Nebraska fired football coach Scott Frost on Sunday, a day after a 45-42 home loss to Georgia Southern in what had become an untenable situation for the Huskers.
Nebraska (1-2) had been a three-touchdown favorite.
“Earlier today I met with Coach Frost and informed him that we were going to be changing the direction of our football program, effective immediately. Scott has put his heart and soul into the football program of Nebraska as both quarterback and head coach, and I appreciate his hard work and dedication,” Nebraska Vice Chancellor for Athletics Trev Alberts said in a statement.
Associate Head Coach Mickey Joseph will take over for the remainder of the season. Nebraska hosts Oklahoma on Saturday.
Frost played in Nebraska from 1995 to 1997, returning home to play for Tom Osborne after beginning his career at Stanford. In 1997, he helped the Huskers beat 13-0 and win the national championship – becoming the first quarterback in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 1,000 yards in the same season. It would be the last national championship for Osborne and Nebraska.
Frost seemed like the perfect person to restore Nebraska to glory after the Huskers fired Mike Riley in 2017. Frost was in his second year as UCF head coach and in the midst of a historic season of 13-0 in which the Knights declared themselves a national championship and became one of the top coaching candidates in the country. Even if Nebraska hadn’t had sustained success like he did when he played there, the lure of coming home was impossible to let go.
But since starting his tenure in 2018, Frost has never been able to get the Huskers started. Nebraska — once a perennial bowling team — never had a winning season under Frost. The most painful part of watching Nebraska play was how many close games they lost.
Nebraska is 5-22 (.185) in single-scoring games since Frost’s hiring. No other FBS team has recorded more than 16 one-score losses during this period.
Last season the Huskers went 3-9. Seven of those losses were one-score games. In an interview with ESPN last October, Frost said, “I just want it to go so badly. I want to do everything I can to help Nebraska be Nebraska, and we’ve had a lot of work to do to make it happen. We’re still doing it, but I’m proud of the improvements we’ve made. It’s going to happen.”
Considering how close it looked like Nebraska was on the verge of a turning point, Alberts made the surprising decision last November when he announced he would bring Frost back – but with the understanding that the 2022 season would be decisive.
Frost fired four offensive assistants, had his salary reduced from $5 million to $4 million and agreed to increase his buyout from $15 million to $7.5 million on Oct. 1. There was no immediate word Sunday of a negotiated settlement.
But the 2022 season began as last season ended – with a one-score loss to Northwestern in Ireland – a game that sparked an inbound kick Frost did with Nebraska leading the game 28- 17 in the third quarter. Nebraska didn’t score again and lost 31-28.
Explaining the move, Frost said: “You can’t really predict they’ll score 14 in a row and we’ll spit after playing well to start the second half on offense. Again, that’s excuses . If I had to (re)do that, I wouldn’t make the call.”
It only got worse on Saturday against Georgia Southern, a Nebraska team that paid $1.423 million to come and play at Lincoln. Georgia Southern gained 642 yards in the game and the student section chanted “Fire Frost! Fire Frost!”
Afterwards, Frost said: “That one hurt. We win as a team and lose as a team, and we were beaten today. We were beaten on plans, and I didn’t really have an answer. They’ve got us.”
Not exactly the answers Nebraska fans have been looking for after five seasons of hearing similar statements after every loss.
Frost ends his coaching career at Nebraska with a 16-31 record.