The most unstable job in football: NFL offensive coordinator
If one day you happen to find yourself so fortunate enough to snare an offensive coordinator job in the NFL…. rent.
Inspired by Adam Schefter, FootballScoop learned that both offensive coordinators in Sunday’s Super Bowl have been in their current jobs for the past three seasons. That’s not surprising. What is surprising – stunning, even – is that only 10 percent of their peers, three in 30, have been around that long as well. Only five of the 32 NFL offensive coordinators have lasted three seasons. That’s 15 percent. We’re not going to tell you who they are, so you’ll have to scroll down to find them. And if you know who they are off the top of your head… seek help immediately.
What’s the cause of this constant turnover? Surely much of it is the nature of the job. An offensive coordinator may be the only assistant coach in sports that often takes more criticism than his boss. Much of it is unavoidable, with new staffs bringing in their own guys, and successful coordinators moving up to head coaching jobs, thereby taking costing another coordinator his job. And some of it is just bad hiring. Not many of these names from the 2012 column are knocking on the Lombardi Trophy’s door. You would be surprised how many NFL franchises have actually changed offensive coordinators twice in the past three seasons.
AFC East 2012 OC Current OC Buffalo Bills Curtis Modkins Greg Roman Miami Dolphins Mike Sherman Bill Lazor New England Patriots Josh McDaniels Josh McDaniels New York Jets Tony Sparano Chan Gailey AFC North 2012 OC Current OC Baltimore Ravens Cam Cameron/Jim Caldwell Marc Trestman Cincinnati Bengals Jay Gruden Hue Jackson Cleveland Browns Brad Childress John DeFilippo Pittsburgh Steelers Todd Haley Todd Haley AFC South 2012 OC Current OC Houston Texans Rick Dennison Bill O’Brien* Indianapolis Colts Bruce Arians Pep Hamilton Jacksonville Jaguars Bob Bratkowski Greg Olson Tennessee Titans Dowell Loggains Jason Michael AFC West 2012 OC Current OC Denver Broncos Mike McCoy Rick Dennison Kansas City Chiefs Brian Daboll Doug Pederson Oakland Raiders Greg Knapp Bill Musgrave San Diego Chargers Hal Hunter Frank Reich NFC East 2012 OC Current OC Dallas Cowboys Bill Callahan Scott Linehan New York Giants Kevin Gilbride Ben McAdoo Philadelphia Eagles Marty Mornhinweg Pat Shurmur Washington Redskins Kyle Shanahan Sean McVay NFC North 2012 OC Current OC Chicago Bears Mike Tice Adam Gase Detroit Lions Scott Linehan Joe Lombardi Green Bay Packers Tom Clements Tom Clements Minnesota Vikings Bill Musgrave Norv Turner NFC South 2012 OC Current OC Atlanta Falcons Dirk Koetter None Carolina Panthers Rob Chudzinski Mike Shula New Orleans Saints Pete Carmichael Pete Carmichael Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Sullivan Dirk Koetter NFC West 2012 OC Current OC Arizona Cardinals Mike Miller Tom Moore+ San Francisco 49ers Greg Roman Geep Chryst Seattle Seahawks Darrell Bevell Darrell Bevell St. Louis Rams Brian Schottenheimer None
* – head coach, + – assistant head coach for offense
Bill Clark will not coach in 2015
One of the great unanswered questions of the 2014-15 coaching carousel was where UAB head coach Bill Clark would land. We now have our answer: nowhere.
In an interview with Kevin Scarbinsky of AL.com, Clark revealed he will sit the 2015 season out. Clark had offers, though he declined to say where, but chose to not to take them for two reasons.
First, as a long-time employee in the state of Alabama, Clark becomes fully vested in the state’s Retirement Systems of Alabama. UAB is still paying the final two years of his three-year contract that paid him $500,000 a year, so staying put for a year makes much more long-term sense that hopping on a coordinator or head job elsewhere.
Second, in the minute chance that UAB decides to reinstate football, Clark wants to be there to welcome the program back to life. The school has put together an Athletics Assessment Task Force to analyze the decision a previous study made to cancel football. Clark calls it “a glimmer of hope.”
“My heart is still at UAB,” Clark told AL.com. “I love those people.”
In the meantime, Clark will spend the next year in the same way Ed Orgeron, Greg Schiano, and other many other handsomely-paid unemployed coaches use their downtime. He’ll speak at coaching clinics, visit other staffs, and may even do some TV. “Not sure how that’ll work out,” he said, “but I want to stay connected to the game.”
The top 13 trends from the FBS coaching carousel
With Dan Quinn all but hired as the Atlanta Falcons head coach and only Central Michigan open among the FBS ranks, we thought now was the time to summarize trends from the 2014-15 head coaching hiring season.
As a refresher, here’s where things stand in the NFL:
- First things first: You’ll notice there are only 15 changes, less than half of the 31 changes from just two years ago. It’s the fewest number since only 11 programs swapped coaches between the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The law of averages say we’re in for a much larger number this time next year.
- Why only 15?: Aside from programs choosing to retain their staff for another year rather than role the dice with a coaching change (see: Virginia), perhaps the biggest reason the number stayed so low this year was a lack of chain reactions setting off coaching changes throughout FBS. A year ago, a change at USC caused a change at Washington, which caused a change at Boise State, which caused a change at Arkansas State. Similarly, Mack Brown’s resignation at Texas caused changes at Louisville and Western Kentucky. This year, only one such change occurred, and it had a two-pronged effect. Nebraska’s firing of Bo Pelini and thief-in-the-night hiring of Mike Riley away from Oregon State caused subsequent changes at Wisconsin and Pittsburgh. Rarely do you see a chain reaction go off so close to the original source with a Nebraska firing causing Wisconsin to scramble for a new coach.
Had Michigan not struck gold with the right coach being available at the right time, the Wolverines’ opening could have easily created another opening or three on its own.
- A dividing line between the FBS and the NFL? For the first time since the 2008-09 hiring cycle, an NFL franchise did not swoop in and part an FBS program from its head coach. While that could be a simple product of timing and coincidence, one other trend has become clear. The path of NFL assistant to FBS head coach hasn’t become the slam dunk it once was. After Bill O’Brien left the Patriots for Penn State before the 2012 season and Sean Kugler, Matt Rhule, Ron Turner and P.J. Fleck bolted NFL position coaching jobs for the college ranks a year later, 38 jobs (and counting) have now been filled without an NFL assistant grabbing one.
- Defense need not apply: Seven FBS assistants grabbed their first head coaching jobs – Mike Bobo, Tom Herman, David Beaty, Pat Narduzzi, Chad Morris, Neal Brown and Philip Montgomery. Only Narduzzi comes from the defensive background. He’s also the oldest among the group, and with a break-in date of 1990 waited the longest to get his first head job. Athletics directors want to do two things when making a hire: win games and sell tickets, and it’s abundantly clear they view offense as the shortest route to get there.
At the same time, almost all the NFL open jobs have gone to defensive guys. Why is that? Circumstance? Coincidence? The difference between the two games? Owners trying to find the next Bill Belichick or Pete Carroll? I genuinely have no idea.
- A trend not worth repeating: For the first time since the 2000-01 coaching change season, an FBS school did not hire a black head coach according to the College Football Poll database. Among the coaches hired before the 2001 season: Dennis Franchione (at Alabama), Les Miles (at Oklahoma State), Jim Tressel (at Ohio State), Rich Rodriguez (at West Virginia), Pete Carroll (at USC) and on and on and on. In hiring terms, 2001 was a lifetime ago. Let’s hope this year’s hiring cycle was an anomaly and does not extend into 2015-16.
- Want to hit the big time? Get a job at a Texas high school: One quarter of the 2014-15 hiring class has Texas high school football experience, with former Eustace, Elysian Fields, Bay City, Stephenville and Austin Lake Travis head coach Chad Morris landing at SMU, former North Dallas and Irving MacArthur head coach David Beaty grabbing the Kansas job, former Stephenville and Denton assistant Philip Montgomery taking the Tulsa job, and one-time El Paso Irvin assistant Tony Sanchez landing at UNLV. (Admittedly, the last one is a stretch but go with me here.)
Additionally, DeSoto head coach Claude Mathis is now coaching running backs at SMU, Spring Westfield head coach Corby Meekins joined Tom Herman’s staff at Houston as tight ends coach, and former Arlington Bowie head coach Kenny Perry left a job as TCU’s cornerbacks coach as Kansas’ co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach. Morris, Beaty and Sanchez join Sonny Dykes (California), Art Briles (Baylor) and David Bailiff (Rice) among FBS coaches with experience in the Texas high school ranks.
- The Wild, Wild American West: Three American Athletic Conference West Division (which forms in 2015, for those of you that aren’t realignment nerds) programs, all located in urban areas in the same region of the country, all tore the exact same page from the book in making their head coaching hires. First, SMU hired Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, then Tulsa hired Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery, and then Houston plucked Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman to serve as its head coach. Those three offenses combined to post 41.6 points and 501 yards per game – and those numbers would have been much higher if not for quarterback troubles at Clemson. Together with defending AAC champion Memphis (36.2 points per game) and Navy (31.8 points per game), the American West should be one of the most entertaining divisions to follow in the coming years.
- A most welcomed (non) change: For the first time since the 2009-10 seasons, Arkansas State will retain its head coach for a second consecutive year.
- If you’re an Air Raid team and like your defensive coordinator, give him a hug: The Texas Tech defensive coordinator job came open Sept. 18 and wasn’t filled until Jan. 5. Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator slot came open Nov. 28 and stayed open until New Year’s Eve. Washington State? Nov. 30 and Jan. 14. Philip Montgomery needed nearly a full month to hire his defensive coordinator. A lot of extenuating circumstances went into each of those searches, but that’s a long time for each program to go without a defensive coordinator.
- Strangest decision: That would go to former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone. There are 32 NFL head coaching jobs, and he backed out of one of them without another job waiting. Sure, he’ll get paid like a head coach, but do you think he spent the early days of his career dreaming of being the Bills’ head coach or the Jaguars’ offensive line coach?
- Best negotiating tactic: Though some didn’t see it that way, Jeremy Foley’s pursuit of Jim McElwain was brilliant. Knowing Florida couldn’t (or just flat wouldn’t) pay his $7.5 million buyout, Foley made his pursuit of McElwain – and, just as important, McElwain’s pursuit of the Florida job – as public as possible. In the process, he made the idea of McElwain returning to Fort Collins untenable, thereby giving Florida some leverage with Colorado State’s administration. In the end, Foley knocked $2.5 million off the buyout, with a $2 million guarantee game in Gainesville in the future.
- SEC swap meet: Though only Florida changed head coaches, the following schools have made coordinator changes, either by choice or necessity – Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. All told, 11 of the 14 schools will have changed play callers on one side of the ball or the other.
- The SEC gets even more competitive: Florida’s change at head coach and Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator change created a game of musical chairs that saw college football’s most competitive conference – on the field and in recruiting – find a way to get even more homicidally competitive. The league lost D.J. Durkin to Michigan, but in the process gained Ed Orgeron and Tosh Lupoi and saw Will Muschamp jump back into a more active role on the recruiting trail.
While most head jobs are under wraps, the coaching carousel for assistant jobs is still spinning at warp speed in both the NFL and college football. As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Pat Narduzzi details his biggest challenges since taking the Pitt job
During Pat Narduzzi’s first few weeks as the head coach at Pitt he was trying to get things set up for his first head coaching job in the Steel City, all while trying to prepare for the Cotton Bowl where he’d face the explosive Baylor offense in his last stand as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator.
While Narduzzi has had his share of challenges as a first time head coach in the FBS, he explained that the hardest job to date had been hiring the right mix of guys to fill out his staff.
“That’s probably the hardest job I’ve had so far, putting together a staff and getting the right people,” Narduzzi told MLive.
“Too often you see guys, (like) Charlie Strong in one year at Texas, he’s already fired two guys and you look throughout the country and after one year, boom, they (assistants) can be gone. That can’t happen at Pitt, and that can’t happen anywhere I’ve been in charge.”
“Continuity has been a big thing for me at Michigan State and Cincinnati. One of the reasons Pitt was such an attractive job is because it’s a job where assistant coaches can come and be happy as long as the head coach stays there.”
As a defensive guy, Narduzzi’s approach at Pitt had originally been to focus on the defense, and let offensive coordinator Jim Chaney run the offensive side of things without much direct supervision, but a number of guys that Narduzzi has talked to has recently have advised him against that approach, at least to start with.
“My initial intentions are to let it go, but through this last month, I’ve talked to a ton of head coaches that say, ‘Hey Pat, keep your hands on it early, then let it go — don’t let it go and have to come back in,’ which makes a whole lot of sense,”
“I don’t want to be one of those guys where you are so into it that it drives you nuts,” he added. “My job is still to coach all the coaches and make sure practices are run the way we want them to be run and organized.
ACC releases 2015 schedule
The last of the Power Five leagues to keep next season’s schedule under wraps, the ACC finally unrolled its 2015 slate on Thursday morning.
Once again, the ACC takes center stage on opening weekend with North Carolina meeting South Carolina in Charlotte on Thursday, Sept. 3., Louisville facing Auburn at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, Sept. 5, and Virginia Tech hosting defending national champion Ohio State on Labor Day night of Sept. 7.
Speaking of weeknight games, the first major conference to embrace non-Saturday games has a major presence on both Thursday and Friday nights.
Thursday Night Games
– North Carolina vs. South Carolina (at Charlotte), Sept. 3
– Clemson at Louisville, Sept. 17
– North Carolina at Pittsburgh, Oct. 29
– Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Nov. 12
Friday Night Games
– Florida State at Boston College, Sept. 18
– Boise State at Virginia, Sept. 25
– N.C. State at Virginia Tech, Nov. 9
– Louisville at Wake Forest, Oct. 30
– Miami at Pittsburgh, Nov. 27
Now in its second year of Olympic sports memberships, Notre Dame will up its ACC dosage in 2015 with six quasi-conference games.
Notre Dame vs. the ACC
– Notre Dame at Virginia, Sept. 12
– Georgia Tech at Notre Dame, Sept. 19
– Notre Dame at Clemson, Oct. 3
– Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, Nov. 7
– Wake Forest at Notre Dame, Nov. 14
– Boston College at Notre Dame (at Fenway Park), Nov. 21.
Some other notes…
– The Annual ACC Game of the Year – Florida State vs. Clemson – will take place Nov. 7 at Death Valley. With a light week in the other leagues, it’s a safe bet College GameDay makes its fourth straight visit to ‘Noles-Tigers.
The #ACC will play a higher percentage of Power Five teams (38%) than any other Power Five conference.
— Dave Miller (@Miller_Dave) January 29, 2015
– A big year for Mike London doesn’t start easy. Virginia opens the year at UCLA, then returns home to face Notre Dame and Boise State. Consider this your early leader for college football’s most difficult non-conference slate.
– Pat Narduzzi’s first game as Pittsburgh’s head coach is a home date with the Fighting Bo Pelinis of Youngstown State. His first ACC game comes Oct. 3 at Virginia Tech. After the Youngstown State opener, the Panthers play five of their next six on the road. Brutal.
– Finally, the ACC Championship will once again be played at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 5.