The 5 Shortest College Football Coaching Tenures of All Time

College football attracts huge viewership in America. It also showcases the potential superstars of the future. With such wide-ranging viewership and high-quality action, competition for coaching spots is ferocious.

Today, we will look at the coaching tenures that have been the shortest in college football. Whether it is a few months or days, we will find the reasons behind their sharp exits.

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1 – Willie Taggart – Oregon

College football coach Willie Taggart starts off our list. When Taggart became manager of the Seminoles, there was some serious hysteria. The multimillion-dollar contract he signed in December 2016 was meant to signal that Oregon was in line to become a force in college football.

However, the initial promise was short-lived, following a disappointing league performance, which wasn’t helped by Taggart’s incredibly harsh training style. Their form was patchy.

Taggart has been accused of causing serious injury through his military-style training. Reports from this period stated many players had vomited or collapsed during these training sessions.

A lawsuit is now underway from a former player who suffered serious injuries during these notoriously difficult training sessions. Once the dominos began to fall, Taggart left his role as head coach within a year, and Oregon supporters and players breathed a sigh of relief.

2 – Todd Graham – Pittsburgh

Another tenure that lasted for less than a year, Graham’s short-lived reign as Pittsburgh’s head coach back in 2011 didn’t exactly set the world alight. Graham wasn’t their first-choice coach, and following serious friction with the board, he left for Arizona State just before Christmas in 2011.

Despite landing his dream job, Graham quickly learned that all that glitters isn’t gold. However, when he moved onto new pastures and took a job at Arizona State in 2012, he stayed there much longer and coached the team through a winning season.

Achieving a far more positive result in Arizona, there was no doubting the credentials of Graham. Pittsburgh simply wasn’t the right fit, and the appointment occurred at the wrong time. His swift entrance and exit highlighted that quite clearly.

3 – Mike Price – Alabama

Going back over two decades, Price won’t be too happy with us unearthing his fleeting cameo as Alabama’s head coach. Price was initially hired from Washington State the week before Christmas in 2002.

After spending four months in charge of Alabama, he was dismissed for an incident involving questionable personal conduct.

Although Price has always argued that the punishment did not fit the crime, he was relieved of his duties less than five months into his career as Alabama’s head coach. Mike Shula came in to take his place as head coach and steady the ship.

4 – Michael Haywood – Pittsburgh

Moving into the final two coaches, Haywood’s fate was similar to Mike Price’s in that his tenure came to a premature end following issues off the field.

Although released on a bond following an incident on New Year’s Eve 2010, the higher echelons in the Pittsburgh setup had seen enough and decided to part ways with Haywood.

Haywood is the second Pittsburgh coach who has found himself on our list today. Any belief of a curse striking down the Panthers was put to bed last season when Pat Narduzzi led them to the pinnacle of college football when they became conference champions.

5 – George O’Leary – Notre Dame

The shortest college coaching tenure of them all goes to George O’Leary. This unwanted moniker is the shortest tenure across all college sports. Whether basketball or football, O’Leary takes the crown quite some distance. Many analysts describe it as a cameo instead of a tenure.

His tenure began on December 11th, 2001 and by December 15th, he was no longer the head coach at Notre Dame. Following a bizarre string of lies where he fabricated his higher qualifications, he was relieved of his duties by Notre Dame and was left red-faced.

He was caught out after taking part in an interview which led to officials approaching him and asking him about the fictitious master’s degree he claimed to have earned.

Over 21 years since this bizarre incident, no college football tenure has come close to challenging this short-lived period.


Although some of these tenures ended due to poor results on the field and highly intensive and questionable training methods, most of the coaches we have discussed today shot themselves in the foot with their off-field antics.

Who knows if these coaches would have gone on to achieve big things for these football teams? Some of the coaches on this list, such as Todd Graham, proved themselves highly competent in the competitive world of college football coaching.

Our list today exclusively focused on college football tenures. Although there have been some short-lived careers in other college sports, such as basketball, college football combines the most notable and the shortest.