Nebraska fires Scott Frost: Cornhuskers pay massive buyout to fire coach three games into season five

Nebraska fired coach Scott Frost on Sunday for three games in his fifth year with the program. Frost, who joined his alma mater as the nation’s most popular coach in 2018 after leading UCF to a 13-0 record the previous year, never won more than five games in a single season while compiling a 16- 31 (10-26 Big Ten) record in more than four seasons.

Associate head coach Mickey Joseph will serve the remainder of the season as Nebraska’s interim coach.

Frost’s teams in Nebraska were terrible in close games, losing 10 straight one-point decisions to close out their tenure. The Cornhuskers fell 45-42 to Georgia Southern on Saturday, allowing an 8-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds remaining to drop to 1-2 on the season. The loss broke a streak of 214 wins in a row for Nebraska by scoring 35 or more points at home at Memorial Stadium. He also pushed Frost to 5-22 in single point games overall.

By firing Frost on 9/11, the Huskers must now pay him a hefty $15 million buyout. That sum would have been reduced by 50% if Nebraska had waited to fire Frost until Oct. 1. However, athletic director Trev Alberts opted to foot the bill before the show’s main matchup against Oklahoma next weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“Earlier today, I met with Coach Frost and informed him that we were making a leadership change for our football program, effective immediately,” Alberts said in a statement. “Scott has put his heart and soul into the Nebraska Football program both as a quarterback and as a head coach, and I appreciate his work and dedication. After the disappointing start to our season, I decided the best way forward for our program was make a change in our head coaching position.

Under Frost, Nebraska finished no better than fifth in the Big 12 West from 2018-21 and has never qualified for a bowl game with its best record of 5-7 in 2019.

Frost overhauled his staff after a miserable 3-9 campaign in 2021, but the results didn’t improve as he began his fifth season. Nebraska’s only win in three weeks came over FCS North Dakota, 38-17. Their two losses sandwiched that victory and both came by three points: 31-28 to Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland, in Week 0 and to Georgia Southern at home in Week 2.

Now, the Huskers can put themselves in a position to hire a coach soon after the 2022 season and hit the recruiting trail before other teams make coaching changes.

There’s nowhere left to point

Frost was hailed as one of the best signings in the 2017-18 cycle and a potential game changer when Nebraska nabbed the former title-winning quarterback. It was a homecoming for the Nebraska native and a chance for the show to return to national prominence.

But almost from the beginning, the excuses flowed. First was that quarterback Adrián Martínez did not develop. Then it was the staff who failed to develop players to a high enough level. Before the 2022 season, Alberts allowed Frost to bring in a new offensive coordinator, several new assistants, and a new quarterback. Unfortunately, the results did not change at all.

It’s hard to put into context how much Nebraska wanted this hire to work. Frost was a beloved son and the apparent chosen one for this show. Unfortunately, his winning percentage is the worst of any Nebraska full-time coach since the Eisenhower administration.

‘Huskers face existential questions

There are only eight consensus blue bloods in college football, and Nebraska appears on every roster. This is one of only eight FBS shows with 900 show wins and five national championships claimed to their name. But after six losing seasons in 11 years in the Big Ten, matching the same number in the previous 52 years, the ‘Huskers face an identity crisis.

Frost was hailed as a brilliant offensive mind from Chip Kelly’s coaching tree who could modernize the Cornhuskers’ offense. Unfortunately, he failed in a very visible way. Previous hires included a terrific coach from Oregon State (Mike Riley), a fiery defensive coordinator (Bo Pelini) and an NFL offensive line coach (Bill Callahan). Neither worked particularly well.

Perhaps the next phase should involve looking less southeast and more toward former Big Eight conference partners. Kansas State, Iowa State, and Kansas have all had incredible success creating development programs. Extreme competition should be the highest priority for a new era.

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