'Tis the season, and joining the Old Buckeye in the ranks of excoaches in college football yesterday were Frank Cignetti, West Virginia; Jim Tait, Richmond; Augie Tammariello, Southwestern Louisiana -- while a Champaign, Ill., newspaper said that Gary Moeller will get the gate at Illinois today; Moeller, one of Hayes' captians back at Ohio State but showing an un-Hayesian 6-24-3 record.
Cignetti weathered a siege of cancer mingled with a 2-9 season in 1978 to direct West Virginia to five wins in six games at one stage of the 1979 campaign. But the Mountaineers bowed to Pitt and Arizona State at the end to revert to a 5-6 log (matching Cignetti's 1979 and '77 WUV squads).
Tait of Richmond leaves after an 0-11 campaign that brought a second look at the program by university brass before a green light to go ahead and stay in Division I-A . . . The 0-11 is not too far removed from the Toni Linhart kicking record that brought the man from Austria Tech his release from the N.Y. Jets yesterday, just a few weeks after he was salvaged from the Baltimore Colt discare pile; nope, he didn't last till the Jet-Colt rematch. The little fella from Syracuse, Dave Jacobs, gets the Jet call . . .
In the American Hockey League, the Syracuse Firebirds have hired a coach, Duane Rupp -- after a reported offer to and turndown from deposed Capital skipper Danny Belisle . . .
Next at the Touchdown Club, 2000 L St. NW: Army-Navy football luncheon, Wednesday noon. Call the club to reserve, $8.50; Coaches George Welsh and Lou Saban, with guest speaker Rep. Jack Kemp . . .
One coach with fresh security: Hubie Brown of the NBA Atlanta Hawks, with a pay raise and extension through the 1983-84 season . . . And one of his stalwarts, Tom McMillen, evidently is doing very well with his off-court interest, Sports Fitness International. It has such giant clients, already, as Weyerhauser and Westinghouse.