Mid-Season Coaching Changes Outlook

One of the metrics I use in determining win probability is coaching efficiency, which is essentially measuring how often coaches win/lose when their roster has more/less talent than their opponents. This metric provides an easy to interpret guideline for which coaches are outperforming their talent (and may be sought by other teams in the off-season) and which are under-performing and may find themselves on the hot seat in the near future. First, the most efficient coaches:

Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: Consistently does more with less better than anyone in the country. Navy’s huge win over Houston Saturday should finally put Niumatalolo on the lists of this season’s higher profile job openings. Expected position next year: Most likely will remain at Navy, though he will get some Power 5 offers. Played and was a GA at Hawaii and had a brief stop at UNLV, otherwise has spent his career with Navy. At age 51, still has plenty of years left in him. Look for some west coast schools to give him a call.
Tom Herman, Houston: In just 1.5 years as a head coach, Herman has become the nation’s hottest name. Has connections in southern California as a player, and all over Texas as a coach, including a GA position with the Longhorns. If Charlie Strong is fired, Herman is likely their first choice. Expected position next year: Head coach at Texas. Only 41 years old and plenty of familiarity with local recruiting, this is an easy choice for both parties.
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin: A former Wisconsin QB, Chryst  returned home last year and has the Badgers performing at a high level. After losing Bielema to Arkansas and Andersen to Oregon State, Wisconsin is unlikely to let this one get away so easily. Expected position next year: Chryst will stay at Wisconsin for a long time.
Troy Calhoun, Air Force: Like the other service academies, Air Force runs a unique offense which suits their personnel very well. Calhoun is a former Air Force QB and has been their head coach since 2007. He seems unlikely to leave, but hasn’t really popped up on any Power 5 radars yet. Expected position next year: Head coach at Air Force.
P. J. Fleck, Western Michigan: Fleck has been on the rise for years, and currently has the Broncos on track for an undefeated season and potential NY6 bowl appearance. He is in his 4th year at WMU and is only 35 years old. Has connections in the Big Ten, and very likely will have some choices amongst the Power 5 after this season. Expected position next year: South Bend, Indiana isn’t too far from Kalamazoo…Notre Dame could do a lot worse than PJ Fleck. Purdue should absolutely try to get him, but Fleck likely will have better options. My best guess is PJ Fleck is the head coach for the Irish next season.
Kyle Whittingham, Utah: Played at BYU and has coached in the state of Utah nearly his entire career. Whittingham is 56, so if he doesn’t make a move soon he likely finishes his career with the Utes. Some other PAC12 schools would be well-served to give him a call should they decide to make a change. Expected position next year: If he makes a move, my best guess is he goes to USC. Though I’d be surprised if he doesn’t stay at Utah the rest of his career.
Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State: Played for App St in the 90s, and was their QB coach for their mid-2000s dynasty. Satterfield is only 43 years old, and will have plenty of offers come his way in the near future. Look for a team that needs to help developing quarterbacks to give him a call. Expected position next year: This may not be the splashy hire LSU fans think they should make, but Satterfield would be a great choice for what they need help with the most. My best guess is that he ends up coaching the Tigers in Baton Rouge next season.

The next list of coaches are greatly under-performing their roster talent, and may soon be looking for a new position. These are the coaches with the lowest score in my efficiency metric (excluding coaches in their 1st or 2nd year, with one exception):

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: Kelly has under-performed the roster talent level every year since taking the Irish to the national championship game in 2012. He hasn’t had a bad year until now, however, so he may stick around for another year. But if ND thinks they can get a guy like Fleck to come aboard now, they may need to put their long-term prospects above all else.
Charlie Partridge, Florida Atlantic: In 3 years he has under-performed their roster talent in every season as the Owls head coach. This might imply he has been recruiting well and the future is brighter, but back to back 3-9 seasons followed by a 1-5 start this year may spell the end for Partridge.
Chuck Martin, Miami OH: A former long-time Brian Kelly assistant, Martin has struggled as a head coach. Some guys are just meant to be great coordinators, and that may be where Martin will find the most success going forward.
Mark Whipple, UMass: Whipple holds the same record as Partridge over the past 3 years. UMass may be more patient with football as the school’s secondary sport, but things will need to turn around soon to stay the course with Whipple.
Clay Helton, USC:   Former AD Pat Hadenput USC into a horrible situation by signing Helton to a long-term, expensive contract. Year 1 has been a disaster for a roster loaded with talent. With a new AD in place the Trojans may look to make a move, if they can afford it.
Trent Miles, Georgia State: Miles got off to a disastrous start, with just 1 win over his first 2 years. 2015 looked promising, going 6-6 in the regular season before dropping the bowl game to San Jose State, but 2016 has regressed back to the basement with just a 1-4 start. A close loss at Wisconsin may be promising enough to keep this ride going, but the wins really need to start coming soon.
Charlie Strong, Texas: The Charlie Strong experiment at Texas has largely been a failure. With rumors already swirling that he will be ousted at season’s end, it is very difficult to see a scenario where the Longhorns don’t make a move. Having Herman just down the road can’t make matters better for Strong.


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