One of the longest-tenured head coaches in college football has been fired.
Middle Tennessee announced Monday that it has parted ways with Rick Stockstill, who had been the Blue Raiders’ head coach since 2006. In his 18 seasons at MTSU, Stockstill, 65, amassed a 113-111 record with one Sun Belt championship and one division title as a member of Conference USA.
Only Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Utah's Kyle Whittingham have been at their current schools longer than Stockstill was at MTSU.
"This is one of the most difficult days in my tenure, but one I feel is necessary in our aspiration to compete and win championships," MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro said in a statement.
MTSU had a winning record in 10 of Stockstill’s 18 seasons and played in 10 bowl games, going 4-6 in those postseason matchups. The Blue Raiders’ best season under Stockstill came back in 2009, when they went 10-3 and won the New Orleans Bowl.
MTSU had a seven-season stretch with at least a .500 record from 2012 to 2018, but the team’s performance has been up-and-down in recent seasons. The Blue Raiders went 4-8 in 2019 and 3-6 in 2020, but followed that up with winning seasons in 2021 (7-6) and 2022 (8-5).
However, this year was a rough one for the Blue Raiders. Playing in a significantly weakened Conference USA, MTSU went 4-8 with a 3-5 mark in league play. The Blue Raiders were 1-5 to start the year and managed to win three of their last six games, but it wasn’t enough for Stockstill to be retained.
MTSU’s 23-20 loss at Sam Houston on Saturday — which included a brawl after a game-tying field goal try by MTSU sailed wide — proved to be Stockstill’s final game.
"I appreciate everything Rick, his wife Sara, and their family have done the last 18 years for MTSU Athletics, our football program, and, more importantly, our student-athletes,” Massaro said. “Because of his leadership, our student-athletes have performed at a high level in the classroom, have dedicated time and energy to supporting our community and have given us countless hours of dedication to being successful on the football field. I want to thank Coach Stockstill for his professionalism, character and dedication, and wish him well in his future endeavors."
Before he was hired by MTSU in December 2005, Stockstill had stints as an assistant at UCF, Clemson, East Carolina and South Carolina. His son, Brent, played quarterback at MTSU from 2014 to 2018 and served as the team's quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator for the past three seasons.