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NCAA Football News and Notes: January 1, 2019

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest news stories from around the world of college football heading into the final week of the season.

Mark Richt Retires, Miami Hires Diaz

University of Miami head coach Mark Richt shocked everyone by announcing his retirement from coaching. Richt retired after just three seasons at the helm in Miami and posted a 26-13 record. The Hurricanes reached a bowl game in all three seasons but finished just 7-6 this season. Richt coached the Georgia Bulldogs from 2001-15 and posted a career record of 171-64 during his career at Georgia and Miami. He guided his teams to 17 bowl appearances and won 10 combined bowl games at Georgia and Miami.

Former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been hired to replace Richt at Miami. Diaz was hired as defensive coordinator by Miami before the 2016 season, and he has turned the Hurricanes into one of the best defensive units in college football. Diaz agreed to become the head coach of Temple University on December 13, but will instead return to Miami to take over the program.

Raiders, 49ers Coaches Selected for 2019 Senior Bowl

The 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl announced the coaching staffs for each team on Monday. Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and his staff will lead one team, while Kyle Shanahan and his San Francisco 49ers coaching staff will lead the other squad. Both the Raiders and 49ers finished the 2018 regular season with identical 4-12 records, and the Senior Bowl will give each coaching staff a chance to look at potential draft picks. The 70th annual Reese’s Senior Bowl will take place on January 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

Major Applewhite Fired By Houston

The University of Houston announced that they are parting ways with head football coach Major Applewhite. Applewhite lasted just two years with the Houston program after taking over for Tom Herman. The Cougars have gone just 15-11 in the two plus seasons under Applewhite and gave up a whopping 70 points to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Houston football program is also looking for a new offensive coordinator after Kendal Briles left the program for the same job at Florida State. It appears that Houston might already have their sights set on a new coach, as they have asked West Virginia for permission to interview Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen was an offensive coordinator for Houston in 2008 and 2009. West Virginia has not decided on Holgorsen’s future at West Virginia, but the Mountaineers suffered a disappointing 34-18 loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.

Daniel Jones Declares For Draft

Duke University junior quarterback Daniel Jones has declared himself eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. Mel Kiper Jr. listed Jones as the number-3 quarterback prospect on his latest big board draft projections. Jones started all three seasons at Duke and threw for more than 8,000 yards and 52 touchdowns. He also has the ability to make plays with his legs, racking up 1,323 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in his 36 career games. Jones led the Blue Devils to an 8-5 record this season including a dominating 56-27 victory over Temple in the Walk-Ons Independence Bowl.

Packers Requesting Interview With Fitzgerald

The Green Bay Packers could be looking into the world of college football for their next head coach. Sources have indicated that the Packers are expected to ask Northwestern for permission to interview with head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald led the Northwestern Wildcats to a Big Ten West Division title and a spot in the Big Ten Championship. Northwestern was selected to play the University of Utah in the 2018 Holiday Bowl on New Year’s Eve. Packers CEO and president Mark Murphy hired Fitzgerald at Northwestern when he was the athletic director at the school.

Rich Rodriguez Hired at Ole Miss

Former Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has been hired as the offensive coordinator at the University of Mississippi. Rodriguez has also been the head coach at West Virginia and Michigan. Ole Miss and Rodriguez reached an agreement on a three-year contract that will place him on Matt Luke’s staff. Arizona fired Rodriguez last January amid sexual harassment allegations. Rodriguez posted a 43-35 record during his six seasons at Arizona and led the Wildcats to five bowl games.