There’s never been time when coaching football at the college level was not a grind, but the grind has become even grindier in recent years. Thanks to the new calendar that turns recruiting into a year-long endeavor, smart phones that take the office with you wherever you go, and an explosion of money that have increased the money and the pressure to an exponential degree, it takes more hunger, more drive, more energy than it ever has to survive.
So it should come as no surprise that coaching, particular at the position coach level, has become a young man’s game.
Paul Myerberg of USA Today put some research behind what we’ve known for a while anecdotally.
In studying 114 of the 130 FBS coaching staffs, Myerberg found that the average age of an FBS staff is 42.5 years old. Group of 5 staffs averaged 40.6 years, while Power 5 averaged 44.2.
As one would expect, 22 of the 25 youngest staffs are at the Group of 5 level, including the top seven. That group is led by Old Dominion (average age: 32.4) and Charlotte (34), who are helmed by 39-year-old Ricky Rahne and 35-year-old Will Healy, respectively.
“I think there’s just an eagerness — not saying that as an older coach you can’t be a successful coach,” South Florida head coach Jeff Scott told USA Today. “I just know that being the age I am, I turn 40 later this December, I just know a lot of guys that are kind of in that age I am and maybe even younger that are really eager to go out and hit the ground running.”
Six Power 5 staffs had an average age of 40 or younger, including Duke (38.4), who is led by the 65-year-old David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe balanced his experience with six assistants age 34 or younger.
The oldest staff in the country, by far, belonged to LSU. The defending national champions average 55.2 years on their coaching staff, making them 10 percent older than the next oldest staff (Pitt, 50.1).