Skip to main content

FBS schools still prefer offense over defense, and other trends from the 2018-19 coaching cycle

It's Dec. 14 and the 2018-19 FBS head coaching carousel has completed its final spin. As of this writing, 21 jobs have come open and all 21 have been filled. In fact, as we take a look at the trends and story lines of this year's coaching cycle, that's your first one: one year in, the Early Signing Day is really just Signing Day, and the movers and shakers in college football have responded accordingly.

For those who need a refresher, here's the roster of new head coaches for the 2019 season.

Screen Shot 2018-12-17 at 8.07.44 AM

In no particular order, here are the trends of the 2018-19 FBS coaching cycle:

- "Let's make sure we can score and we'll figure everything else out later." That seems to be the thinking of FBS ADs, where offense has yet again won the day over defense. Of the eight first-time head coaches, six (Walt Bell, UMass; Ryan Day, Ohio State; Eli Drinkwitz, Appalachian State; Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky; Scot Loeffler, Bowling Green; Jake Spavital, Texas State) were offensive coordinators, compared to two (Manny Diaz, Temple; Mel Tucker, Colorado) defensive coordinators.

When including the backgrounds of new head coaches with previous experience in the big chair, the offensive advantage grows to 15-6.

In fact, if you wind the clock back a year, the gap grows even further. Since the end of the 2017 season, a total of 42 new head coaches have been hired. Thirty-four of them had offensive backgrounds. Among first-time head coaches, the offense holds a 12-4 advantage.

- It's easier to get a job if you already have a job.... or if you already had the job. Much was made of Les Miles jumping back in the game at Kansas and Mack Brown's return to North Carolina, but it doesn't stop there. Hugh Freeze (Liberty), Mike Locksley (Maryland), Jim McElwain (Central Michigan) and Gary Andersen (Utah State) all became head coaches again after being fired or resigning from their last head coaching jobs. That's 25 percent of the FBS Head Coaching Class of 2019.

If you want to know what the college football industry thinks about defense these days, consider this: There were more head coaches hired from the ranks of the unemployed (three) than from the roster of active defensive coordinators (two).

- You can definitely see the effects of those massive Power 5 TV contracts. Not one sitting Power 5 head coach left his job for another Power 5 school. The closest equivalent is Geoff Collins leaving Temple for Georgia Tech. Additionally, the money is such that Power 5 coordinators can choose to be picky, which can perhaps explain Akron, Charlotte and James Madison choosing FCS head coaches.

Three Power 5 schools hired Power 5 coordinators, three hired Group of 5 head coaches, while just as many went to an untraditional route of hiring retreads or an FCS head coach.

- It was yet another poor year for hiring minorities. Of the 21 hires, only two (Colorado's Mel Tucker and Maryland's Mike Locksley) are black. Because of that, the number of black head coaches in FBS will drop from 2018 to 2019 -- from 15 to 14 -- after Mike Jinks (Bowling Green), Scottie Montgomery (East Carolina) and Everett Withers (Texas State) were let go from their respective jobs.

- A group of Hall of Fame coaches just left the building. With the retirements of Paul Johnson, Urban Meyer and Bill Snyder, a total of 590 wins, 52 bowl/playoff appearances and at least a share of 26 conference or division championships just left the building. That's got to be a record.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

Tags
terms: