Well, Illinois is all but officially back in the market for a new head coach. The next two weeks will make that painfully clear. With Rutgers already entering the fray, I think it’s about time to bring back the Potential New Coach Power Rankings from four years ago. I guess this will be a thing I do every 3-4 years until I die.
Oh, but this time, I’m diving EVEN. DEEPER. Behold: 80 coaches!
I’ll subdivide things a little better, too!
Tier 0: USC or Notre Dame?
Coaches in this tier will never coach at any Big Ten school except maybe Penn State in the future, but they’re almost certainly going to coach either USC or Notre Dame in the near future.
1. Urban Meyer, FS1 analyst
Your team is not hiring Urban Meyer.
Tier 1: Blue Blood Poachables
If you’re reading this, your team is probably not hiring any of these guys. But perhaps if you’re a Florida State, a Michigan, maybe even a Tennessee? These are guys you have your eye on.
2. Bryan Harsin, HC Boise State Broncos
There’s no way Harsin, of a 64-20 record, is leaving Boise State for anything less than a premier P5 job.
3. Dave Clawson, HC Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake Forest is RANKED! Clawson is on the verge of the unthinkable accomplishment of taking Wake Forest to four consecutive bowl games, a feat unmatched in Demon Deacons history.
4. Matt Campbell, HC Iowa State Cyclones
OK, maybe the Clones have cooled off a BIT, with losses to Iowa and Baylor, but this is still among the most competitive periods in the history of ISU football.
5. Dino Babers, HC Syracuse Orange
Syracuse is struggling to replace Eric Dungey this year, but Babers was due for some regression after a very experienced team won 10 games last year and remains a good coach
6. PJ Fleck, HC Minnesota Golden Gophers
Rage at me all you want, Gophers fans, for not suggesting your coach should be the first hired away, but Minnesota is not as historically downtrodden as Wake Forest and he hasn’t managed a win as impressive as Babers against Clemson or Campbell against Oklahoma.
7. Jeff Brohm, HC Purdue Boilermakers
This is a down year due in large part to injuries, so Brohm hangs out on the bottom of this tier.
Tier 2: Low-tier P5 home runs
This is the start of where Illinois and Rutgers are looking
8. Gus Malzahn, if fired, HC Auburn Tigers
I’m putting him on here because Auburn refuses to commit to him long-term and their fans and boosters are extremely thirsty to fire him. He’ll be out of work for less than a week, and Illinois would be stupid to not call him the second he’s fired.
9. Luke Fickell, HC Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincy just had its first win against a ranked team in 10 years, knocking off the UCF Knights, as Fickell’s stifling defense put the brakes on UCF while a solid ground game salted the game away. Fickell is going to be highly sought-after with his deep background in Midwestern recruiting.
10. Rod Carey, HC Temple Owls
This is a weird one, as he’s in his first year at Temple, but he has the Owls at 4-1 since taking over from Geoff Collins and boasts a 56-31 overall record as a D1 HC. It’ll cost $10M to buy him out, but his Owls have proven to be a defensive stalwart. Ask Maryland about them.
11. Chris Creighton, HC Eastern Michigan Eagles
Yes, Illinois is bad. Yes, they just got smashed by Central Michigan. But there’s no denying that Eastern Michigan is the toughest job in FBS football, and Creighton has helmed the Eagles to two of the four bowl games in their program’s history. Since 2016, he’s 22-21. At Eastern Michigan. Is your school a tougher place to win than it has any right to be? Here’s your man.
12. Craig Bohl, HC Wyoming Cowboys
After a rough start to his tenure at Wyoming, his Cowboys played for a conference title in his third season and he’s been at or above .500 in the two seasons since. Currently, his Cowboys are 4-1 with a win over Missouri. The question is whether or not he wants to start over somewhere else at 60.
13. Jeff Tedford, HC Fresno State Bulldogs
The longtime California Golden Bears head coach is 24-8 as the Fresno State head coach since his return to the sidelines after a five-year hiatus. Like Bohl, there’s a question of whether or not he wants to move across the country and start over at 57.
14. Jay Norvell, HC Nevada Wolfpack
Though his team just got nuked by Hawaii, Norvell gets into this tier by volume of experience. He led a surprising 8-5 campaign last year in his second season, but has spent nearly 25 years in the ranks of major conference college football, coaching at Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona State. Unusually, he went from an all-Big Ten defensive player to an offensive coach, and a school that really wants someone that has experience with successful major college football coaching could do worse than the 56-year-old Norvell.
15. Lance Leipold, HC Buffalo Bulls
Losing a lot of experienced starters from last year’s team has set back the 2019 Bulls, who are currently 2-4, but Leipold built Buffalo from nothing. The D3 coaching legend is probably looking to move up the ranks quickly.
16. Seth Littrell, HC North Texas Mean Green
The Mean Green just dropped a weird one to Houston. The 40-year-old Littrell remains a hot name with his 25-20 record in Denton and his experience in Air Raid coaching.
17. Mike Norvell, HC Memphis Tigers
The 37-year-old wunderkind took over for Justin Fuente in Memphis and boasts a 31-14 record with an 18-7 conference mark since taking over. The Todd Graham protege is one of the highest-paid G5 coaches and will surely be in demand after defeating an SEC team at home this year.
18. Todd Graham, Freelancer
The 54-year-old former head coach of Tulsa, Pitt and Arizona State remains unemployed after being fired following a 7-6 campaign with the Sun Devils in 2017 that brought his record in Tempe to 46-32. In twelve seasons as an FBS head coach, he has a 95-61 record and has two losing seasons, both 5-7 campaigns. He’s shown P5 recruiting acumen and has built quality coaching staffs, and it’s a bit of a mystery to me why he’s out in the cold.
19. Sonny Dykes, HC SMU Mustangs
The 49-year-old Dykes was fired from Cal and immediately took over SMU, and after a 5-7 campaign in his first year he currently has them 6-0 and ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the NCAA death penalty fiasco. Shane Buechele helps, but Dykes still deserves credit for going on the road to play a ranked TCU team and coming away with the Iron Skillet, bringing it to SMU for the first time since 2011 and only the third time in the last 20 years. There’s a path to a conference title here. Dykes suffered a 1-11 season his first year at Cal, but went 18-19 in the three following years, making one bowl game in year 3. His tenure at SMU may make him attractive to a school looking for experience.
Tier 3: Promising prospects
These coaches could very well be in Tier 2 by season’s end, but have a few too many unanswered questions to call them no-doubt home runs
20. Graham Harrell, Offensive Coordinator, USC Trojans
The 34-year-old Air Raid disciple is playing a key role in saving Clay Helton’s job with the Trojans after working as the OC under Seth Littrell at North Texas. If you want to take “young, exciting coach with a fun offense” to the extreme, here you go.
21. Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator, Clemson Tigers
Venables is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the country and has served as the Tigers’ DC since being dismisssed from Oklahoma in 2011. He’s had three head coach bosses: Bill Snyder, Bob Stoops and Dabo Swinney. Not bad. There’s some doubt as to whether or not he wants to be a head coach, however, as he’s reportedly turned down multiple offers.
22. Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator, LSU Tigers
The 42-year-old Aranda is in a similar position to Venables, making a salary of over $2M as an assistant coach after LSU pried him away from the Wisconsin sideline. Like Venables, it’s not clear if he wants to be a head coach.
23. Willie Fritz, HC Tulane Green Wave
Fritz’ Green Wave just won an epic battle of flexbone-based offenses against Army, and only a 24-6 loss to Auburn blemishes their record.
24. Jeff Monken, HC Army Black Knights
The other side of the aforementioned battle was helmed by Monken, a Peoria native who is now 38-30 in West Point despite a 6-18 record across his first two seasons. It’s impossible to have watched him coach against Michigan without coveting his situational awareness and ability to coach fundamentally sound defense with good technique.
25. Ken Niumatalolo, HC Navy Midshipmen
The third triple-option guy in a row ends up in this position because of how similar his story is to the two ranked above him, but Monken has surpassed him as the most sought-after service academy coach
26. Lane Kiffin, HC Florida Atlantic Owls
I think everyone’s familiar with Joey Freshwater by now.
27. Steve Sarkisian, Offensive Coordinator, Alabama Crimson Tide
Since his midseason firing from USC, Sarkisian has been to rehab, re-emerged into the football world and spent a couple years in the NFL. All accounts are that he’s stayed out of trouble since then, and a coach who rebuilt Washington from a Ty Willingham garbage fire into a perennial bowl team should merit some interest for a program looking to buy low on a 45-year-old with a 31-26 career record in PAC-12 conference games.
28. Blake Anderson, HC Arkansas State Red Wolves
Anderson’s worst season as a head coach was his 7-6 debut at Arkansas State, which he followed up with two straight Sun Belt titles. Anderson was the OC/QB coach for the Austin Davis edition of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles under Larry Fedora that went 12-1, and also worked under Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Rickey Bustle, whose name is just a treat to say.
29. Jason Candle, HC Toledo Rockets
The jury has been out on the 39-year-old Candle as the successor to Matt Campbell while the football world waits to see if he can sustain what his predecessor built. After coaching an experienced team to 11 wins, a 7-6 record last year wasn’t a huge confidence-builder, but the Rockets currently boast a 4-1 record after turning away BYU.
30. Billy Napier, HC Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
Napier has coached under Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban, coaching QBs and WRs and doing a lot of ground work with recruiting. He spent a season as the Arizona State OC under Todd Graham before being tapped as the Ragin Cajuns head coach. In his first season, he took Louisiana to the Sun Belt title game, and they’re currently 4-1 with only a 10-point loss to Mississippi State counting against them.
31. Mike Houston, HC East Carolina Pirates
Houston is in his first season at the helm of an East Carolina program that had run aground under Scottie Montgomery, and he’s already matched the 3 wins Montgomery posted in each of his three seasons. It’ll be interesting to see how he does as the ECU coach; the 47-year-old Houston was formerly the head coach of The Citadel, where he was responsible for their 23-22 upset of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Most recently, he coached the James Madison Dukes to a 37-6 record in three seasons, winning the FCS Championship in 2016 with a run that included a 27-17 road victory over North Dakota State. His second season saw an undefeated record carried into the championship game, where the Bison got revenge in a 17-13 contest. A 54-20 record at the D1 level makes Houston worth watching.
32. Jamey Chadwell, HC Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
According to Wikipedia, nobody knows for sure when Chadwell was born, but most estimates place the year around 1977. Chadwell came to Coastal Carolina to serve as the offensive coordinator in their first season in FBS football in 2017, but unexpectedly served as the interim head coach while head coach and TD Ameritrade chairman (yes really) Joe Moglia during his medical leave. Chadwell served as the OC in 2018 and then was handed the reins when Moglia retired following that season. Chadwell was previously the head coach of the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, taking over a program in 2013 that was so putrid in 2012 that the inaugural Tim Beckman Fighting Illini put up a 44-0 shutout against them, with Reilly O’Toole going 26 for 31 for 333 yards and 5 touchdowns. Chadwell led Charleston Southern to a 35-14 record over four seasons, including two Big South conference titles. This accounts for most of his 41-25 D1 head coaching record. This year’s Chanticleers are 3-2 with a road win at Kansas and losses to Eastern Michigan and Appalachian State. This is another coach whose stock could take off.
33. Josh Heupel, HC UCF Knights
Heupel’s Knights dropped to 4-2 after losing at Cincinnati, and the question is being raised now as to how much of UCF’s success in 2018 Heupel was directly responsible for. He’ll need to prove that a UCF program with his identity is a winner. Power 5 schools that are looking to hire you away don’t usually do so because their extremely successful coach left for a different job. The jury’s still out on Heupel, so buyer beware.
34. Bill Clark, HC UAB Blazers
Bill Clark’s 29-15 record at the revitalized UAB program is impressive, but the reason he’s down here so low is because the strategy he used to maximize the impact of UAB’s first several teams back is not repeatable and though his 11-win campaign was a huge statement, I want to see how he does in the next couple of seasons.
35. Alex Grinch, Defensive Coordinator, Oklahoma Sooners
Grinch is a disciple of Gary Pinkel’s who has since been a difference-making DC for Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars. Urban Meyer saw fit to hire him as a position coach before Oklahoma hired him to shore up Mike Stoops’ soft run defense. At 39, Grinch is a rising star whose heart may grow three sizes on Saturday if his unit can shut down Sam Ehlinger.
36. Todd Monken, Offensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns
The elder Monken has been in the NFL calling plays and coaching receivers since 2016, but prior to that he inherited the Southern Miss Golden Eagles as head coach after their disastrous 0-12 season under Ellis Johnson. After two rebuilding seasons, Monken broke through with Nick Mullens at quarterback and went 9-5 with a division championship. He was previously the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy and has bounced between the NFL and college football for most of his career.
Tier 4: If You Can Justify It
These coaches have the potential to be embraced by your fans, but you’d better have a good explanation for hiring them at this point.
37. Randy Shannon, Defensive Coordinator, UCF Knights
Hard to believe he’s only 53, isn’t it? Shannon is best remembered as the Miami Hurricanes’ head coach from 2007-2010, where he ran the cleanest program Miami has seen since football mattered in Coral Gables. Not only did his team once rate third in FBS in academic progress rating, but there was only one arrest during his four-year tenure. He coached Miami to a 28-22 record, which represented par for the course in the era after all the Butch Davis recruits left. He’s since coached with Gary Patterson and Bret Bielema, most recently coaching the Florida Gators after the departure of Jim McElwain. Hey, if your program’s a scandal minefield, this dude managed to coach at Miami without doing anything greasy, and won six more than he lost.
38. Skip Holtz, HC Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
After flaming out spectacularly at USF, Skip has quietly put together a competitive program in Ruston
39. John Grass, HC Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Grass’ Gamecocks are 37-2 in Ohio Valley Conference play in five seasons and change. Any questions?
40. Nick Rolovich, HC Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Rolovich has revived his alma mater, a program that considered shutting down prior to his arrival. The question is whether or not he would thrive outside of Hawaii, where he clearly loves to be.
41. Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator, Texas Longhorns
Orlando has the odd distinction of coaching in 10 bowl games at 4 different schools
42. Major Applewhite, Analyst, Alabama Crimson Tide
Damn, Houston sure had a short hook for this guy! Two seasons of five-loss ball was all they needed to jettison the 40-year-old coach and bring in Dana Holgorsen. Applewhite has done good work as an offensive coach under Todd Graham, Mack Brown, Nick Saban and Tom Herman.
43. Jim Leavitt, Analyst, Florida State Seminoles
The 62-year-old former Colorado DC was the first head coach for the South Florida Bulls, racking up a 95-57 record as they transitioned from FCS to FBS to CUSA to the Big East. He was fired after punching a player in 2009. Talk about baggage...
44. Chip Long, Offensive Coordinator, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Another member of the Ron Zook coaching tree, Long coached with Mike Norvell at Arizona State and Memphis before being poached by Brian Kelly. This is the kind of 36-year-old assistant that P5 programs want, but they’re not sure why.
45. Chuck Martin, HC Miami (OH) Redhawks
True, Martin’s record is an unimpressive 24-42, but he inherited such a garbage fire from Don Treadwell that it’s a genuine accomplishment that he’s managed a 21-20 conference record in 5+ seasons there.
46. Mark Richt, TV guy
If you’re looking for a retread with no history of rebuilding a struggling program, look no further than Mark Richt. No, Georgia winning between 8 and 10 games a year prior to his arrival does not qualify as “struggling” to me. Nevertheless, Richt coached the Georgia Bulldogs for fourteen seasons and the Miami Hurricanes for three, going 171-64 and never missing a bowl. One hell of a resume for sure, but there’s nothing that suggests he could win 8 games at Rutgers.
47. Bret Bielema, DL coach, New England Patriots
Speaking of SEC retreads, Bret Bielema took over a successful Wisconsin Badgers program from Barry Alvarez and managed to keep the momentum going. Arkansas lured him away with a big paycheck to replace John L. Smith, but really to replace Bobby Petrino after his motorcycle ride had ended his tenure in the offseason. A chaotic situation saw Bert go winless in conference play in 2013, but take the Razorberts to three straight bowl games before finally going 4-8 and being fired in 2017.
48. Butch Jones, Analyst, Alabama Crimson Tide
Here’s another one! Butchell joined the Nick Saban Isle of Misfit Toys after failing at Tennessee. Unlike his tenures at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, Jones did not have the luxury of succeeding Brian Kelly at Tennessee, and though he took a 30-21 record into his fifth year with two straight nine-win seasons, he could not deal with key contributors graduating and was fired after going 0-6 in SEC play.
49. Al Golden, LB Coach, Detroit Lions
Not all retreads are from the SEC! Golden made his mark at Temple as the defense-oriented head coach with a strong 3-4 defense, but this produced a 32-25 record that was ended with a 58-0 defeat at the hands of Clemson. The New Jersey native is a sharp dresser.
50. Brian Bohannon, HC Kennesaw State Owls
The two-time defending Big South champion Owls are 3-1 this year and 40-13 over the life of their program, all under the 48-year-old Bohannon. A Paul Johnson disciple, he oversaw the implementation of the Turnover Plank at KSU.
51. Brock Spack, HC Illinois State Redbirds
Spack’s mustache is undefeated, but his team has a 3-2 record this year, dropping 24-10 to Northern Illinois but being spanked 37-3 by NDSU. He’s 77-47 overall in Bloomington-Normal.
52. Bo Pelini, HC Youngstown State Penguins
Bo has been underwhelming since his debut season appearance in the FCS Championship Game. Still, the Penguins are 4-1 this year.
53. Greg Schiano, Schiano Man
The last time a Big Ten school gave the reins to a fired Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, that coach went 2-1 against Rutgers. If you’re Rutgers, perhaps you want to restore the competitive edge in the Illinutgers series.
54. Mike Yurcich, Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State Buckeyes
An OC and QB coach under Mike Gundy, the 43-year-old Yurcich was tapped by Ryan Day as the Buckeye OC. Mason Rudolph’s coach has some things to prove, but is clearly going places.
55. Beau Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator, California Golden Bears
Oddly, his stock has fallen during his tenure as the Cal OC under Justin Wilcox. He previously served as the head coach of the Eastern Washington Eagles, racking up an 85-32 record and the 2010 FCS National Championship to go along with five Big Sky championships in nine seasons. The Eagles became known as a thorn in the side of the PAC-10/12 after their 2010 title run, with games including a 30-27 loss at Washington, a 24-20 loss at Washington State, a 49-46 win at #25 Oregon State, a 59-52 loss at Washington, a 61-42 loss at #7 Oregon and a 45-42 win at Washington State. Wilcox is turning heads at California, but Baldwin’s offense has yet to catch up to the defense at Berkley.
56. Bob Surace, HC Princeton Tigers
Surace is in his tenth season as the head man at Princeton, where he’s won the Ivy League three times. His Tigers haven’t lost a game since 2017 and are currently 3-0. He is a Princeton alumnus and might be hard-pressed to leave, but if he continues on this streak he’ll just get too hot not to be noticed.
57. Chad Lunsford, HC Georgia Southern Eagles
Lunsford is the most successful interim head coach in recent memory. He took over the reins at Georgia Southern after Tyson Summers was fired in 2017 and led the winless Eagles to a 2-4 record over the last six games, then followed that up with a 10-3 campaign in 2018. He’s currently 2-3 against a tough schedule but the 42-year-old should be monitored.
58. Frank Wilson, HC UTSA Roadrunners
Wilson is 17-24 in his fourth season at the helm of the Roadrunners, going 3-9 last year and currently nursing a 2-3 record despite recruiting near the top of C-USA for years. A 45-3 showing against North Texas has dampened his stock as a head coach, but he has some time to recover. He was LSU’s ace recruiter from 2010 to 2015, which is the 45-year-old’s claim to fame.
59. Matt Viator, HC Louisiana Monroe Warhawks
Viator’s Warhawks are 2-3 after losing to Memphis, but one loss was a 45-44 overtime loss at Florida State. Viator came so close to brightening all of our lives by knocking off the Seminoles on the road, but alas, he will try to claw ULM’s way to a second straight bowl game. The 56 year old Viator was previously the head coach at McNeese State, where he won four Southland conference titles while posting a 78-33 record.
60. Matt Canada, Freelancer
Canada’s history as an offensive position coach and coordinator is quite extensive for a 47-year-old, and he handled the interim job at Maryland admirably, but it’s understandable that they’d want to just move on from the DJ Durkin era entirely. However, I’d like to see what Canada can do in, say, the Fun Belt as a head coach.
61. Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator, Missisippi State Bulldogs
The Shooper went 7-23 as the head coach of notably athletics-averse Columbia, and has also served as defensive coordinator under James Franklin at Vanderbilt and Penn State.
Tier 5: Still A Ways Off
These are coaches that you’re maybe watching to see if they could be the next coach after the coach you’re about to hire inevitably crashes and burns in three or four years. There’s promise here, but you NEED to see more first.
62. Jake Spavital, HC Texas State Bobcats
The 34-year-old offensive whiz kid is already well-traveled, working under Gus Malzahn, Dana Holgorsen, Mike Gundy, Kevin Sumlin and Sonny Dykes. In that time, he’s coached Brandon Weeden, Geno Smith, Johnny Manziel and Will Grier. He’s 2-3 in his inaugural season at Texas State and is definitely one to keep an eye on.
63. Will Healy, HC Charlotte 49ers
Another 34-year-old, Healy actually has some head coaching experience at the FCS level. Healy played for Dave Clawson and Mike London at Richmond and started on the latter’s 2009 FCS championship team. He served as a recruiting coordinator and passing game coordinator for Chattanooga until Austin Peay hired him in 2016. Though the traditionally moribund Governors finished 0-11 in his first season, his 2016 class was top-5 in FCS football and his 2017 class was #1 in the nation at that level. He oversaw an 8-win improvement to 8-4, including a 7-1 OVC record. This garnered him OVC Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson award. He is in his first season at Charlotte, a C-USA team that has never made a bowl game, and is currently 2-3.
64. Tyson Helton, HC Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Clay Helton’s younger brother was part of his staff the year Sam Darnold broke out, and also served as Jeff Brohm’s offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky.
65. Scott Loeffler, HC Bowling Green Falcons
Loeffler has had quite a career as an assistant, first joining Lloyd Carr’s staff at Michigan before spending a season in the NFL in 2008. He was then hired by Urban Meyer to develop Tim Tebow in 2009 and then followed Steve Addazio to Temple before serving as Auburn and Virginia Tech’s OC and QB coach. Most recently, he rejoined Addazio at Boston College. He is now tasked with making Bowling Green competitive again.
66. Tony Elliott, Offensive Coordinator, Clemson Tigers
The 39-year-old Elliott is a Clemson alum whose entire career has taken place in South Carolina. The 2017 winner of the Broyles Award will need to strike it out on his own before gaining interest from major programs as a head coach.
67. Curt Mallory, HC Indiana State Sycamores
The son of Indiana Hoosiers coaching legend Bill Mallory, the 50-year-old Curt took over a Sycamores team that was bad enough to finish 0-11 in his first season at the helm (2017). In his second season, they finished 7-4, tying for third in the tough MVFC and missing out on a playoff berth via head-to-head tiebreaker with Northern Iowa. They’re currently 2-3; Mallory remains an intriguing developmental prospect, but will need to show more than one unusually good season.
68. Walt Bell, HC Massachusetts Minutemen
The 35-year-old Bell has a tall task ahead of him to make UMass stop being terrible. He served as an offensive assistant under Larry Fedora, Blake Anderson, DJ Durkin and Willie Taggart.
69. Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Key previously worked in the same position at Alabama after getting his start under George O’Leary.
70. Paul Petrino, HC Idaho Vandals
The younger Petrino will go down in history as the last coach to ever win a bowl game for the Vandals, who dropped to FCS in 2018. Despite this, he finished the first season for Idaho in the Big Sky with a 4-7 record and the 52-year-old former Illinois Fighting Illini OC is probably not going to climb this ladder.
71. Tosh Lupoi, Defensive Line Coach, Cleveland Browns
The 37 year old Lupoi served as defensive coordinator for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide after Kirby Smart left for Georgia. Prior to that, he was a linebackers coach on the same staff.
72. Jimmy Lake, Defensive Coordinator, Washington Huskies
The Chris Petersen coaching tree may be starting to bear fruit. At 42, Lake has spent most of his career in the Pacific Northwest, but also spent three years in the NFL
73. Eric Bienemy, Offensive Coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs
The former Colorado tailback has spent most of his career in the NFL, but did coach at Colorado and UCLA.
74. Jedd Fisch, Offensive Assistant, Los Angeles Rams
One of many former Michigan offensive coaches, he went 1-1 as the interim head coach at UCLA and seems to bounce between P5 ball and the NFL.
75. Derek Mason, if fired, HC Vanderbilt Commodores
Mason is on this list becasue when I put it together last year, he was in tier 1 after leading Vanderbilt back to two bowls in three years. However, his 1-4 start has taken the shine off of him.
Tier 6: Nah
Here are some dudes that were on this list when I put it together last year that have since fallen out of favor
76. Charlie Strong, HC South Florida Bulls
77. Mike Bobo, HC Colorado State Rams
Bobo is probably not long for his position in Fort Collins as his Rams have underachieved relative to the talent he’s brought in. His schedule has done him no favors in his 1-5 start, but the Mountain West is tough and he has too much talent to produce such poor results.
78. Bob Diaco, Defensive Coordinator, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
They’ll have to make a playoff run with a streak of shutouts for im to ever live down his tenure at UConn.
79. Pep Hamilton, HC/GM, DC Defenders
Yet another former Michigan offensive coach, ol’ Peppy will be the man in charge of the XFL’s DC Defenders. Perhaps he can parlay that into another job in the NFL?
80. Rod Smith, Offensive Coordinator, Illinois Fighting Illini
Dude took a big gamble on himself and lost. Rumor has it he was offered the head coaching position at James Madison following Mike Houston’s departure. I bet he wakes up every day regretting this as he confronts the fact that even if he had a healthy run-first quarterback, there’s now a year of tape on how to beat his offense. Somehow, his offense has become substantially worse than Lovie Smith’s abominable defense.