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Where were they then? Examining where FBS head coaches were 10 years ago

Barry Odom intro

A year ago I started what will become an annual feature of examining where all current FBS head coaches were 10 years ago. The idea was that by taking a look at their respective climbs up the ladder we could encourage our readership by showing just what can be accomplished in 10 years.

Most FBS head coaches fall into familiar patterns. Power 5 head coaches tend to be either A) already a Power 5 head coach, either at their current institution or one of its peers, B) on the fast track as a Power 5 coordinator or assistant, or C) a head coach at a smaller division. The typical Group of 5 head coach was either a position coach, either at his current school or in a Power 5 program or a small college head coach.

But for this exercise, we're not worried about the rules, we want the exceptions to them.

Like Clay Helton. Ten years ago he was an anonymous position coach at one of the most downtrodden programs in college football. Today he holds one of the top five jobs in the sport. Or Barry Odom, ten years ago a director of football operations at Missouri, and today the head coach of that very program.

Then there's new Memphis head coach Mike Norvell. After completing a career as a (hilariously cornrowed) wide receiver, Norvell moved into a graduate assistant role at FCS Central Arkansas. The following year he hooked up with Todd Graham at Tulsa, followed him to Pittsburgh and Arizona State, and now he's the head coach at one of the fastest-rising programs in America.

In fact, if you want to be an FBS head coach, you can be an NFL Europe quarterback (Kliff Kingsbury), an Arena Football League head coach (Mike Neu), a junior college position coach (Nick Rolovich), a Division III assistant (Matt Campbell, Jason Candle, Rod Carey, Lance Leipold), a high school head coach (Tony Sanchez, Chad Morris, Mike Jinks), or out of coaching altogether (Blake Anderson, Terry Bowden, Bill Snyder, Bob Davie).

A few more notes:

- Norvell wasn't the only head coach sitting in the GA chair just a decade ago. He was joined by UCF head coach Scott Frost and Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck.

- Frost and Fleck are part of another interesting group, staffs that produced multiple future head coaches:

  • Florida: Charlie Strong, Dan Mullen, Steve Addazio, Doc Holliday
  • Ohio State: Darrell Hazell, Paul Haynes, P.J. Fleck
  • Texas Tech: Sonny Dykes, Dana Holgorsen, Seth Littrell
  • Boise State: Bryan Harsin and Sean Kugler
  • Kansas State: James Franklin, Scott Frost
  • Mount Union: Matt Campbell, Jason Candle
  • Navy: Ken Niumatalolo, Jeff Monken
  • Oklahoma: Kevin Sumlin, Kevin Wilson
  • Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze, Frank Wilson
  • Utah: Gary Andersen, Kalani Sitake

- Sign of the times: Nine current FBS head coaches were in their same positions a decade ago. That's half as many as the number of coaches that were leading other FBS programs at this point in 2006.

Finally, the full list:

ACC Atlantic
Steve Addazio, Boston College: second-year Florida tackles and tight ends coach
Dino Babers, Syracuse: third-year UCLA asst. head coach/quarterbacks and running backs coach
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest: third-year Richmond head coach
Dave Doeren, N.C. State: first-year Wisconsin co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: seventh-year LSU offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Bobby Petrino, Louisville: fourth-year Louisville head coach
Dabo Swinney, Clemson: fourth-year Clemson wide receivers coach

ACC Coastal
David Cutcliffe, Duke: first-year Tennessee asst. head coach/off. coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Larry Fedora, North Carolina: second-year Oklahoma State offensive coordinator
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech: third-year Illinois State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: fifth-year Navy head coach
Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia: second-year BYU head coach
Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh: third-year Cincinnati defensive coordinator
Mark Richt, Miami: fifth-year Georgia head coach

Big Ten East
Chris Ash, Rutgers: fifth-year Iowa State defensive backs coach
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: third-year Cincinnati head coach
D.J. Durkin, Maryland: first-year Bowling Green linebackers coach/special teams coordinator
James Franklin, Penn State: first-year Kansas State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: third-year San Diego head coach
Urban Meyer, Ohio State: second-year Florida head coach
Kevin Wilson, Indiana: fifth-year Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach

Big Ten West
Tracy Claeys, Minnesota: sixth-year Southern Illinois defensive coordinator
Bill Cubit, Illinois: second-year Western Michigan head coach
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: eighth-year Iowa head coach
Mike Riley, Nebraska: fourth-year Oregon State head coach
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: first-year Northwestern head coach
Darrell Hazell, Purdue: second-year Ohio State assistant head coach/wide receivers coach
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin: first-year Wisconsin offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach

Big 12
David Beaty, Kansas: first-year Rice passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach
Art Briles, Baylor: fourth-year Houston head coach
Matt Campbell, Iowa State: second-year Mount Union offensive coordinator/offensive line coach
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: second-year Oklahoma State head coach
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: second-year Texas Tech co-offensive coord./inside receivers coach
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: first-year Cologne Centurions quarterback
Gary Patterson, TCU: eighth-year TCU head coach
Bill Snyder, Kansas State: out of coaching
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: eighth-year Oklahoma head coach
Charlie Strong, Texas: third-year Florida asst. head coach/co-defensive coord./linebackers coach

Pac-12 South
Clay Helton, USC: fourth-year Memphis wide receivers coach
Todd Graham, Arizona State: first-year Rice head coach
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: fourth-year Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach
Jim Mora, UCLA: third-year Atlanta Falcons head coach
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona: sixth-year West Virginia head coach
Kyle Whittingham, Utah: second-year Utah head coach

Pac-12 North
Gary Andersen, Oregon State: second-year Utah asst. head coach/def. coord./defensive line coach
Sonny Dykes, California: second-year Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator/outside receivers coach
Mark Helfrich, Oregon: first-year Colorado offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Mike Leach, Washington State: seventh-year Texas Tech head coach
Chris Petersen, Washington: first-year Boise State head coach
David Shaw, Stanford: first-year San Diego passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach

SEC East
Jim McElwain, Florida: first-year Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach
Butch Jones, Tennessee: second-year West Virginia wide receivers coach
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: second-year Ohio wide receivers coach
Will Muschamp, South Carolina: first-year Auburn defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach
Barry Odom, Missouri: first-year Missouri director of football operations
Kirby Smart, Georgia: first-year Miami Dolphins safeties coach
Mark Stoops, Kentucky: third-year Arizona defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach

SEC West
Bret Bielema, Arkansas: first-year Wisconsin head coach
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: first-year Ole Miss tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator
Gus Malzahn, Auburn: first-year Arkansas offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach
Les Miles, LSU: second-year LSU head coach
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: second-year Florida offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Nick Saban, Alabama: second-year Miami Dolphins head coach
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: first-year Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach

American East
Bob Diaco, Connecticut: first-year Virginia linebackers coach/special teams coordinator
Scott Frost, Central Florida: first-year Kansas State graduate assistant
Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina: first-year Duke wide receivers coach
Matt Rhule, Temple: first-year Temple defensive line coach
Willie Taggart, South Florida: fourth-year Western Kentucky asst. head coach/quarterbacks coach
Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati: eighth-year Auburn head coach

American West
Willie Fritz, Tulane: tenth-year Central Missouri head coach
Tom Herman, Houston: second-year Texas State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Philip Montgomery, Tulsa: first-year Houston co-OC/quarterbacks and running backs coach
Chad Morris, SMU: fourth-year Stephenville (Texas) High School head coach
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: fifth-year Navy offensive coordinator
Mike Norvell, Memphis: first-year Central Arkansas graduate assistant

Conference USA East
Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky: fourth-year Louisville quarterbacks coach
Doc Holliday, Marshall: second-year Florida associate head coach/safeties coach
Brad Lambert, Charlotte: sixth-year Wake Forest linebackers coach/special teams coordinator
Charlie Partridge, Florida Atlantic: first-year Pittsburgh linebackers coach/special teams coord.
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee: first-year Middle Tennessee head coach
Ron Turner, Florida International: second-year Chicago Bears offensive coordinator
Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion: seventh-year Maine assoc. head coach/off. coordinator/QBs coach

Conference USA West
David Bailiff, Rice: third-year Texas State head coach
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech: second-year East Carolina head coach
Jay Hopson, Southern Miss: second-year Southern Miss defensive coordinator/linebackers coach
Sean Kugler, UTEP: first-year Boise State assistant head coach/offensive line coach
Seth Littrell, North Texas: second-year Texas Tech running backs coach
Frank Wilson, UTSA: second-year Ole Miss running backs coach

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: third-year Central Michigan head coach
Jeff Monken, Army: fifth-year Navy running backs coach/special teams coordiantor
Kalani Sitake, BYU: second-year Utah linebackers coach
Mark Whipple, Massachusetts: third-year Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks coach

MAC East
Terry Bowden, Akron: out of coaching
Paul Haynes, Kent State: second-year Ohio State defensive backs coach
Mike Jinks, Bowling Green: first-year Cibolo Steele (Texas) High School head coach
Lance Leipold, Buffalo: third-year Nebraska-Omaha assistant head coach/offensive coordinator
Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio): third-year Grand Valley State (Mich.) head coach
Frank Solich, Ohio: second-year Ohio head coach

MAC West
John Bonamego, Central Michigan: first-year New Orleans Saints special teams coordinator
Jason Candle, Toledo: fourth-year Mount Union wide receivers coach
Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan: sixth-year Wabash (Ind.) head coach
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois: seventh-year Wisconsin-Stout offensive coord./offensive line coach
P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: first-year Ohio State graduate assistant
Mike Neu, Ball State: third-year New Orleans VooDoo head coach

Mountain West West
Ron Caragher, San Jose State: fourth-year Kentucky running backs coach
Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State: second-year Nevada co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach
Rocky Long, San Diego State: ninth-year New Mexico head coach
Brian Polian, Nevada: second-year Notre Dame special teams coordinator/linebackers assistant
Nick Rolovich, Hawaii: first-year City College of San Francisco quarterbacks coach
Tony Sanchez, UNLV: third-year San Ramon California (Calif.) High School head coach

Mountain West Mountain
Mike Bobo, Colorado State: sixth-year Georgia quarterbacks coach
Craig Bohl, Wyoming: fourth-year North Dakota State head coach
Troy Calhoun, Air Force: first-year Houston Texans offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Bob Davie, New Mexico: out of coaching
Bryan Harsin, Boise State: first-year Boise State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Matt Wells, Utah State: fourth-year Tulsa tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator

Sun Belt
Blake Anderson, Arkansas State: out of coaching
Neal Brown, Troy: first-year Troy inside wide receivers coach
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette: fifth-year North Alabama head coach
Joey Jones, South Alabama: first-year Birmingham-Southern head coach
Doug Martin, New Mexico State: third-year Kent State head coach
Trent Miles, Georgia State: second-year Washington running backs coach
Paul Petrino, Idaho: fourth-year Louisville offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach
Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State: fourth-year Appalachian State quarterbacks coach
Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern: first-year Georgia Southern safeties coach
Matt Viator, Louisiana-Monroe: first-year McNeese State head coach
Everett Withers, Texas State: sixth-year Tennessee Titans defensive backs coach