After an inexplicable loss to Jacksonville State Saturday night, here are five realistic candidates to replace Mike Norvell as Florida State football coach.
On Saturday night, the Florida State Seminoles felt like a shoo-in to beat Jacksonville State after ralling to give Notre Dame a test in their season opener. What came was a tight game, and loss on a Hail Mary. It was the program’s first ever loss to an FCS program, which head coach Mike Norvell called “totally unacceptable” as he offered a fireable excuse.
The Seminoles went 3-6 in Norvell’s first season as coach last year, their third straight losing season. At 0-2 now, things are already trending toward a fourth straight losing campaign. The glory days of the program are becoming harder to remember, and frankly even a 10-win season like 2016 (Jimbo Fisher’s second-to-last as head coach) feels far away.
A program like Florida State can become a victim of high expectations that are no longer realistic. But this side of Clemson, who they share a division with, the ACC is not a great conference and winning 8-10 games every year shouldn’t be too tall a task.
Norvell is in the second year of a six-year contract he signed when he was hired away from Memphis. His buyout would be 85 percent of his remaining base salary if he is fired. After this season, that would be roughly $15.2 million.
Norvell is now firmly on the hot seat, and barring a turnaround over the final 10 games he’s in line to follow Willie Taggart as a two-and-done as Seminoles head coach.
Florida State football: 5 candidates to replace Mike Norvell
5. Mike Neu, Ball State head coach
After an admission they failed to find the right guy if the fire Norvell, Florida State may be hesitant to tap back into the Group of 5. But Neu has turned things around nicely at Ball State, if not slowly but surely, from 2-10 in his second season (2017)–and no more than five wins in any of his first four seasons–to a 7-1 mark and a MAC title last year.
After being a coach in the Arena Football League, Neu spent two seasons as the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach (2014-2015) before taking the job at Ball State. His climb started at the lower levels, and the next step on his coaching ladder looks to be a Power 5 job. If they embark on a head coaching search, Florida State would do well to have Neu on their list of candidates.