HomeSportsThe second wave of college football's hiring cycle produces some unprecedented movement

The second wave of college football’s hiring cycle produces some unprecedented movement

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After a relatively quiet primary hiring cycle in college football in November and December, the coaching carousel revved up again in January, starting with the sudden retirement of maybe the greatest head coach of all time.

Since Nick Saban stepped down at Alabama on Jan. 10, seven major college football jobs have opened, including at three of the schools that made the playoff.

During the 16 years of the Bowl Championship Series (1998-2013) and the first nine of the College Football Playoff, no team that played in either the BCS title game or a playoff game had ever had to replace its coach the following season.

With former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh heading back to the NFL to coach the Los Angeles Chargers, only Texas with Steve Sarkisian managed to avoid turnover among the semifinalists.

Michigan is the fifth team to win a national championship in the AP poll era, since 1936, and have a new coach the next season. The last was, coincidentally, Nebraska in 1997 when it split the title with Michigan by being voted No. 1 in the final coaches’ poll. Cornhuskers coach Tom Osborne retired after that season and was replaced by longtime assistant Frank Solich in 1998.

Before Saban’s retirement there were 21 coaching changes in FBS, nine at Power 5 schools. That would have been a little below the average of 24.4 changes (11 Power Five) per year from 2018-22.

Now with 28 changes this cycle, and Michigan still open to potentially — if not likely — knock over more dominos, this will go down as one of the wilder hiring seasons in recent memory.

Here’s how it broke down.

Not counting Michigan, the 12 Power 5 schools hired:

Four sitting Power 5 head coaches (Kalen DeBoer, Alabama; Jonathan Smith, Michigan State; Mike Elko, Texas A&M; Jedd Fisch, Washington).

Three sitting Group of 5 head coaches (Brent Brennan, Arizona; Willie Fritz, Houston; Curt Cignetti, Indiana).

Two coordinators from within (David Braun, Northwestern; Trent Bray, Oregon State).

Three sitting Power 5 assistants (Manny Diaz, Duke; Jeff Lebby, Mississippi State; Fran Brown, Syracuse).

The 16 Group of 5 schools hired:

Four assistants from within (Spencer Danielson, Boise State; Tony Sanchez, New Mexico State; Major Applewhite, South Alabama; Jay Sawvell, Wyoming).

One sitting Group of 5 head coach (Jon Sumrall, Troy).

Two FCS head coaches (Bob Chesney, James Madison, Scotty Walden, UTEP).

Two coaches with previous Power 5 head-coaching experience (Derek Mason, Middle Tennessee State; Bronco Mendenhall, New Mexico).

Four coaches with previous Group of 5 head-coaching experience (Pete Lembo, Buffalo; Bryant Vincent, Louisiana-Monroe; Sean Lewis, San Diego State; Ken Niumatalolo, San Jose State).

Two Power 5 assistants (Jeff Choate, Nevada; Gerad Parker, Troy).

Reporting by The Associated Press.


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