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

Nebraska fired coach Scott Frost on Sunday three games into his fifth year with the program. Frost, who joined his alma mater as the nation’s hottest 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 record (10-26 Big Ten) in over four campaigns.

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

Frost’s teams at Nebraska were terrible in close games, dropping 10 straight one-score decisions to end his tenure. The Cornhuskers fell 45-42 to Georgia Southern on Saturday, allowing an 8-yard touchdown with 36 seconds left to drop to 1-2 on the season. The defeat ended a series of 214 consecutive wins for Nebraska by scoring 35 or more points at home at Memorial Stadium. It also pushed Frost to 5-22 in single-score games.

By firing Frost on Sept. 11, the Huskers now have to pay him a hefty $15 million buyout. That sum would have been reduced by 50% had Nebraska waited to fire Frost until Oct. 1. However, athletic director Trev Alberts opted to foot the bill ahead of the program’s showdown against Oklahoma next weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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

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

Frost has overhauled his staff after a miserable 3-9 campaign in 2021, but results haven’t improved to start his fifth season. Nebraska’s only victory in three weeks was against FCS North Dakota, 38-17. His two losses sandwiched that victory and both ended in three points: 31-28 against Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland in Week 0 and against 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 start recruiting before other teams make coaching changes.

Nowhere to point

Frost was hailed as one of the best rookies of 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 an opportunity to restore the program to national prominence.

But almost from the start, the apologies poured in. First is that quarterback Adrian Martinez hasn’t developed. Then it was the staff who failed to develop the players to a high enough level. Ahead of 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 rental to work. Frost was a beloved son and the seemingly chosen one for this program. Unfortunately, his winning percentage is the worst of any full-time Nebraska coach since the Eisenhower administration.

“The Huskers are facing existential questions

There are only eight consensus blue bloods in college football, and Nebraska appears on every list. It is one of eight FBS programs with 900 program wins and five national championships claimed to its name. But after six losing seasons in 11 years in the Big Ten — which matches 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 training tree who could modernize the Cornhuskers’ offense. Unfortunately, it failed in very visible ways. Previous hires were an excellent Oregon State coach (Mike Riley), an incendiary defensive coordinator (Bo Pelini) and a NFL offensive line coach (Bill Callahan). None worked particularly well.

Perhaps the next phase should involve looking less to the Southeast and more to former Big Eight conference mates. Kansas State, Iowa State, and Kansas have had incredible success with the creation of development programs. Extreme skill should be the highest priority at the dawn of a new era.

Leave a Comment