What started as a promising career for Bill Blankenship at the helm of the Tulsa Golden Hurricane looks as though it will come to an end after a pair of losing seasons.
Or will it? Here's what the Tulsa World's John Hoover had to say:
The Bill Blankenship firing at Tulsa is indeed expected ... by many. But TU president just told me no decision has been made.— John E. Hoover (@johnehoover) November 29, 2014
Blankenship joined the staff of his alma mater in 2007 a couple of seasons after stepping down as the head coach of Union High School in Tulsa, a school that appeared in the state championship seven times (winning three of them) during his tenure. After coaching the team's wideouts, running backs, and special teams, he was promoted to the top spot after the 2010 season when Todd Graham departed for Pitt. (Graham is now the head coach at Arizona State.)
Things started out well for Blankenship as it appeared he would carry on the success that Graham enjoyed: his 2011 team finished 8-5 (7-1 in Conference USA) and faced BYU in the Armed Forces Bowl. The next year was even better: 11-3, 7-1 in C-USA (good for the West Division title) and a spot in the Liberty Bowl, where they defeated Iowa State. That edition of the Hurricane ended the year ranked #25 in the coaches' poll.
With the Hurricane entering their final season in Conference USA, the aspirations were high: the team was projected to repeat as division champions and boasted a quartet of first team selections in o-linemen Jake Alexander and Stetson Burnett, DB Marco Nelson, LB Shawn Jackson and special teamer Trey Watts. But they didn't come close to matching them: 3-9 (2-6 C-USA) in 2013 followed by a 2-9 mark (2-5 AAC) thus far in 2014 going into tonight's contest with East Carolina. While you'd figure that Tulsa would give one of their own a little rope (Blankenship was a former QB there in the late 70's), if the Feldman report is true, it means that they have run out of patience.
Whatever the athletics department has decided, it won't be officially announced until next week, according to the Tulsa World's TU beat writer Kelly Hines.
Announcement not expected until next week regarding status of #TulsaFB coach Bill Blankenship, who many expect is coaching last game tonight— Kelly Hines (@KellyHinesTW) November 29, 2014