fired Hugh Freeze.

Luke guided the Rebels, who were already banned from the postseason by the NCAA, to a 6-6 record that helped him land a four-year deal through 2021. With the program facing another bowl ban in 2018 and other NCAA sanctions, Luke and the Rebels went 5-7.

Ole Miss finished this season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Southeastern Conference, including a 21-20 loss on Thanksgiving night to Mississippi State.

The 43-year-old Luke is the third Southeastern Conference coach to get fired this season, joining Arkansas’ Chad Morris and Missouri’s Barry Odom, and the fourth head coach around the country to lose his job Sunday.

n South Florida fired coach Charlie Strong on Sunday after three seasons in which the Bulls won fewer games each year.

USF made the move two days after finishing a 4-8 season with a blowout loss to rival UCF. That left Strong 21-16 overall but 4-14 since starting the 2018 season with seven straight victories.

The former Texas and Louisville coach was hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart after the 2016 season. Strong led the Bulls to a 10-2 record in that first year in Tampa behind star quarterback Quinton Flowers. After starting 7-0 in 2018, the Bulls ended the season with six straight losses, and this season has been filled with lopsided losses.

The 59-year-old Strong, who was a longtime defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference with plenty of recruiting ties to the state of Florida, is 74-53 overall in 10 seasons as a head coach.

n UTSA has fired football coach Frank Wilson after four seasons that produced a bowl appearance in year one and diminishing results afterward.

Wilson went 19-29 at Texas-San Antonio, including 13-19 in Conference USA play. The Roadrunners completed a 4-8 season on Saturday with a loss to Louisiana Tech. Wilson was longtime assistant in the Southeastern Conference, having spent time with Ed Orgeron at both Mississippi and LSU, when he was hired by UTSA in 2016. The 9-year-old Division I program went 6-7 in 2016, reaching the postseason for the first time and losing the New Mexico Bowl to the University of New Mexico. The Roadrunners went 6-5 the next season, getting left out of the postseason with a 3-5 conference record, and then 7-17 the last two years.

n Arizona State offensive coordinator Rob Likens will not return next season. Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards announced the decision on Sunday, a day after Arizona State beat rival Arizona 24-14 to finish the season at 7-5. Edwards said receivers coach Charlie Fisher and tight ends coach Donnie Yantis also will not be back. He said the moves were based on offensive philosophy and not wins and losses.

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