Without question, the most impressive coaching tree in college football today begins with Urban Meyer.
A total of 11 former assistants under Meyer have gone on to varying degrees of success with their own programs and their experience ranges from big time programs like Texas, to non Power Five schools like North Texas and Bowling Green. The Meyer coaching tree includes guys like Steve Addazio (Temple and Boston College), Gary Andersen (Utah State, Wisconsin and Oregon State), and Doc Holliday (Marshall), to Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Charlie Strong (Louisville and Texas), Kyle Whittingham (Utah) and Tom Herman (Houston). Dan McCarney (North Texas), Mike Sanford (UNLV) Tim Beckman (Illinois) and Gregg Brandon (Bowling Green) are also members of the elite club.
Asked about Urban's influence after practice the other day, Dan Mullen (who started with Meyer back at Bowling Green in 2001) explained what makes the Meyer coaching tree so special, and it starts with an outline.
"One thing that you'll see from a lot of guys on the tree, is that the outline doesn't change. Now how everyone applies that outline is probably very different. I've had people come in here and say, 'Well you run your program very similar to how Urban runs his,' but if you're there watching it, it's actually very different."
"I was with him from day one at Bowling Green through, so I know the plan works, and how it works, but I also know that I'm not him, Steve [Addazio] isn't him, so you can't try to imitate him, or be like him. You have to be yourself."
"Well use this outline and apply it to yourself and your beliefs of a program, and you're going to be successful. Guys that were assistants under him, understood that, and that's what he always encouraged people to do. Just coach to your strengths. This is the outline - it works - and just apply your strengths to that outline."