September 23, 2023

Silverfield Is Back For Memphis

Photo Credits- Raymond Chiozza Photography

                             

The Memphis Football program has been a recent success since the 2014 season. In 2019, this program reached all-time heights as they played in the Cotton Bowl against Penn State in a New Years’ Six Bowl. In the weeks leading up to that game, then-head coach, Mike Norvell, was announced as the new head coach at Florida State. In that Cotton Bowl, the Tigers would be led by Ryan Silverfield as their head coach. Silverfield would impressively lead the Tigers against the Nittany Lions after being named head coach 15 days prior. With an 8-3 record and a Montgomery Bowl victory in 2020, fans were behind him after his first season. After back-to-back, 6-6 records, many fans wanted a change at the helm. We and others have confirmed the reports that Ryan Silverfield will return as head coach for next season. What has Silverfield done that others have not?  Why is this important for Memphis? Why do fans need a reality check? We will answer these questions and more.

What Has Silverfield Done While at Memphis?

Photo Credits – Raymond Chiozza Photography

Key Wins in His Tenure

Silverfield has accomplished many feats that others who previously held the position could not. Silverfield defeated Navy in Annapolis for the first time in school history in the 2020 season. He would follow that up in 2022 with the second in an emotional win for the program and city. After the win, we would see Silverfield become emotional in this season’s defining moment.  To some, this may be minuscule, but it is something that no other coach prior had done. We could see what it meant to him, his program, and the city he coached.

Silverfield would also defeat UCF for the first time since the 1990 season when Memphis won 37-28 in Memphis. Since that season, the Tigers had lost thirteen straight to the Black Knights. Silverfield would change that in 2020 when Memphis defeated UCF 50-49 in an absolute classic. Silverfield is winning games that have not been won for ages. Chuck Stobart was the last coach to beat UCF. Stobart coached from 1989-1994 for Memphis and finished with a 29-36-1 record and a .447 winning percentage. . That means that Rip Scherer, Tommy West, Larry Porter, Justin Fuente, and Mike Norvell did not accomplish this. Silverfield’s .583 winning percentage of all the listed coaches is better than all but one [ Norvell – .717]. There are two examples of what Silverfield is doing that others haven’t. Let’s look at what else he has accomplished while at Memphis.

Bowl Wins

As mentioned above, Silverfield would lead the Tigers to their first bowl win since the 2014 season, in a 55-48 win over BYU in the Miami Bowl, with a bowl win in 2020. If you go back in the program’s history, they have participated in thirteen bowl games. In 1971, in the Pasadena Bowl, in a win against San Jose State, the Tigers would win their first bowl. It would be thirty-two years before Memphis would accomplish this again. In 2003, Memphis would win the New Orleans Bowl and then play in a bowl game yearly {GMAC in 2004} until the 2005 Motor City Bowl in Detroit. In 2007 and 2008, Memphis would play in the New Orleans and St Petersburg Bowls.  The Tigers would only win two of their five games in this era.

In 2014, Memphis would begin its current nine-game bowl streak. That season Justin Fuente would lead the Tigers to their first bowl win in nine seasons. Fuente would leave Memphis for Virginia Tech following the 2015 season as Memphis would face Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl with a loss. The point is that as great as some of these seasons have been, not winning bowl games consistently should be noticed. Memphis was 1-5 in bowl games in the Fuente and Norvell era. Most would claim the Cotton Bowl of 2019, but Norvell wasn’t on the sideline. Where was the outrage for this mediocrity in postseason games? All the wins are nice, but if you don’t win the bowl game to end the season, do you have anything to show?

Photo Credits – Raymond Chiozza Photography

Memphis needs the proper support when they take the field for their bowl game this season. This program has fought back from being one of the laughingstocks of the nation in 2010-2011. If you look over the history of coaches for Memphis, you might be surprised with where Silverfield ranks in winning percentage. To put this into perspective, twenty-five coaches have been in the program’s history.  Out of these, there have only been five coaches who have a higher percentage. In fact, in one less season than Fuente, Silverfield had a .583 percentage, and Fuente had a .520. Silverfield is 20-16 as he heads to his third bowl game at the helm. As a bonus, we were able to confirm that star quarterback Seth Henigan will also return in 2023.

Further reading

Twitter feed is not available at the moment.