2023 Texas FCS Hot Seat Meter

Photo courtesy Tarleton Athletics

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The Texas FCS coaching carousel was spinning rapidly following the 2022 campaign. As a result, four programs will have a new head coach on the sideline this season. 

Which coaches are feeling the heat heading into 2023?


Todd Whiten, Tarleton

The hot seat meter is rarely fair, and such is the case with Whitten. The Texans have had tremendous on-field success during the first three years of their transition to FCS. However, being one of only four teams since 2004 to post a winning record in its first three years of transition is not enough for a fan base that has been asked to give a lot of money to improve facilities. 

Sources indicate many boosters and alums were clamoring for a change after last season and had a possible replacement in mind. That coach may be unavailable after signing a big contract at an FBS school during the offseason, but the Texans will likely need nine or 10 wins for Whitten to receive a contract extension.


Colby Carthel, Stephen F. Austin

Remember when I said the hot seat meter could be unfair? How is a coach that rebuilt a horrendous football program into a perennial FCS playoff contender in four seasons feeling pressure? Honestly, a large part of it is the media’s fault, including yours truly. We placed high expectations on the ‘Jacks in the preseason last year. However, we weren’t considering that SFA had a new defensive coaching staff and lost multiple defensive starters in the transfer portal.

Despite the challenges, the ‘Jacks won the Western Athletic Conference title in 2023. While preseason expectations don’t have SFA in the top 10 nationally, anything short of a conference title or playoff appearance could have Carthel feeling heat heading into 2024 with an impatient fan base.


Bubba McDowell, Prairie View A&M

The Panthers finished a solid 6-5 in McDowell’s first season at the helm. McDowell was the defensive coordinator when former coach Eric Dooley led the charge in building PVAMU into a SWAC contender. The expectations on “The Hill” haven’t changed, and anything short of a West Division title will be disappointing.


Keith Patterson, Abilene Christian

Patterson led the Wildcats to a 7-4 record and an appearance in the unofficial WAC title game in his first season, which was the most wins in a season for ACU since entering FCS in 2013. Another remarkable season this year, and Patterson could begin drawing interest from FBS schools.

Clarence McKinney, Texas Southern

The Tigers have eight wins in their last two years, which is one shy of equaling their total number of wins from 2016-2019. What McKinney has done during his tenure at TSU should open the eyes of downtrodden FBS programs needing a coach with a history of building a program.


Braxton Harris, Houston Christian

Harris has brought excitement and energy to HCU, along with some highly-ranked transfers. We’ll know if the new blood leads to more wins in November, but Harris will have job security heading into 2024 regardless of the Huskies record this year.

Peter Rossomando, Lamar

Rossomando has a monumental task in front of him to build the Cardinals into a consistent Southland Conference contender. But Rossomando is only one piece of what could be a successful puzzle at Lamar and has the administration's support.

Clint Dolezel, Texas A&M-Commerce

The Lions have far too many issues for an athletic department beginning its second year of transition to Division I. None of those issues are Dolezel’s fault, but he will deal with the consequences. His seat could get warm quickly despite being an alum. 

Clint Killough, UIW

UIW Athletic Director for football and men’s basketball Richard Duran knows the type of coach he wants to lead his programs. Killough has been a part of the success the Cardinals have experienced in recent years, but the seat could quickly become warm if neither transfer quarterback lives up to the expectations this year.

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