Fall camp is underway across the country, which means the season is finally around the corner! This year I have split the season preview into four parts: Coaches, Rosters, Schedules, and Projections. First up we’ll take a look at coaching, how it impacts a team’s success, how much turnover can be expected year-to-year, and how intertwined coaching ties have become at the Power 5 level.
This value represents the rate which a coach wins games compared to their expectation, in terms of win probability. The input data is the most recent 4 seasons which a coach has led his current team, weighted towards the most recent seasons. If a coach has been with his team for fewer than 4 seasons, then his full tenure with the current team is used.
As an example, Paul Chryst* has the highest win/expectation rate among active coaches, at .3212. This means that Chryst increases Wisconsin’s win probability relative to their roster strength by approximately .32 standard deviations. By default, all coaches in their first year with a team start the season at zero and the rate adjusts after each game.
Coaches on the bottom end of the spectrum are likely to be fired without marked improvement. For reference, the lowest win/expectation rate in 2016 was Charlie Strong at Texas, with a rate of -.3126.
The inherent bias in this scale favors coaches who don’t recruit as strongly but win a lot of games, and penalizes coaches who recruit very strong rosters. This is why you don’t see names like Nick Saban or Urban Meyer near the top of this list (their recruiting prowess will be recognized in the Rosters preview).
*This high win expectation rate at Wisconsin tends to exist regardless of who is their current head coach, suggesting that recruiting ranking services are undervaluing Wisconsin prospects.
Highest win/expectation rates heading into 2017:
|Air Force||Troy Calhoun||0.3189|
|Appalachian State||Scott Satterfield||0.2496|
|West Virginia||Dana Holgorsen||0.2242|
|Washington State||Mike Leach||0.2159|
|Virginia Tech||Justin Fuente||0.2051|
Lowest win/expectation rates:
|East Carolina||Scottie Montgomery||-0.1735|
|Texas State||Everett Withers||-0.2029|
|Notre Dame||Brian Kelly||-0.2438|
|UCLA||Jim L. Mora||-0.3007|
It’s not realistic to say a coach is actually on the hot seat in year 2 so most of these guys don’t belong in that conversation just yet, though if they under-perform expectations again their names may come up in that discussion next year. Brian Kelly and Jim Mora, on the other hand, desperately need to have a successful 2017. It’s interesting to see BYU with one of the highest rates and their former coach Bronco Mendenhall with the lowest rate. Another year will shed light on whether he is a good fit at Virginia.
FBS coaching turnover rate is typically around 22 coaches per year, and 2017 falls right in line with 23 coaches starting their first season with their team. The lowest number of new coaches to start a season since 1987 was 11 in 1988 followed by 12 in 2006. The highest number of new coaches was 33 to start the 2013 season.
|Team||New Coach||Coach’s Previous Stop|
|Baylor||Matt Rhule||Temple, Head Coach|
|California||Justin Wilcox||Wisconsin, DC|
|Cincinnati||Luke Fickell||Ohio State, co-DC|
|Connecticut||Randy Edsall||Detroit Lions, staff|
|Florida Atlantic||Lane Kiffin||Alabama, OC|
|Florida International||Butch Davis||North Carolina, HC (2010)|
|Fresno State||Jeff Tedford||Washington, staff|
|Georgia State||Shawn Elliott||South Carolina, OL|
|Houston||Major Applewhite||Houston, OC|
|Indiana||Tom Allen||Indiana, DC|
|LSU||Ed Orgeron||LSU, DL & interim Head Coach|
|Minnesota||P. J. Fleck||Western Michigan, Head Coach|
|Nevada||Jay Norvell||Arizona State, PGC|
|Oklahoma||Lincoln Riley||Oklahoma, OC|
|Ole Miss||Matt Luke||Ole Miss, OC|
|Oregon||Willie Taggart||South Florida, Head Coach|
|Purdue||Jeff Brohm||Western Kentucky, Head Coach|
|San Jose State||Brent Brennan||Oregon State, WR|
|South Florida||Charlie Strong||Texas, Head Coach|
|Temple||Geoff Collins||Florida, DC|
|Texas||Tom Herman||Houston, Head Coach|
|Western Kentucky||Mike Sanford Jr||Notre Dame, OC|
|Western Michigan||Tim Lester||Purdue, QB|
Iowa is the only FBS program to have the same coach since 2000. Houston and Georgia Southern have experienced the most coaching turnover in that time, each with 7 different head coaches during the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa.
Next Man Up (Power 5 only)
In order to prepare for inevitable turnover, athletic directors across the country need to have a list of names ready to go should a replacement be needed on short notice. Here are some names that are likely to be in the conversation for Power 5 openings in 2018, as well as candidates with ties* to each Power 5 school:
Available Big-Name coaches:
Art Briles– Fired amidst scandal at Baylor. At age 61 and carrying recent baggage, it is unlikely that Briles will land a head coaching gig again, but a desperate program may take a flyer on him at OC.
Jeff Fisher– Most recently coached the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, Fisher has never coached outside of the NFL. At age 59, he may be content to stay out of coaching, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see his name floated around for high-profile college openings.
Hugh Freeze– Very recently let go at Ole Miss, Freeze may be a little toxic for a year or so. However, if Bobby Petrino can bounce back from his incident, Freeze should be able to as well. Freeze is only 47 years old; he’ll be back in coaching one day.
Jim Grobe– Last seen as Baylor’s interim coach in 2016, but at age 65 is probably not a viable head coaching hire anymore.
Mark Helfrich– Fired from Oregon after a disappointing 2016 season, but just 3 years removed from a national championship game appearance. Only 43 years old, Helfrich will definitely get another shot very soon.
Chip Kelly– Possibly the biggest name out there at the moment. Kelly will be mentioned for every high profile college and NFL opening until he accepts an offer. At 53 years old, he’s got plenty of years left in the tank.
Les Miles– Fired mid-season 2016 at LSU, but Miles is still very much a viable head-coaching candidate and has expressed interest in wanting to get back in the game ASAP. He’ll turn 64 this fall, but Miles would be a great get for a program looking to make a quick splash in recruiting.
Bo Pelini– Currently the head coach for FCS Youngstown State, but Pelini is way too good of a coach to stay at that level for long. He’s only 49 years old, and last year took the Penguins to the FCS championship game. He won 9 or 10 games in each of his 7 seasons as Nebraska’s head coach.
Bob Stoops– Recently retired from Oklahoma and has publicly stated he wants to enjoy his retirement, but programs will definitely attempt to lure Stoops back into the game. He’ll turn 57 this season.
Jim Tressel– Currently the president at Youngstown State. It seems like if Tressel was going to get back into coaching it would’ve happened for the 2017 season, as his show-cause penalty expired in December 2016. He’s 64 years old, so it’s difficult to imagine a high-profile program chasing him, but this would be a very splashy hire for anyone looking to get a little publicity.
Tommy Tuberville– Most recently fired from Cincinnati, Tuberville may not grab another head coaching gig at age 62, but would be an appealing addition to a staff for recruiting purposes.
|Team||Current Coach||Replacement Candidate & connection|
|Alabama||Nick Saban||Dabo Swinney, Clemson head coach- former Alabama player & WR coach|
|Arizona State||Todd Graham||Jay Norvell, Nevada head coach- former Arizona State PGC|
|Arizona||Rich Rodriguez||Dino Babers, Syracuse head coach- former Arizona OC|
|Arkansas||Bret Bielema||Gus Malzahn, Auburn head coach- former Arkansas OC|
|Auburn||Gus Malzahn||Jimbo Fisher, Florida State head coach- former Auburn QB coach|
|Baylor||Matt Rhule||Philip Montgomery, Tulsa head coach- former Baylor OC|
|Boston College||Steve Addazio||Doug Martin, New Mexico State head coach- former Boston College OC|
|California||Justin Wilcox||Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns head coach- former California OC|
|Clemson||Dabo Swinney||Chad Morris, SMU head coach- former Clemson OC|
|Colorado||Mike MacIntyre||Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern head coach- former Colorado GA|
|Duke||David Cutcliffe||Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina head coach- former Duke OC|
|Florida||Jim McElwain||Geoff Collins, Temple head coach- former Florida DC|
|Florida State||Jimbo Fisher||Kirby Smart, Georgia head coach- former Florida State GA|
|Georgia||Kirby Smart||Mike Bobo, Colorado State head coach- former Georgia OC|
|Georgia Tech||Paul Johnson||Jeff Monken, Army head coach- former Georgia Tech RB coach|
|Illinois||Lovie Smith||Paul Petrino, Idaho head coach- former Illinois OC|
|Indiana||Tom Allen||Rod Carey, Northern Illinois head coach- former Indiana player|
|Iowa||Kirk Ferentz||Bret Bielema, Arkansas head coach- former Iowa player & LB coach|
|Iowa State||Matt Campbell||Chris Ash, Rutgers head coach- former Iowa State DB coach|
|Kansas||David Beaty||Dave Doeren, North Carolina State head coach- former Kansas co-DC|
|Kansas State||Bill Snyder||Brad Lambert, Charlotte head coach- former Kansas State player|
|Kentucky||Mark Stoops||Neal Brown, Troy head coach- former Kentucky OC|
|Louisville||Bobby Petrino||Jeff Brohm, Purdue head coach- former Louisville player & OC|
|LSU||Ed Orgeron||Frank Wilson, UTSA head coach- former LSU RB coach|
|Maryland||D.J. Durkin||Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State head coach- former Maryland PGC|
|Miami FL||Mark Richt||Mark Whipple, Massachusetts head coach- former Miami FL OC|
|Michigan State||Mark Dantonio||Pat Narduzzi, Pitt head coach- former Michigan State DC|
|Michigan||Jim Harbaugh||D.J. Durkin, Maryland head coach- former Michigan DC|
|Minnesota||P. J. Fleck||Everett Withers, Texas State head coach- former Minnesota DC|
|Mississippi State||Dan Mullen||Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette head coach- former Mississippi State PGC|
|Missouri||Barry Odom||Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach- former Missouri OC|
|Nebraska||Mike Riley||Scott Frost, Central Florida head coach- former Nebraska player & GA|
|North Carolina||Larry Fedora||Blake Anderson, Arkansas State head coach- former North Carolina OC|
|North Carolina State||Dave Doeren||Doc Holliday, Marshall head coach- former North Carolina State WR coach|
|Northwestern^||Pat Fitzgerald||Kevin Wilson, Ohio State OC- former Northwestern OC|
|Notre Dame||Brian Kelly||Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech head coach, former Notre Dame OC|
|Ohio State||Urban Meyer||Tom Herman, Texas head coach- former Ohio State OC|
|Oklahoma||Lincoln Riley||Seth Littrell, North Texas head coach- former Oklahoma player|
|Oklahoma State||Mike Gundy||Larry Fedora, North Carolina head coach- former Oklahoma State OC|
|Ole Miss||Matt Luke||Tom Allen, Indiana head coach- former Ole Miss LB coach|
|Oregon||Willie Taggart||Chris Petersen, Washington head coach- former Oregon WR coach|
|Oregon State||Gary Andersen||Kalani Sitake, BYU head coach- former Oregon State DC|
|Penn State||James Franklin||Matt Rhule, Baylor head coach- former Penn State player|
|Pitt||Pat Narduzzi||Mike Norvell, Memphis head coach- former Pitt co-OC|
|Purdue||Jeff Brohm||Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M head coach- former Purdue player & WR coach|
|Rutgers||Chris Ash||P.J. Fleck, Minnesota head coach- former Rutgers WR coach|
|South Carolina||Will Muschamp||Shawn Elliott, Georgia State head coach- former South Carolina co-OC|
|Stanford||David Shaw||Willie Taggart, Oregon head coach- former Stanford RB coach|
|Syracuse||Dino Babers||Tim Lester, Western Michigan head coach- former Syracuse OC|
|TCU||Gary Patterson||Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech head coach- former TCU co-OC|
|Tennessee||Butch Jones||Dave Clawson, Wake Forest head coach- former Tennessee OC|
|Texas A&M||Kevin Sumlin||David Beaty, Kansas head coach- former Texas A&M WR coach|
|Texas||Tom Herman||Major Applewhite, Houston head coach- former Texas player & co-OC|
|Texas Tech||Kliff Kingsbury||Mike Jinks, Bowling Green head coach- former Texas Tech RB coach|
|UCLA||Jim L. Mora||Brent Brennan, San Jose State head coach, former UCLA player|
|USC||Clay Helton||Mike Riley, Nebraska head coach- former USC OC|
|Utah||Kyle Whittingham||Gary Andersen, Oregon State head coach- former Utah DC|
|Vanderbilt||Derek Mason||Mike MacIntyre, Colorado head coach- former Vanderbilt player#|
|Virginia||Bronco Mendenhall||No obvious candidate with ties to school|
|Virginia Tech||Justin Fuente||Bud Foster, current Virginia Tech DC|
|Wake Forest||Dave Clawson||Troy Calhoun, Air Force head coach- former Wake Forest OC|
|Washington||Chris Petersen||Jim L. Mora, UCLA head coach- former Washington player & GA|
|Washington State||Mike Leach||James Franklin, Penn State head coach- former Washington State TE coach|
|West Virginia||Dana Holgorsen||Todd Graham, Arizona State head coach- former West Virginia co-DC|
|Wisconsin||Paul Chryst||Justin Wilcox, California head coach- former Wisconsin DC|
*Incredibly, every Power 5 program except Virginia and Virginia Tech has ties to a current head coach in either the NFL or at another FBS program. Note that the viability of candidates with ties to a school may not be great, this is just an illustration of how intertwined the coaching community is today.
^The only active head coach with Northwestern ties is Jim Caldwell with the Detroit Lions. At age 62, Caldwell seemed less likely than Wilson (age 55) as a candidate which would be mentioned as a viable replacement.
#MacIntyre eventually transferred to and graduated from Georgia Tech, but began his college playing career with Vanderbilt.