When you think of the longest tenured major college football coaches of all time, names like Bobby Bowden, Frank Beamer, Joe Paterno, and Bobby Dodd come to mind. But are there colleges and universities out there that historically have something in their D.N.A. where they employ coaches the longest?
Obviously, there are a ton of factors in play there like coach performance, who the athletic director is, coaching turnover, and all that kind of stuff, but a user going by the name u/bjo on Reddit crunched the numbers on the amount of coaches each Power Five program has had, the max number of years a coach has been with the program, the average number of years, and the average number of games coached.
The results that were uncovered are pretty fascinating.
The top 15, ranked by average of amount of games coached, has some schools you probably wouldn’t expect to see so high on the list – like Rutgers at #5!
With the top of the list being dominated by tenures like Bowden at Florida State, Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, Woody Hayes at Ohio State, and Paterno at Penn State, the top 15 is rounded out by Rutgers, Michigan, Utah, USC, Oklahoma, Georgia, West Virginia, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Michigan State, and Alabama.
Well how about the flip side of that?
On the other side of things, Army has been through the most coaches (which makes Jeff Monken’s success there as of late even more impressive) with 36 coaches lasting just over 3.5 years and just over 34 games. They’re joined at the bottom by Purdue, Virginia, Kansas, Mississippi State, Pitt, Wake Forest, Navy, South Carolina, North Carolina, Northwestern, Arkansas, Iowa State, NC State and Ole Miss to round out the bottom 15.
Other interesting nuggets gathered from the research:
- Florida State is the only Power Five program that has had single-digit head coaches (9)
- Kentucky, Stanford, and Kansas are all knotted at 9 years as the longest they’ve given a single head coach. At Stanford, that head coach is currently in place building on that number in David Shaw.
Recently, programs like Rutgers and Vanderbilt may have struggled on the field and fanbases have grown vocally impatient, but the numbers show that those are two programs that have historically given coaches time to get things heading in the right direction.
These numbers (and perhaps doing you own research at the smaller college level) might be helpful, and something to consider if you find yourself in position to join a college program. The coaching profession gets its fair share of criticism for the lack of job security, but research like this shows that there are some programs that have historically given coaches longer than others.