- Troy University has announced the firing of head football coach Chip Lindsey.
- Lindsay is 15-19 in his three seasons at the helm of the Trojans’ football team.
- He was previously the offensive coordinator at Auburn.
Not a good weekend to be a head coach no matter the sport or where in the world it might be played. Internationally, the biggest of these dismissals hasn’t even made a blip in the US media as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is out as the manager of English Premier League side Manchester United. Outside of North America, this is almost certainly the biggest sports story in the world this weekend. College football powerhouse Florida fired head coach Dan Mullen and in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings parted ways with head coach Luke Walton. You can now add Chip Lindsey to the list–he was fired as the head football coach of Troy University after three seasons on the job.
Troy University–known as ‘Troy State’ until joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2004 were somewhere between ‘halfway decent’ and ‘mediocre’ for most of the past 20 years. That changed in the four year run of Neal Brown as head coach. Following a 4-8 season in 2015, Brown led the Trojans to their most successful run in school history with records of 10-3 in 2016, 11-2 in 2017 and 10-3 in 2018. As typically happens when a young coach enjoys success at a lower tier school the ‘big boys’ come calling. Following the 2018 season, Brown accepted the job as head football coach at the University of West Virginia. That opened the door for Lindsey to get his first head coaching job at the college level.
Lindsay didn’t exactly trip and stumble through that open door but he didn’t exactly set college coaching on fire. He began his coaching career at the high school level where he put up a solid record of 50-21 at three schools. He took over as Troy University’s QB coach in 2010 before heading to Spain Park High School for a couple of seasons. He would return to college coaching the following year in several roles–most significantly as the offensive coordinator for Southern Miss, Arizona State and Auburn. In theory, his predecessor Neal Brown left the program in good shape and Lindsay took over coming off a 10-3 season–and promptly went 5-7 in 2019. He followed that with a 5-6 record in 2020 and showing remarkable consistency leaves the school with a 5-6 record in 2021. Defensive coordinator Brandon Hall was named interim head coach and will lead the team in the season finale against Georgia State next weekend.
The last straw was apparently a blowout loss at home to powerful Appalachian State. Troy held a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and trailed only 10-7 at halftime. That didn’t matter as the Mountaineers rolled up 35 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 45-7 lead that clinched the Sun Belt East title. The Trojans were competitive most of the time throughout the season, even against superior competition. They’re now coming off a pair of double digit home losses and that’s never good for a head coach’s longevity.
Following the announcement of his firing, Lindsay released this statement:
“Ultimately, we fell short of our goal of producing a championship-winning team. I am grateful to the administration at Troy for giving me this opportunity to serve as head coach. Thank you to our players for giving their all, day in and day out. I am proud to have been your coach, and I am grateful for the relationships we forged that will last a lifetime. Finally, I would like to thank my family for their unwavering love and support.”
You can’t blame Lindsay for wanting to put a positive spin on things but to say that Troy ‘fell short of producing a championship-winning team’ is a massive understatement. They came nowhere near a championship of any sort and appeared to be mired in a stasis of mediocrity from the early days of Lindsay’s coaching regime. Troy athletic director Brent Jones was a little more forthcoming in the reasons for the coaching change:
“I appreciate Coach Lindsey’s hard work over these last three years. However, after significant review, a change in leadership is needed. I met with coach Lindsey this afternoon and informed him that we would be making a change effective immediately. Our expectation for our football program is to compete for championships, and that resolve has not wavered. A full national search will begin immediately for the next head coach of our storied program.”
The Sun Belt is an interesting conference–for coaches, it’s a viable first head coaching job and for coaches ‘disgraced’ by scandal or poor performance it can be the first step in the long road back. That has already been seen this year with Georgia Southern firing Chad Lunsford and hiring former USC head coach Clay Helton. There could be more coaching changes forthcoming in the Sun Belt as Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell and Louisiana’s Billy Napier are at the top of the ‘wish list’ for every school with a head coaching vacancy.