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Where Were They Then? 2019 Edition

One of the great paradoxes of modern life is that the safest way to get a job you want is to already have that job. Such is true in FBS. In 2009, 33 of the 130 FBS head coaches of 2019 were already FBS head coaches. When combined with the 11 head coaches at the sub-FBS level and the one NFL head coach, 45 spots were gobbled up by active head coaches.

But that still leaves 85 jobs up for grabs.

Most of the remaining 85 went to coaches on the traditional path, but plenty did not. Ten years ago today, Chad Morris was sitting in his office at Lake Travis High School. East Carolina head coach Mike Houston was not the only head coach not wearing North Dakota State green to win a national title this decade, he was an anonymous Division II defensive coordinator. Texas State's Jake Spavital was a GA. Akron's Tom Arth hadn't even started coaching yet.

As part of a yearlyresearchproject, I keep tabs on where the current stock of FBS head coaches were in their respective climbs 10 years ago, and each year it serves as a reminder that the beaten path isn't the only way to the find the Holy Grail, you just have to be willing to hack your way through the underbrush to get there.

2009 Job



FBS Head Coach



Power 5 Coordinator



Power 5 Position Coach



Group of 5 Position Coach



Sub-FBS Head Coach



Sub-FBS Assistant



Group of 5 Coordinator



High School Coach



FBS Support Staffer



NFL Assistant



Out of Coaching



NFL Head Coach



Before we dive in, a few nuggets:

  • You would not be surprised at all to learn that Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh and Bob Stoops had multiple future FBS head coaches on their 2009 staffs. You may be surprised to learn that Paul Rhoads (Tom Herman, Chris Ash) and Mike Stoops (Sonny Dykes, Mark Stoops, Seth Littrell) did, too.
  • Among the 33 FBS head coaches of 2009, more (19) were in different jobs than they hold today than not (14).

Without further ado, the list:

East Division
Rod Carey -- North Dakota offensive line coach
Randy Edsall, Connecticut -- Connecticut head coach
Josh Heupel, UCF -- Oklahoma quarterbacks coach
Mike Houston, East Carolina -- Lenoir-Rhyne defensive coordinator
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati -- Ohio State linebackers coach
Charlie Strong, South Florida -- Florida defensive coordinator

West Division
Sonny Dykes, SMU -- Arizona offensive coordinator
Willie Fritz, Tulane -- Central Missouri head coach
Dana Holgorsen -- Houston offensive coordinator
Philip Montgomery, Tulsa -- Baylor QBs and RBs coach
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy -- Navy head coach
Mike Norvell, Memphis -- Tulsa wide receivers coach

Atlantic Division
Steve Addazio, Boston College -- Florida offensive coordinator
Dino Babers, Syracuse -- Baylor wide receivers coach
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest -- Bowling Green head coach
Dave Doeren, NC State -- Wisconsin defensive coordinator
Scott Satterfield, Louisville -- Toledo quarterbacks coach
Dabo Swinney, Clemson -- Clemson head coach coach
Willie Taggart, Florida State -- Stanford running backs coach

Coastal Division
Mack Brown, North Carolina -- Texas head coach
Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech -- UCF linebackers coach
David Cutcliffe, Duke -- Duke head coach
Manny Diaz, Miami -- Middle Tennessee defensive coordinator
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech -- TCU quarterbacks coach
Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia -- BYU head coach
Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh -- Michigan State defensive coordinator

Big 12
Neal Brown, West Virginia -- Troy offensive coordinator
Matt Campbell, Iowa State -- Toledo offensive line coach
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State -- Oklahoma State head coach
Tom Herman, Texas -- Iowa State offensive coordinator
Chris Klieman, Kansas State -- Northern Iowa defensive backs coach
Les Miles, Kansas -- LSU head coach
Gary Patterson, TCU -- TCU head coach
Matt Rhule, Baylor -- Temple offensive coordinator
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma -- Texas Tech inside receivers coach
Matt Wells, Texas Tech -- Louisville quarterbacks coach

Big Ten
Tom Allen, Indiana -- Lambuth defensive coordinator
Chris Ash, Rutgers -- Iowa State defensive backs coach
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State -- Michigan State head coach
Ryan Day, Ohio State -- Boston College wide receivers coach
James Franklin, Penn State -- Maryland offensive coordinator
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan -- Stanford head coach
Mike Locksley, Maryland -- New Mexico head coach

Jeff Brohm, Purdue -- Florida Atlantic quarterbacks coach
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin -- Wisconsin offensive coordinator
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa -- Iowa head coach
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern -- Northwestern head coach
PJ Fleck, Minnesota -- Northern Illinois wide receivers coach
Scott Frost, Nebraska -- Oregon wide receivers coach
Lovie Smith, Illinois -- Chicago Bears head coach

Conference USA
Butch Davis, FIU -- North Carolina head coach
Will Healy, Charlotte -- Chattanooga wide receivers coach
Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky -- UAB quarterbacks coach
Doc Holliday, Marshall -- West Virginia tight ends/fullbacks coach
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic -- Tennessee head coach
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee -- Middle Tennessee head coach
Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion -- Old Dominion head coach

Mike Bloomgren, Rice -- New York Jets offensive assistant
Bill Clark, UAB -- South Alabama defensive coordinator
Dana Dimel, UTEP -- Kansas State offensive coordinator
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech -- East Carolina head coach
Jay Hopson, Southern Miss -- Michigan linebackers coach
Seth Littrell, North Texas -- Arizona running backs coach
Frank Wilson, UTSA -- Tennessee wide receivers coach

FBS Indepdenents
Walt Bell, Massachusetts -- Oklahoma State quality control
Hugh Freeze, Liberty -- Lambuth head coach
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame -- Cincinnati head coach
Doug Martin, New Mexico State -- Kent State head coach
Jeff Monken, Army -- Georgia Tech running backs coach
Kalani Sitake, BYU -- Utah defensive coordinator

Tom Arth, Akron -- Out of football
Lance Leipold, Buffalo -- Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach
Sean Lewis, Kent State -- Richards (Ill.) High School offensive coordinator
Scot Loeffler, Bowling Green -- Florida quarterbacks coach
Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio) -- Grand Valley State head coach
Frank Solich, Ohio -- Ohio head coach

Jason Candle, Toledo -- Toledo tight ends coach
Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan -- Drake head coach
Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois -- Minnesota running backs coach
Tim Lester, Western Michigan -- Elmhurst head coach
Jim McElwain, Central Michigan -- Alabama offensive coordinator
Mike Neu, Ball State -- New Orleans Saints scout

Mountain West
Gary Andersen, Utah State -- Utah State head coach
Mike Bobo, Colorado State -- Georgia offensive coordinator
Craig Bohl, Wyoming -- North Dakota State head coach
Troy Calhoun, Air Force -- Air Force head coach
Bob Davie, New Mexico -- ESPN college football analyst
Bryan Harsin, Boise State -- Boise State offensive coordinator

Brent Brennan, San Jose State -- San Jose State offensive line/tight ends coach
Rocky Long, San Diego State -- San Diego State defensive coordinator
Jay Norvell, Nevada -- Oklahoma wide receivers coach
Nick Rolovich, Hawaii -- Hawaii quarterbacks coach
Tony Sanchez, UNLV -- Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High School head coach
Jeff Tedford, Fresno State -- California head coach

Mario Cristobal, Oregon -- Florida International head coach
Mike Leach, Washington State -- Texas Tech head coach
Chris Petersen, Washington -- Boise State head coach
David Shaw, Stanford -- Stanford offensive coordinator
Jonathan Smith, Oregon State -- Idaho quarterbacks coach
Justin Wilcox, California -- Boise State defensive coordinator

Herm Edwards, Arizona State -- ESPN NFL analyst
Clay Helton, USC -- Memphis offensive coordinator
Chip Kelly, UCLA -- Oregon head coach
Kevin Sumlin, Arizona -- Houston head coach
Mel Tucker, Colorado -- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator
Kyle Whittingham, Utah -- Utah head coach

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt -- Minnesota Vikings defensive backs coach
Will Muschamp, South Carolina -- Texas defensive coordinator
Dan Mullen, Florida -- Mississippi State head coach
Barry Odom, Missouri -- Missouri safeties coach
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee -- Alabama director of player development
Kirby Smart, Georgia -- Alabama defensive coordinator
Mark Stoops, Kentucky -- Arizona defensive coordinator

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M -- Florida State offensive coordinator
Matt Luke, Ole Miss -- Duke offensive line coach
Gus Malzahn, Auburn -- Auburn offensive coordinator
Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State -- Connecticut offensive coordinator
Chad Morris, Arkansas -- Lake Travis (Texas) High School head coach
Ed Orgeron, LSU -- Tennessee defensive line coach
Nick Saban, Alabama -- Alabama head coach

Sun Belt
Blake Anderson, Arkansas State -- Southern Miss quarterbacks coach
Steve Campbell, South Alabama -- Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College head coach
Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina -- North Greenville head coach
Eli Drinkwitz, Appalachian State -- Springdale (Ark.) High School offensive coordinator
Shawn Elliott, Georgia State -- Appalachian State offensive line coach
Chip Lindsey, Troy -- Lassiter (Georgia) High School head coach
Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern -- Auburn director of scouting
Billy Napier, Louisiana-Lafayette -- Clemson offensive coordinator
Jake Spavital, Texas State -- Houston graduate assistant
Matt Viator, Louisiana-Monroe -- McNeese head coach