If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know wants to be a head coach some day. If that’s you, what’s your 10 year plan? (Please tell me you have a 10 year plan.)

As part of a yearly research project, I keep tabs on where the current stock of FBS head coaches were in their respective climbs 10 years ago.

In a frustration experienced by job seekers across every industry, the easiest way to get an FBS head coaching job is to… already be an FBS head coach. Of the 130 current occupants of that office, 31 were FBS head coaches at this point in 2008, the largest of the 13 subsets that produce FBS head coaches.

The next best way to be an FBS head coach is to be a Power 5 coordinator or position coach. Twenty current FBS head coaches were Power 5 position coaches in 2008, while 19 were coordinators.

So, yes, the majority of Power 5 head coaches — 70 of 130; 53.8 percent — were already FBS head coaches or Power 5 assistants at this point one decade ago.

But that doesn’t mean the past most traveled is the only way to reach the holy grail. New Kent State head coach Sean Lewis was the offensive coordinator at an Illinois high school at this point in 2008. Chad Morris went from a high school to running his own SEC program. Current coaching wonder boy Scott Frost was a position coach at FCS Northern Iowa at this point in 2008. Mizzou head coach Barry Odom went from DFO to head coach over that span.

2008 Job Number Percentage
FBS Head Coach 31 23.8%
Power 5 Position Coach 20 15.4%
Power 5 Coordinator 19 14.6%
Group of 5 Position Coach 13 10%
Group of 5 Coordinator 9 6.9%
Sub-FBS Head Coach 9 6.9%
Sub-FBS Assistant 7 5.4%
Support Staffer 6 4.6%
NFL Assistant 5 3.8%
High School Coach 4 3.1%
NFL Head Coach 3 2.3%
Out of Coaching 3 2.3%
Arena Head Coach 1 0.8%

Before we dive in, a few nuggets:

  • Of the 31 current head coaches who were also FBS head coaches a decade ago, more were coaching at other schools (17) than their current one (14).
  • If I’m an AD looking for one subset to keep an eye on from 2018 to 2028, it’s Group of 5 coordinators. The nine head coaches who were in that group a decade ago: Neal Brown, Bryan Harsin, Tom Herman, Clay Helton, Dana Holgorsen, Gus Malzahn, Joe Moorhead, Matt Rhule and Justin Wilcox.
  • Ten programs have seen multiple assistants on their 2008 staffs become FBS head coaches: Stanford (leading the way with four), Florida (three), Arizona (three), Clemson, Texas, Baylor, Southern Miss, Duke, Alabama and Houston.
  • Coaches that made good on the “One day, I’m going to be running this place” promises that you know every one of them made to themselves: Neal Brown (Troy), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Dan Mullen (Florida), Barry Odom (Missouri) and Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State).

Without further ado, the list:

American
East Division
Geoff Collins, Temple — UCF linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator
Randy Edsall, Connecticut — Connecticut head coach
Josh Heupel, UCF — Oklahoma quarterbacks coach
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati — Ohio State linebackers coach
Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina — Duke wide receivers coach
Charlie Strong, South Florida — Florida defensive coordinator

West Division
Major Applewhite, Houston — Texas running backs coach
Sonny Dykes, SMU — Arizona offensive coordinator
Willie Fritz, Tulane — Central Missouri head coach
Philip Montgomery, Tulsa — Baylor QBs and RBs coach
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy — Navy head coach
Mike Norvell, Memphis — Tulsa wide receivers coach

ACC
Atlantic Division
Steve Addazio, Boston College — Florida offensive line coach
Dino Babers, Syracuse — Baylor wide receivers coach
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest — Tennessee offensive coordinator
Dave Doeren, NC State — Wisconsin defensive coordinator
Bobby Petrino, Louisville — Arkansas head coach
Dabo Swinney, Clemson — Clemson wide receivers coach
Willie Taggart, Florida State — Stanford running backs coach

Coastal Division
David Cutcliffe, Duke — Duke head coach
Larry Fedora, North Carolina — Southern Miss head coach
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech — TCU running backs coach
Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech — Georgia Tech head coach
Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia — BYU head coach
Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh — Michigan State defensive coordinator
Mark Richt, Miami — Georgia head coach

Big 12
David Beaty, Kansas — Kansas wide receivers coach
Matt Campbell, Iowa State — Bowling Green offensive line coach
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State — Oklahoma State head coach
Tom Herman, Texas — Rice offensive coordinator
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia — Houston offensive coordinator
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech — Houston quality control assistant
Gary Patterson, TCU — TCU head coach
Matt Rhule, Baylor — Temple offensive coordinator
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma — Texas Tech inside receivers coach
Bill Snyder, Kansas State — Out of coaching

Big Ten
East
Tom Allen, Indiana — Lambuth defensive coordinator
Chris Ash, Rutgers — San Diego State defensive backs coach
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State — Michigan State head coach
D.J. Durkin, Maryland — Stanford defensive ends coach/special teams coordinator
James Franklin, Penn State — Maryland offensive coordinator
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan — Stanford head coach
Urban Meyer, Ohio State — Florida head coach

West
Jeff Brohm, Purdue — Louisville offensive coordinator
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin — Wisconsin offensive coordinator
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa — Iowa head coach
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern — Northwestern head coach
P.J. Fleck, Minnesota — Northern Illinois wide receivers coach
Scott Frost, Nebraska — Northern Iowa linebackers coach
Lovie Smith, Illinois — Head coach of the Chicago Bears

Conference USA
East
Butch Davis, FIU — North Carolina head coach
Doc Holliday, Marshall — West Virginia tight ends/fullbacks coach
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic — Oakland Raiders head coach
Brad Lambert, Charlotte — Wake Forest defensive coordinator
Mike Sanford, Western Kentucky — Stanford offensive assistant
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee — Middle Tennessee head coach
Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion — Old Dominion head coach

West
Mike Bloomgren, Rice — New York Jets quality control assistant
Bill Clark, UAB — South Alabama defensive coordinator
Dana Dimel, UTEP — Arizona tight ends/running backs coach
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech — East Carolina head coach
Jay Hopson, Southern Miss — Michigan linebackers coach
Seth Littrell, North Texas — Texas Tech running backs coach
Frank Wilson, UTSA — Southern Miss running backs coach

FBS Indepdenents
Turner Gill, Liberty — Buffalo head coach
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame — Cincinnati head coach
Doug Martin, New Mexico State — Kent State head coach
Jeff Monken, Army — Georgia Tech running backs coach/special teams coordinator
Kalani Sitake, BYU — Utah linebackers coach
Mark Whipple, Massachusetts — Philadelphia Eagles offensive assistant

MAC
East
Terry Bowden, Akron — Out of coaching
Mike Jinks, Bowling Green — Cibolo Steele (Texas) High School head coach
Lance Leipold, Buffalo — Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach
Sean Lewis, Kent State — Richards (Ill.) High School offensive coordinator
Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio) — Grand Valley State head coach
Frank Solich, Ohio — Ohio head coach

West
John Bonamego, Central Michigan — Miami Dolphins special teams coordinator
Jason Candle, Toledo — Mount Union offensive coordinator
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois — North Dakota offensive line coach
Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan — Drake head coach
Tim Lester, Western Michigan — Elmhurst head coach
Mike Neu, Ball State — New Orleans VooDoo head coach

Mountain West
Mountain
Mike Bobo, Colorado State — Georgia offensive coordinator
Craig Bohl, Wyoming — North Dakota State head coach
Troy Calhoun, Air Force — Air Force head coach
Bob Davie, New Mexico — Out of coaching
Bryan Harsin, Boise State — Boise State offensive coordinator
Matt Wells, Utah State — New Mexico wide receivers coach

West
Brent Brennan, San Jose State — San Jose State tight ends coach
Rocky Long, San Diego State — New Mexico head coach
Jay Norvell, Nevada — Oklahoma wide receivers coach
Nick Rolovich, Hawaii — Hawaii quarterbacks coach
Tony Sanchez, UNLV — San Ramon (Calif.) High School head coach
Jeff Tedford, Fresno State — California head coach

Pac-12
North
Mario Cristobal, Oregon — Florida International head coach
Mike Leach, Washington State — Texas Tech head coach
Chris Petersen, Washington — Boise State head coach
David Shaw, Stanford — Stanford offensive coordinator
Jonathan Smith, Oregon State — Idaho quarterbacks coach
Justin Wilcox, California — Boise State defensive coordinator

South
Herm Edwards, Arizona State — Kansas City Chiefs head coach
Clay Helton, USC — Memphis offensive coordinator
Chip Kelly, UCLA — Oregon offensive coordinator
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado — Duke defensive coordinator
Kevin Sumlin, Arizona — Houston head coach
Kyle Whittingham, Utah — Utah head coach

SEC
East
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt — Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach
Will Muschamp, South Carolina — Texas defensive coordinator
Dan Mullen, Florida — Florida offensive coordinator
Barry Odom, Missouri — Missouri director of football operations
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee — Alabama director of player development
Kirby Smart, Georgia — Alabama defensive coordinator
Mark Stoops, Kentucky — Arizona defensive coordinator

West
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M — Florida State offensive coordinator
Matt Luke, Ole Miss — Duke offensive line coach
Gus Malzahn, Auburn — Tulsa quarterbacks coach
Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State — Akron offensive coordinator
Chad Morris, Arkansas — Austin Lake Travis (Texas) High School head coach
Ed Orgeron, LSU — New Orleans Saints defensive line coach
Nick Saban, Alabama — Alabama head coach

Sun Belt
Blake Anderson, Arkansas State — Southern Miss quarterbacks coach
Neal Brown, Troy — Troy offensive coordinator
Steve Campbell, South Alabama — Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College head coach
Shawn Elliott, Georgia State — Appalachian State offensive line coach
Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern — Auburn director of scouting
Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina — Nebraska executive advisor to the head coach
Billy Napier, Louisiana-Lafayette — Clemson tight ends coach
Scott Sattersfield, Appalachian State — Appalachian State quarterbacks coach
Matt Viator, Louisiana-Monroe — McNeese State head coach
Everett Withers, Texas State — North Carolina defensive coordinator

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.