The 2014-15 spinning of the coaching carousel has nearly come to an end, with Central Michigan, thanks to Dan Enos‘ abrupt departure to become Arkansas’ offensive coordinator, the lone remaining FBS program without a head coach less than a week from signing day.
And, when it comes to this year’s spinning, if you were an offensive coordinator with head-coaching aspirations, you were in luck. Or, hell, if you had an offensive background, period.
First off, there have been just 14 coaching changes (not including CMU) in 2014-15, compared to 19 in 2013-14, 30 in 2012-13 and 26 in 2011-12. Of the 14 changes made thus far, five have schools have found replacements in current offensive coordinators: Colorado State’s Mike Bobo (Georgia), Houston’s Tom Herman (Ohio State), SMU’s Chad Morris (Clemson), Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery (Baylor) and Troy’s Neal Brown (Kentucky). Additionally, Kansas hired Texas A&M’s wide receivers coach David Beaty as its new head coach.
Diving even further offensively, three 2014 FBS head coaches who took over different programs since the end of the season — Florida’s Jim McElwain, Nebraska’s Mike Riley, Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst — had extensive experience as coordinators on that side of the ball prior to becoming head coaches. Throw in Buffalo’s Lance Leipold – an OC prior to winning six Div. III titles at Wisconsin-Whitewater — and 11 of the 14 coaching changes involved individuals with extensive offensive backgrounds.
Given the fact that the college game is currently very much offensively-driven, the skewed hires toward that side of the ball aren’t all that surprising; just last year, 13 of the 19 hires were offensive-minded coaches, so it’s continuing to trend upward. Still, it’s a stark reminder of just how skewed the game is in the here and now.
In fact, the only current defensive coordinator to land a head-coaching job this cycle was Pat Narduzzi, who left Michigan State for Pittsburgh. Gary Andersen, who left as head coach at Wisconsin for the same job at Oregon State, had a defensive background in a previous coaching life as well.
The lone remaining new hire is Tony Sanchez, the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School head coach hired by UNLV. Sanchez was a defensive coach prior to becoming a high school head coach… but actually began his coaching career as an offensive assistant at that level.