Skip to main content

What these coaches have done with second chances could pave the way for more second chance hires

A look at the latest AP Top 25 poll shows three programs now led by a head coach that was once fired from a previous head coaching job - Ed Orgeron at LSU, Mario Cristobal at Oregon, and Sonny Dykes at SMU.

Two of those those three coaches have something in common - they went from fired head coach to assistant at a top program to learn how to get better.

For Mario Cristobal, who was let go at FIU just a year removed from an 8-win season, it was first to Alabama as an assistant head coach and offensive line coach for Nick Saban and then to Oregon under Willie Taggardas co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

What specifically did Cristobal learn since his 27-47 stint at FIU?

“It all comes down to the fit, it comes down to the people they surround themselves with, the vision, the work ethic, the integrity. And there are some people who have done a good job with that, and I think it’s great,” he told USA Today.

For Ed Orgeron, he went from fired at Ole Miss to one year stints with the Saints and Tennesse as an assistant. From there he went out to USC (where he served as the interim head coach in 2013 going 6-2), and then finally to LSU. As Zach pointed out earlier this week, Orgeron is also unique in that he's never served as a coordinator at any of his previous stops and has built a career on being an outstanding recruiter instead.

Now he has the Tigers as a legit national title contender, led by the Heisman trophy frontrunner.

The lone outlier among those three is Sonny Dykes, who went from being let go as the head coach at Cal, to an offensive analyst role for a season at TCU before being hired to lead the SMU program. Before leaving for Cal, Dykes built up the Lousiana Tech program, winning 8 and 9 games in his final seasons there.

These coaches are just the latest examples of guys who have learned from their head coaching experience, then took an opportunity to learn under some really good coaches before making the most of their second chance.

Who could that be in this next year's coaching carousel?