Two years ago I wondered if it would be instructive to look at where each FBS head coach was in his respective path 10 years ago, and it was. So I decided to do it again. And now again.

Through three years of this project, it’s obvious the best way to be an FBS head coach is to… be an FBS head coach. Short of that, the clearest path is to be an FBS coordinator or position coach.

But those are not the only paths. Far from it. Ten years ago, four current FBS head coaches were in high school football. Five were out of coaching altogether. Two were support staff members. One was a Canadian Football League quarterback, one was an Arena Football League head coach, and another split his time between being an Arena League quarterback and coaching quarterbacks at a junior college.

The full list:

2007 Job Total Percentage
FBS Head Coach 32 24.6
FBS Coordinator 30 23.4
FBS Position Coach 28 21.5
Divisional Head Coach 10 7.7
Divisional Assistant Coach 8 6.2
NFL Assistant Coach 6 4.6
Out of Coaching 5 3.8
High School Head Coach 4 3.1
NFL Head Coach 3 2.3
FBS Support Staffer 2 1.5
Arena Football League Head Coach 1 0.8
Canadian Football League Player 1 0.8

– Of the 32 head coaches that were also head coaches a year ago, only 14 have the same job they did in 2007. Thirteen of them have stayed put for 10 or more years, and Randy Edsall (amazingly) moved back to UConn after a 5-year run at Maryland. That leaves 18 head coaches that have remained head coaches but moved around from 2007 to 2017.

– One of the best ways to ensure you’ll become a head coach? Work alongside a future head coach. Thirty-one of the 81 current head coaches who were assistants a decade ago worked alongside an assistant who is currently a head coach. Those 31 coaches were spread across a baker’s dozen different staffs, with two staffs boasting four future head coaches and another three. The head coaches of those programs? Jim Harbaugh, Urban Meyer and Nick Saban.

– Florida (Urban Meyer): Steve Addazio, Doc Holliday, Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong
– Stanford (Jim Harbaugh): D.J. Durkin, David Shaw, Mike Sanford and Willie Taggart
– Alabama (Nick Saban): Major Applewhite, Geoff Collins and Kirby Smart
– Appalachian State (Jerry Moore): Shawn Elliott and Scott Satterfield
– Boise State (Chris Petersen): Bryan Harsin and Justin Wilcox
– Navy (Paul Johnson): Jeff Monken and Ken Niumatalolo
– Ohio State (Jim Tressel): Luke Fickell and Paul Haynes
– Ole Miss (Ed Orgeron): Hugh Freeze and Frank Wilson
– Rice (David Bailiff): David Beaty and Tom Herman
– Texas Tech (Mike Leach): Dana Holgorsen and Seth Littrell
– Tulsa (Todd Graham): Gus Malzahn and Mike Norvell
– UCLA (Karl Dorrell): Dino Babers and Jay Norvell
– Utah (Kyle Whittingham): Gary Andersen and Kalani Sitake

– Coaches that made good on their internal promise to “come back and be the head coach of this place someday, man” — i.e. coaches that now lead programs they served as an assistant — Brent Brennan (San Jose State), Neal Brown (Troy), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State, as head coach-in-waiting), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Ken Niumatalolo (Navy), Barry Odom (Missouri), Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State) and David Shaw (Stanford).

– The most “established” conference is clearly the Big Ten. Half of the league’s 14 head coaches were FBS or NFL head coaches a decade ago, and four more were FBS coordinators or assistant head coaches.

– If you’re a divisional coach looking to work your way up, target the MAC West. Four of its six head coaches were in the sub-FBS ranks in 2007.

AMERICAN
East
Scott Frost, Central Florida — Northern Iowa linebackers coach
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati — Ohio State co-defensive coordinator/LBs coach
Randy Edsall, Connecticut — Connecticut head coach
Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina — Duke wide receivers coach
Charlie Strong, Florida — Florida assistant head coach/co-DC/LBs coach
Geoff Collins, Temple — Alabama director of player personnel

West
Major Applewhite, Houston — Alabama offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Mike Norvell, Memphis — Tulsa wide receivers coach
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy — Navy assistant head coach/offensive line coach
Chad Morris, SMU — Stephenville (Texas) High School head coach
Willie Fritz, Tulane — Central Missouri head coach
Philip Montgomery, Tulsa — Houston co-OC/QBs and RBs coach

ACC
Atlantic
Steve Addazio, Boston College — Florida asst. head coach/offensive line coach
Dabo Swinney, Clemson — Clemson asst. head coach/wide receivers coach
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State — Florida State offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Bobby Petrino, Louisville — Atlanta Falcons head coach
Dave Doeren, NC State — Wisconsin co-defensive coordinator/LBs coach
Dino Babers, Syracuse — UCLA assistant head coach/running backs coach
Dave Clawson, Wake Forest — Richmond head coach

Coastal
David Cutcliffe, Duke — Tennessee asst. head coach/offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech — Navy head coach
Mark Richt, Miami — Georgia head coach
Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh — Michigan State defensive coordinator
Larry Fedora, North Carolina — Oklahoma State offensive coordinator
Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia — BYU head coach
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech — TCU running backs coach

BIG 12
Matt Rhule, Baylor — Temple quarterbacks coach
Matt Campbell, Iowa State — Bowling Green offensive line coach
David Beaty, Kansas — Rice passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach
Bill Snyder, Kansas State — out of coaching
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma — Oklahoma head coach
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State — Oklahoma State head coach
Tom Herman, Texas — Rice offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Gary Patterson, TCU — TCU head coach
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech — Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia — Texas Tech OC/inside receivers coach

BIG TEN
East
Tom Allen, Indiana — Wabash College special teams coordinator/DBs coach
D.J. Durkin, Maryland — Stanford special teams coordinator/DEs coach
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan — Stanford head coach
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State — Michigan State head coach
Urban Meyer, Ohio State — Florida head coach
James Franklin, Penn State — Kansas State offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Chris Ash, Rutgers — San Diego State defensive backs coach

West
Lovie Smith, Illinois — Chicago Bears head coach
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa — Iowa head coach
P.J. Fleck, Minnesota — Northern Illinois wide receivers coach
Mike Riley, Nebraska — Oregon State head coach
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern — Northwestern head coach
Jeff Brohm, Purdue — Louisville asst. head coach/passing game coordinator
Paul Chryst, Wisconsin — Wisconsin offensive coordinator/QBs coach

CONFERENCE USA
East
Brad Lambert, Charlotte — Wake Forest special teams coordinator/LBs coach
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic — Oakland Raiders head coach
Butch Davis, Florida International — North Carolina head coach
Doc Holliday, Marshall — Florida assistant head coach/safeties coach
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee — Middle Tennessee head coach
Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion — Old Dominion head coach
Mike Sanford, Western Kentucky — Stanford quarterbacks coach

West
Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech — East Carolina head coach
Seth Littrell, North Texas — Texas Tech running backs coach
Jay Hopson, Southern Miss — Southern Miss defensive coordinator/LBs coach
David Bailiff, Rice — Rice head coach
Bill Clark, UAB — Prattville (Ala.) High School head coach
Sean Kugler, UTEP — Buffalo Bills assistant offensive line coach
Frank Wilson, UTSA — Ole Miss special teams coordinator/RBs coach

INDEPENDENTS
Jeff Monken, Army — Navy running backs coach/special teams coordinator
Kalani Sitake, BYU — Utah linebackers coach
Mark Whipple, Massachusetts — out of coaching
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame — Cincinnati head coach

MAC
East
Terry Bowden, Akron — out of coaching
Mike Jinks, Bowling Green — Cibolo Steele (Texas) High School head coach
Lance Leipold, Buffalo — Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach
Paul Haynes, Kent State — Ohio State defensive backs coach
Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio) — Grand Valley State head coach
Frank Solich, Ohio — Ohio head coach

West
Mike Neu, Ball State — New Orleans VooDoo head coach
John Bonamego, Central Michigan — New Orleans Saints STs coordinator
Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan — Wabash College head coach
Rod Carey, Northern Illinois — Illinois State offensive line coach
Jason Candle, Toledo — Mount Union offensive coordinator
Tim Lester, Western Michigan — North Central College asst. head coach/DC

MOUNTAIN WEST
Mountain
Troy Calhoun, Air Force — Air Force head coach
Bryan Harsin, Boise State — Boise State offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Mike Bobo, Colorado State — Georgia offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Bob Davie, New Mexico — out of coaching
Matt Wells, Utah State — New Mexico wide receivers coach
Craig Bohl, Wyoming — North Dakota State head coach

West
Jeff Tedford, Fresno State — California head coach
Nick Rolovich, Hawaii — City College of San Francisco quarterbacks coach
Jay Norvell, Nevada — UCLA offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Rocky Long, San Diego State — New Mexico head coach
Brent Brennan, San Jose State — San Jose State tight ends coach
Tony Sanchez, UNLV — San Ramon (Calif.) High School head coach

PAC-12
North
Justin Wilcox, California — Boise State defensive coordinator
Willie Taggart, Oregon — Stanford running backs coach
Gary Andersen, Oregon State — Utah asst. head coach/defensive coordinator
David Shaw — Stanford offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach
Chris Petersen, Washington — Boise State head coach
Mike Leach, Washington State — Texas Tech head coach

South
Rich Rodriguez, Arizona — West Virginia head coach
Todd Graham, Arizona State — Tulsa head coach
Mike MacIntyre, Colorado — New York Jets defensive backs coach
Jim Mora, UCLA — Seattle Seahawks asst. head coach/defensive backs coach
Clay Helton, USC — Memphis offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Kyle Whittingham, Utah — Utah head coach

SEC
East
Jim McElwain, Florida — Fresno State offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Kirby Smart, Georgia — Alabama assistant head coach/DBs coach
Mark Stoops, Kentucky — Arizona defensive coordinator/DBs coach
Barry Odom, Missouri — Missouri director of football operations
Will Muschamp, South Carolina — Auburn defensive coordinator/LBs coach
Butch Jones, Tennessee — Central Michigan head coach
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt — Minnesota Vikings asst. defensive backs coach

West
Nick Saban, Alabama — Alabama head coach
Bret Bielema, Arkansas — Wisconsin head coach
Gus Malzahn, Auburn — Tulsa asst head coach/Co-OC/QBs coach
Ed Orgeron, LSU — Ole Miss head coach
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State — Florida offensive coordinator/QBs coach
Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss — Ole Miss tight ends coach
Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M — Oklahoma Co-OC/WRs coach

SUN BELT
Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State — Appalachian State QBs coach
Blake Anderson, Arkansas State — La.-Lafayette OC/QBs coach
Joe Moglia, Coastal Carolina — out of coaching
Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern — UAB Co-STs coordinator/safeties coach
Shawn Elliott, Georgia State — Appalachian State offensive line coach
Paul Petrino, Idaho — Atlanta Falcons wide receivers coach
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette — North Alabama head coach
Matt Viator, Louisiana-Monroe — McNeese State head coach
Doug Martin, New Mexico State — Kent State head coach
Joey Jones, South Alabama — Birmingham-Southern head coach
Everett Withers, Texas State — Minnesota defensive coordinator
Neal Brown, Troy — Troy inside receivers coach

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.