The firings and hirings in college football have already begun. Mississippi, Penn State, Illinois, Kansas, UCLA and North Carolina are some of the schools in the market for a new head coach, and there surely will be more to come in the next few days.
Ohio State hired former Florida head coach Urban Meyer Monday, Arizona has already chosen former Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez with New Mexico picking ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie as its new coach. The best thing about the Davie hire is it gets him off television. Now we need to get Rod Gilmore a coaching job.
One of the top places to look for a new coach is the Alabama staff.
Nick Saban’s coaching tree continues to grow, and you can look for Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart’s name to be prominently mentioned for a head coaching job. His name has already been tossed around for the Ole Miss position. As you may recall, the former Georgia player got a sizeable raise last year from Alabama to keep him from pursuing other assistant coaching positions.
Four of Saban’s former assistants now have big-time positions: Jimbo Fisher at Florida State, Will Muschamp at Florida, Derek Dooley at Tennessee and Mark D’Antonio at Michigan State.
Fisher, Dooley and Muschamp were all on Saban’s staff when he was at LSU while D’Antonio was with him at Michigan State. Two other former assistants were head coaches but are not currently. They are Bobby Williams, who was at Michigan State, and Mike Haywood, who was at Miami (Ohio).
Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops has three former assistants in head coaching positions at major colleges for the 2011 season. Bo Pelini is at Nebraska, Kevin Sumlin is at Houston, and Kevin Wilson is in his first season at the Indiana.
Four other assistants had head jobs but all were fired, including his brother Mike, who was let go at Arizona in October. The others are Mike Leach, who was at Texas Tech, Mark Mangino at Kansas and Chuck Long at San Diego State.
Coaching legends Paul “Bear” Bryant and Bill Peterson had two of the most impressive coaching trees, and some of their protégés are still walking the sidelines. From the Bear’s stable are Howard Schnellenberger, who is winding up his final season at Florida Atlantic this week, Mike Riley at Oregon State and David Cutcliffe at Duke.
Among others who played or coached for Bryant and went on to become head coaches were Pat Dye, Gene Stallings, Ray Perkins, Jackie Sherrill, Charlie Pell, Danny Ford, Don James and Charlie McLendon.
Peterson’s tree includes coaches who have won five Super Bowls and four college national championships. The group includes Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, Bobby Bowden, Bobby Ross, Don James, Dan Henning and Earle Bruce among others.
Former BYU head coach Lavell Edwards is another with an impressive list of individuals who either coached or played for him and went on to become head coaches. To name just a few, Mike Holmgren, Brian Billick, Andy Reid, Kyle Whittingham and Steve Sarkisian.
It’s interesting to note that in his 10 years at Georgia, head coach Mark Richt has had just two coaches to move on to head jobs. Macon native Neil Callaway, who served as Georgia’s offensive coordinator from 2001-2006, took over at UAB in 2007. He resigned Sunday following a 3-9 season. The other is current Atlanta Falcons assistant Brian VanGorder. VanGorder departed Georgia to become an assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars and left that team after just one year to take over the head job at Georgia Southern, where he also remained just one season.
Even more amazing is that the beleaguered Joe Paterno had just seven head coaches on his tree in his 46 years at Penn State, and only three are active today. They are Greg Schiano at Rutgers, Al Golden at Miami (Fla.) and Jim Caldwell with the Indianapolis Colts.
Bobby Pope hosts the Saturday Football Scoreboard Show on 1670 AM.