Louisiana-Lafayette fires head coach Mark Hudspeth

Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth talks to players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

The Mark Hudspeth era at Louisiana-Lafayette has come to an end.

Athletic director Bryan Maggard announced Sunday that Hudspeth, a day after the Ragin’ Cajuns finished their season with a 63-14 loss to Appalachian State that will keep them from a bowl game, has been relieved of his duties. ULL was 5-5 entering the final two weeks of the season, but lost at home to Georgia Southern, which had one win at the time, before getting throttled by the Mountaineers on Saturday to finish the year 5-7.

“This morning I met with Coach Mark Hudspeth to discuss the future of our Football program, and I informed him of my decision to move the program in a different direction, relieving him of his head coaching duties. Transitions like this are never easy for anyone involved, and I am extremely grateful for the commitment and service Coach Hudspeth, Tyla and their children have given this community in addition to the improvements made within our Football program over the past seven years,” Maggard said.

Hudspeth had a 51-38 overall record with the program, but his official mark is 28-38 because of NCAA sanctions.

ULL went 9-4 and won the New Orleans Bowl in Hudspeth’s first four seasons with the program, but the team hasn’t had a winning season since, going 4-8, 6-7 and 5-7 over the last three seasons. However, those 9-4 seasons are officially in the record books as 0-4, 5-4, 1-4 and 7-4 seasons because of the aforementioned sanctions.

Those sanctions, self-imposed by ULL, were accepted by the NCAA in January 2016 after it was determined that a former assistant coach engaged in academic fraud. The coach, David Saunders, apparently directed five or six student-athletes to a specific ACT testing center where a supervisor would either complete the tests for the players or fix wrong answers after the fact.

As a result, the following sanctions were imposed in addition to vacating wins where certain ineligible players participated:

  • terminating Saunders;
  • a two-year probation period;
  • reducing initial football grants-in-aid (scholarships) by three in 2016-17 and three more in 2017-18;
  • reducing total grants-in-aid by five in 2015-16, by three in 2016-17 and by three in 2017-18;
  • reducing off-campus recruiting by 40 days in 2015-16 and ’16-17;
  • reducing official visits by recruits to 44 in 2014-15 and 38 in 2015-16; and withholding unnamed players from competition.

The school’s probation officially expires on Jan. 11, 2018.

Before Hudspeth arrived, ULL hadn’t played in a bowl game since 1970.


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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!