College Football Coaching Carousel – Alumni Style

College Athletic Directors are free to hire anyone they feel is qualified enough to run their football programs.

But what if that wasn’t the case? What if college ADs could ONLY hire qualified coaches who are an alum of the school?

In this hypothetical world, here is how the college football landscape would look.

Note – priority 1 is current college head coaches (over assistants or NFL coaches). Tried to use active coaches as best as I could. Current school coaches take precedence over hypothetical coaches.


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Boston CollegeBrian FloresFormer Miami Dolphins head coach
Clemson Tony ElliottCurrent Virginia head coach and former Clemson OC
DukeScottie MontgomeryFormer Maryland OC and previously East Carolina head coach and Duke OC (2014-2015)
Georgia Tech Mike MacIntyreCurrent FIU head coach and former Colorado coach
Florida StateManny DiazFormer Miami head coach and current Penn State defensive coordinator
LouisvilleJeff BrohmCurrent Purdue head coach
Miami Mario CristobolCurrent Miami head coach
NC StateBill CowherFormer Steelers head coach 1992-2006 and current CBS NFL analyst
North Carolina Kevin WilsonCurrent Ohio State co-Offensive Coordinator and former Indiana head coach 
PittsburghMatt CampbellCurrent Iowa State head coach
SyracuseRandy EdsallFormer UConn head coach
VirginiaDerek DooleyFormer head coach at Tennessee
Virginia Tech Shane BeamerCurrent South Carolina head coach
Wake ForestJosh Gattis Current Michigan offensive coordinator


  • Clemson – current OC Tony Elliott
  • Randy Edsall over Doug Marrone because Marrone previously coached Syracuse and opted to leave for NFL
  • Current Titans HC Arthur Smith is a UNC alum
  • Virginia Tech – current Bucs head coach Bruce Arians

Big Ten

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Illinois  N/A 
IndianaRod CareyCurrent Temple (and previously Northern Illinois) head coach
IowaMark StoopsCurrent Kentucky head coach
MaryandFrank Reich Current Indianapolis Colts head coach
MichiganJim Harbaugh*Current Michigan head coach 
Michigan StatePat ShurmurFormer NY Giants head coach
MinnesotaMarc Trestman Former Chicago Bears, CFL and XFL head coach
NebraskaScott Frost*Current Nebraska coach 
NorthwesternPat Fitzgerald* Current Northwestern coach 
Ohio StateLuke FickellCurrent Cincinnati Bearcats head coach and former OSU Defensive Coordinator 
Penn StateMatt RhuleCurrent Carolina Panthers and former Baylor head coach 
PurdueKevin Sumlin Former Arizona and Texas A&M head coach
RutgersStephen Belichick Current New England Patriots defensive assistant
WisconsinPaul Chryst*Current Wisconsin head coach


  • Iowa – former Oklahoma HC Bob Stoops, current Illinois coach Bret Bielema, Nevada coach Jay Norvell
  • Les Miles is also a Michigan man
  • Michigan State – former Jets HC Adam Gase, Maryland OC Dan Enos
  • Ohio State – Titans HC Mike Vrabel
  • Wisconsin – Mich St HC Mel Tucker

Big 12

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
BaylorBlake AndersonCurrent Utah State head coach (previously at Arkansas St)
Iowa StateChris AshFormer Rutgers Head Coach
KansasCharlie Weis JrCurrent USF OC
Kansas StateBrent VenablesCurrent Oklahoma head coach
OklahomaJosh HeupelCurrent Tennessee head coach and former UCF coach
Oklahoma StateMike Gundy*Current Oklahoma State head coach since 2005
TCUDan SharpeCurrent TCU defensive coordinator
TexasMajor ApplewhiteFormer Houston Head Coach and current South Alabama OC
Texas Tech Lincoln Riley Current Oklahoma head coach 
West VirginiaTerry BowdenCurrent Louisiana-Monroe head coach


  • Baylor – Buffalo coach Maurice Linguist, former NFL coach Mike Singletary
  • Oklahoma alums – Josh Heupel’s 12-1 season with UCF in 2018 gives him the nod over current Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente
  • Kansas State – former TCU coach Gary Patterson, Clemson DC Brent Venables
  • Texas Tech alums – SMU coach Sonny Dykes, Baylor coach Dave Aranda, former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, current AZ Cardinals and former Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
ArizonaAntonio PierceCurrent Arizona St LB Coach
Arizona StateN/A
CaliforniaRon RiveraCurrent Washington Football Team head coach
ColoradoEric Bieniemy Current KC Chiefs offensive coordinator
Oregon Justin WilcoxCurrent Cal head coach
Oregon StateJonathan SmithCurrent Oregon State head coach
StanfordDavid ShawCurrent Stanford head coach 
UCLAKarl DorrellCurrent Colorado head coach
USCJack Del RioFormer Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders head coach 
UtahGary Anderson Former Utah State, Wisconsin, Oregon St head coach
WashingtonJim Mora Jr Current UConn head coach
Washington StN/A


  • UCLA – SJ St coach Brent Brennan
  • Oregon State – Virginia coach Broncos Mendenhall


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Alabama Dabo Swinney Current Clemson head coach 
ArkansasGus MalzahnCurrent UCF head coach and former Auburn coach
Auburn Tony LevineFormer Houston head coach 
FloridaJedd FischCurrent Arizona head coach
Georgia Kirby Smart*Current Georgia head coach 
Kentucky Neal Brown Current West Virginia (and previously Troy) head coach 
Missouri Jim LeavittFormer USF head coach and current SMU DC
Mississippi StJoe JudgeCurrent NY Giants head coach
Ole MissJay HopsonFormer Southern Miss head coach
South Carolina Mark DantonioFormer Michigan St head coach 
TennesseeTee MartinCurrent Tennessee offensive assistant 
Texas A&MDan CampbellCurrent Detroit Lions head coach
VanderbiltClark Lea*Current Vanderbilt head coach; previously Notre Dame defensive coordinator


  • Alabama – Duke head coach David Cutcliffe
  • Arkansas – current FIU coach Butch Davis
  • Florida – former Auburn coach Gene Chizik
  • Texas A&M – former Broncos and Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and former Arkansas head coach Chad Morris
  • Vanderbilt – current Texans head coach David Culley, current UNC coach Mack Brown


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
CincinnatiUrban MeyerFormer Ohio State and Florida head coach
East CarolinaRuffin McNeilFormer ECU head coach and current Oklahoma defensive assistant
HoustonClay HeltonFormer USC head coach 
MemphisKeith ButlerCurrent Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator
Navy Tom O’Brien Former Boston College and NC St head coach 
Temple Todd BowlesCurrent TB Bucs defensive coordinator 
Tulsa Lovie Smith Current Houston Texans DC and former Illinois head coach 
UCFTim Beck Current NC State offensive coordinator 
UConnKirk FerentzCurrent Iowa head coach 


Army: Mike Sullivan (Most recently Denver Broncos QB Coach)

Notre Dame: Skip Holtz (Current Louisiana Tech head coach)

BYU: Kalani Sitake (Current BYU head coach since 2016).

Other options include Miss St coach Mike Leach, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian

Mountain West

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Air ForceTroy Calhoun* Current Air Force head coach 
Boise StateAndy Avalos*Current Boise State head coach 
Fresno StateLane Kiffin Current head coach at Ole Miss
Hawaii Ken Niumatalolo Current Navy head coach
New MexicoDanny Gonzales*Current New Mexico head coach 
San Diego StateHerm EdwardsCurrent Arizona St head coach 
San Jose StateMarcus ArroyoCurrent UNLV head coach
UNLVShane SteichenCurrent Philadelphia Eagles OC
Utah StateMatt WellsFormer Utah St and Texas Tech head coach 
Wyoming Chuck PaganoFormer Indianapolis Colts head coach and current Chicago Bears defensive coordinator 


  • Boise St – former coach and current Auburn coach Bryan Harsin, current Minnesota OC Mike Sanford Jr, current Cowboys OC Kellen Moore
  • Hawaii – Syracuse coach Dino Babers

Conference USA

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
MarshallByron Leftwich Current TB Bucs offensive coordinator
Middle Tennessee StateWalt BellCurrent UMass head coach 
Rice Jeremy BatesFormer NY Jets offensive coordinator 
Southern MissHugh FreezeCurrent Liberty and former Ole Miss head coach 
Western Kentucky Willie Taggart Current FAU head coach; previously head coach at WKU, USF, Oregon and Florida St

N/A: Florida International, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
AkronCharlie FryeCurrent Miami Dolphins QB coach
Ball StateMike Neu*Current Ball State head coach
Bowling Green Dean PeesCurrent Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator 
BuffaloBrent PryCurrent Virginia Tech head coach
Central Michigan John Bonamego Former Central Michigan head coach 
Kent StateNick Saban GOAT 
Miami Ohio Sean McVay Current LA Rams head coach 
Northern Illinois Thomas Hammock*Current Northern Illinois coach
Toledo Matt Eberflus Current Indianapolis Colts defense coordinator 
Western Michigan Tim Lester*Current WMU head coach 


  • Ball St – SD St coach Brady Hoke
  • Miami Ohio – Ravens coach John Harbaugh
  • NIU – Minnesota coach PJ Fleck

Sun Belt

Appalachian St: Shawn Clark*, Current Appalachian State head coach

Other options include Scott Satterfield (current Louisville and previous App St head coach) Paul Johnson (former Georgia Tech Head Coach) Steve Wilks, (long time NFL defensive assistant) Ron Prince (former Kansas St and current Howard head coach)

Join the conversation on twitter and instagram. Which school/coach would be the best and the worst fit?

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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