Our great game of football is forever attached to certain cities and colleges.
New Brunswick, New Jersey will always be the birthplace of football after Rutgers and Princeton played in the first college football game. Canton will forever be known for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Youngstown, OH also has a special place in football as well as it serves as the birthplace of a lot of current coaches including the Stoops and Pelini brothers, as well as Bob Davie and 49ers CEO Jed York.
Then there is Miami (OH), who has famously staked the claim to The Cradle of Coaches with an impressive list including names like Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Randy Walker, John Harbaugh and Sean McVay. That's a history and track record that is impossible to argue.
(If you haven't caught on yet, you'll soon see a theme here with Ohio dominating this conversation.)
For a few years now, thanks to the reach of Barstool Sports, there has been a trend of pointing out "Football Guys" for a variety of reasons on social media, and a lot of those mentions go viral. I feel like the time has come for us to recognize "Football Guy U," as a special place where Football Guys have cut their teeth and prepared them for a future in football.
(Ok, so the name may not be as catchy as "Cradle of Coaches" yet, but it certainly gets the point across in a modern and relevant way.)
A number of colleges can stake claim to developing multiple NFL coaches and executives, but there has really been one small college program that really stands out.
John Carroll (D-III - OH) has been churning out "Football Guys" for years, but as of most recently, they're known for where Brandon Staley cut his teeth as a play caller. Staley served as the football program's defensive coordinator in 2013 and again from 2015-16 and just landed the head coaching job for the Chargers.
But that is far from where the branches of the tree stops. John Carroll has also helped produced a number of guys in high profile, key NFL roles, and some of them in prime position to land NFL head coaching jobs like Staley, sooner rather than later.
Those guys include: Chargers GM Tom Telesco, new Texans GM Nick Caserio, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, Bills OC Brian Daboll, Ravens OC Greg Roman, Patriots assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler, as well as former Jags GM Dave Caldwell and former Colts GM Chris Polian. Tip of the cap to Albert Breer for the run down of those folks with John Carroll ties, which also includes Don Shula - whom the stadium at JCU is named after.
That's a really impressive list that has to be second to none.
The other small school worthy of consideration with a number of guys that are either head coaches of premier programs, or could break through as head coaches very, very soon is Mount Union (D-III - OH).
Of course, Mount Union is where Iowa State's Matt Campbell and Toledo's Jason Candle played and started his career as a full-time coach, but it is also where names like Dom Capers, Nick Sirianni (Colts OC), Alex Grinch (Oklahoma DC), Vince Kehres (Toledo DC) and Ed Warinner (Michigan OL coach) played college ball as well on top of the already outstanding careers former longtime Mount Union head coaches like Larry Kehres, Ken Wable and most recently Vince Kehres.
Want a career in the NFL or college football? Seems like you would have an above average shot if you chose to attend school, or get your coaching start at John Carroll or go to play ball at Mount Union and form meaningful connections with folks there.
Moving forward, in your football conversations about small college football, John Carroll should henceforth be mentioned as "Football Guy U."
Those wishing for a debate, can then bring up Mount Union for some good controversy.