Long-time Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders head coach Rick Stockstill has been fired after 18 seasons with the program, athletics director Chris Massaro announced Monday. The departure comes after a 4-8 season where the Blue Raiders won just three games in the new-look Conference USA.
Middle Tennessee Fires Head Coach Rick Stockstill
After 18 seasons in Murfreesboro, Stockstill has been relieved of his duties as head coach at Middle Tennessee. The dismissal comes after the Blue Raiders lost their 2023 college football season finale to the Sam Houston Bearkats 23-20. The CUSA newcomers had registered just one conference win before defeating Middle Tennessee to end the year.
The Blue Raiders suffered a difficult 2023 campaign, beating non-FBS Murray State as their only win through the first six games. Middle Tennessee lost to both FBS newcomers in conference play and wins over Louisiana Tech, FIU, and UTEP weren’t enough to save Stockstill from receiving his marching orders following the season’s conclusion.
“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,” AD Massaro explained in a press release. “I appreciate everything that Rick, his wife Sara, and their family have done in the last 18 years for MTSU athletics, our football program, and more importantly, our student-athletes.”
“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 endeavours.”
Stockstill arrived at Middle Tennessee ahead of the 2006 season, and in his first season at the helm delivered the program’s first winning season since 2001. The long-tenured head coach is responsible for the program’s only 10-win campaign as an FBS outfit, and took the team to 10 bowl games during his time in Murfreesboro.
Under his stewardship, the program has had just seven losing campaigns. However, with three of those coming in the last five seasons, coupled with the worst record since 2011, Middle Tennessee and Stockstill will take a different path for the 2024 campaign.