No. 3: FAU Fires Charlie Partridge
FAU football’s season-opening 38-30 victory over Southern Illinois of the FCS was a harbinger of things to come not because it forecast more victories but because it showed that the Owls hadn’t really improved significantly from the 3-9 team they were the previous year.
Yes, FAU won the game, but the Owls didn’t move the ball with any consistency, surrendered big plays and looked lost in the final minutes of each half against a team that plays in a lower division.
FAU lost its next seven games, with unlucky No. 7 being a 52-3 homecoming blowout loss to Western Kentucky in which the Owls looked so unprepared and lethargic that FAU’s administration undoubtedly started to ponder a change – and maybe cemented the decision to find a new coach.
The Owls did rebound to win consecutive games, but finished by losing their final two games. That finale, a 77-56 loss, came to a Middle Tennessee team that played nearly the entire game without a true quarterback yet still managed to score the most points ever against an FAU team.
FAU completed its third consecutive 3-9 season and one day later FAU fired the architect of those seasons, Charlie Partridge – pulling the plug three years into a five-year contract.
What We Wrote
Why It’s Important
FAU hired Partridge a little more than one month after Carl Pelini resigned, then un-resigned, then was fired amid drug allegations. First and foremost, the program needed stability. To his credit, Partridge brought that.
Partridge brought many positives to FAU during his tenure. He raised FAU football’s profile in the South Florida community. He brought in recruiting classes superior to any that had come prior to his arrival, to the point that new coach Lane Kiffin commented on several occasions how pleasantly surprised he was with the talent he inherited – especially at the skills positions.
The one aspect Partridge couldn’t instill was a winning tradition. Trace it back to his first season when FAU gave the game at Wyoming after taking over the ball at the Cowboys’ 11 with 2:09 remaining in the game and leading by a point. FAU nearly pulled a program-changing upset the following season at Florida, taking the Gators to overtime, but also that year Partridge called for a first down, 36-yard field goal attempt while trailing by 10 with three-minutes remaining at UTEP (a poor snap doomed the kick and ultimately any change the Owls had at winning the game.)
Not all the issues were of Partridge’s making. Injuries crippled the offensive line last season and he never really had a quarterback he could count on in any of his three seasons.
But this past season FAU suffered three of the worst losses in program history at Kansas St., against Western Kentucky and at MTSU.
For all the improvements Partridge and his staff made off the field, the Owls simply weren’t winning on the field and didn’t give the impression that they would start winning any time soon.
Partridge is currently the defensive line coach at Pitt. It would not be surprising at all to see him earn another head coaching job – and to succeed his second time around.
With Partridge gone, FAU hired Lane Kiffin to guide the Owls. As you might have guessed, we’ll have more on that in a little bit.
No. 10: Baseball Relationship Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
No. 9: Football Beset by Injuries
No. 8: The Quarterback Battles
No. 7: Schmidt Complex: It’s a Start
No. 6: Buckeye Surprise
No. 5: The Sirens Call
No. 4: One Stormy Week
No. 3: Partridge Fired
No. 2: Forgettable Seasons
No. 1: The Lane Train