Earlier this week, we posed the following question on Twitter:
The feedback we received was heart warming. Here is a look at some of the men who were recommended by their peers as hidden gems in college football. By no means is this a definitive list, think of it more as a starting point.
To avoid confusion... Some of these guys are happily employed. However, their peers recommended them to us as "underemployed". We could add a hundred different coaches to the list, but again, these are a handful of guys that were recommended by their peers.
Chad Walker - Defensive Coordinator, Mississippi College. Walker got his start as a student assistant under Nick Saban at LSU in 2000. GA positions at ULM and West Virginia brought him back to LSU, where Walker ultimately followed Saban to the Miami Dolphins, where he worked under Will Muschamp as a defensive quality control assistant. He spent two years as the defensive coordinator at Bryant before arriving at Mississippi College, where he has developed two All-America cornerbacks and a conference Rookie of the Year at safety.
Brian Crist - most recently: Wide Receivers, Massachusetts: Every Sunday when you watch Victor Cruz streaking down the field and salsa dancing in the end zone, remember that it was Brian Crist who developed him at UMass. One former player said of Crist, who has been out of the game for a year, "if a head coach wants an assistant coach that can recruit with passion, develop talent and inspire young men, he's your guy."
Jimmy Lindsey - Defensive Line, Furman. Lindsey has produced great results Chattanooga, Tennessee - Martin, Miami (Ohio), Gardner-Webb and, most recently, Furman. He was described to us as someone who "recruits the Atlanta area as well as anyone on any level."
Chris Malone - most recently: Offensive Line, James Madison. Malone's offensive fronts put James Madison's attack at the tops of the CAA offensive charts annually. He also developed a handful of all-conference honorees, including former Pittsburgh Steeler Dorian Brooks. Malone also helped produce fantastic results at VMI, Massachusetts, Virginia Tech and Fork Union Military Academy.
David Braun - Co-Defensive Coordinator, Winona State (D-II - MN): Braun has spent most of his adult life in the Winona State program, wearing the Warriors' purple as a player, graduate assistant and now as a co-defensive coordinator. He made one-year stop as the defensive coordinator at Culver-Stockton, where his unit created 25 sacks and 25 turnovers. Braun helped produce multiple all-conference honorees in his first season back at Winona State.
Penn State guys - Tom Bradley, Kermit Buggs, Galen Hall, Bill Kenney, and Jay Paterno, that led an 8-1 team before scandal hit State College last November.
Vernon Hargreaves - most recently: Defensive Ends/Special Teams, South Florida: Hargreaves spent a dozen years coaching linebackers at Connecticut and coached linebackers during the Butch Davis/Larry Coker glory days at Miami. His NFL proteges could fill a Pro Bowl roster. But he has bounced around since leaving Miami in 2005, spending one year at FIU, a spring at Bowling Green, three years at East Carolina and three seasons on Skip Holtz's staff at USF.
Dave Johnson - Tight Ends, Cincinnati. Johnson developed a number of NFL tight ends at Georgia before coaching at West Virginia, his alma mater, under Bill Stewart. Johnson has spent the last two seasons on Butch Jones' staff at Cincinnati.
There certainly are plenty more excellent coaches out there who should be working at a higher level. Who needs to be on here next time? Email us at email@example.com with your suggestions.