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FAU fires Charlie Partridge

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The Owls are going in a different direction.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

FAU is going a new direction, firing Charlie Partridge after three seasons.

Partridge went 9-27 with the Owls and showed little progress as coach in record during his tenure, with 3-9 campaigns in each season. FAU’s program has struggled since building from scratch in a process which started back in 1998.

FAU played its first game in 2001 and began FBS play in 2004. The Owls have only been to two bowl games in their time in college football’s top-flight and have been close to doing so once since 2009. 2013’s 6-6 campaign didn’t end with a postseason berth, but it did bring about the messy firing of former coach Carl Pelini involving drug-related incidents.

It is that program culture that Partridge stepped into, but he was unable to generate any momentum. Now he’s out after a 77-56 loss against Middle Tennessee.

Although it had been speculated in the middle of the season that Partridge might be back for a fourth year in Boca Raton due to him being owed over a million dollars in the next two years, last night’s poor effort made it clear it was time for a change.

Where does FAU go from here?

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg thinks taking a look at Big Ten assistant coaches might be the move.

Expect Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell to be a top candidate at Florida Atlantic. Fickell worked with FAU athletic director Pat Chun at Ohio State. This job should attract a lot of interest, and I could see Michigan co-offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch also getting involved.

And FOX’s Bruce Feldman sees some in-state option for the Owls.

FAU’s roster isn’t necessarily in shambles, but winning close games has been a problem under Partridge. Three of the 2015’s losses came by a combined 10 points, and two of them were in overtime. Three close losses by a combined 13 points this season are the difference between disappointment and potential bowl eligibility. The team can compete, but it needs to turn the talent it has into wins. We’ll see if the next guy can do that.