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.


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Boston CollegeBrian FloresCurrent Miami Dolphins head coach
Clemson Bobby JohnsonFormer Vanderbilt head coach from 2002-2009
DukeScottie MontgomeryCurrent Maryland Offensive Coordinator and previously East Carolina head coach and Duke Offensive Coordinator (2014-2015)
Georgia Tech Mike MacIntyreFormer Colorado head coach
Florida StateManny DiazCurrent Miami head coach 
LouisvilleJeff BromCurrent Purdue head coach and former UL QB
Miami Mario CristobolCurrent Oregon 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 EdsallCurrent UConn head coach
VirginiaDerek DooleyFormer head coach at Tennessee
Virginia Tech Bruce AriansCurrent Tampa Bay Bucs head coach
Wake ForestJosh Gattis Current Michigan offensive coordinator


  • Jay Gruden was a former quarterback at Louisville, but because he was recently fired in the NFL, Jeff Brohm is the better choice
  • Randy Edsall over Doug Marrone because Marrone previously coached Syracuse and opted to leave for NFL

Big Ten

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Illinois  N/A 
IndianaRod CareyCurrent Temple (and previously Northern Illinois) head coach
IowaBob StoopsFormer Oklahoma 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 FrostCurrent Nebraska coach 
NorthwesternPat Fitzgerald Current Northwestern coach 
Ohio StateLuke FickellCurrent Cincinnati Bearcats head coach and former OSU Defensive Coordinator 
Penn StateMatt RhuleCurrent Baylor head coach 
PurdueKevin Sumlin Former Arizona and Texas A&M head coach
Rutgers N/A 
WisconsinPaul ChrystCurrent Wisconsin head coach


  • Bret Bielema or Bob Stoops would also be options for Iowa, but because Mark Stoops is an active head coach, he gets the nod
  • Les Miles is also a Michigan man
  • Take your pick at Michigan State between current NFL head coaches – Adam Gase or Pat Shurmur
  • Matt Rhule was taken over former Miami coach Al Golden at Penn State
  • Because Luke Fickell has college coaching experience, he was picked over Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel

Big 12

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
BaylorBlake AndersonCurrent Utah State head coach (previously at Arkansas St)
Iowa StateChris AshFormer Rutgers Head Coach
Kansas StateGary Patterson Current TCU Head Coach
OklahomaJosh HeupelCurrent UCF head coach 
Oklahoma StateMike Gundy Current Oklahoma State Head Coach since 2005
TCUGuy MorrissCurrent Offensive Line Coach at Lexington Christian Academy in Kentucky and previously head coach at Kentucky from 2001-2002 and Baylor from 2003-2007
TexasMajor ApplewhiteFormer Houston Head Coach and current Alabama analyst 
Texas Tech Lincoln Riley Current Oklahoma head coach 
West VirginiaDoc HolidayCurrent Marshall head coach 


  • Legendary NFL linebacker Mike Singletary is also a Baylor alum, but Blake Anderson has been a successful college head coach
  • Josh Heupel’s 12-1 season in 2018 gives him the nod over current Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente
  • Rich Rodriguez is a West Virginia alum. Would WVU fans welcome him back with open arms? Didn’t think so. Holiday coaches an hour away at Marshall
  • Kliff Kingsbury was recently fired from Texas Tech, his alma mater and LA Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is also an alum


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 
UCLARon CaragherFormer San Jose St head coach and current SD State TE coach
USCJack Del RioFormer Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders head coach 
UtahGary Anderson Former Utah State head coach
WashingtonJim Mora Jr Former UCLA and Atlanta Falcons head coach 
Washington StN/A


  • Broncos Mendenhall is an Oregon State alum, but Jonathan Mitchell is the current head coach
  • Another option for UCLA could be current Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Alabama Dabo Swinney Current Clemson head coach 
ArkansasGus MalzahnCurrent Auburn head coach 
Auburn Tony LevineFormer Houston head coach 
FloridaGene ChizikFormer Auburn head coach 
Georgia Kirby SmartCurrent Georgia head coach 
Kentucky Neal Brown Current West Virginia (and previously Troy) head coach 
Missouri Jim LeavittFormer USF head coach and most recently Oregon defensive coordinator
Mississippi StN/A
Ole MissJay HopsonFormer Southern Miss head coach
South Carolina Mark DantonioFormer Michigan St head coach 
TennesseeTee MartinCurrent Tennessee offensive assistant 
Texas A&MGary KubiakFormer Houston Texans and Denver Broncos head coach
VanderbiltClark LeaCurrent (new) Vanderbilt head coach; previously Notre Dame defensive coordinator


  • Arkansas has two former National Championship winning coaches as options – Gus Malzahn or former Miami and current FIU coach Butch Davis
  • Missouri just fired former alum Barry Odom and Ole Miss fired alum Matt Luke.
  • Tee Martin is a former QB at Tennessee. So is former Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter
  • Gary Kubiak won a Super Bowl with the Broncos as head coach. Another Texas A&M alum is Chad Morris, who was fired in 2019 by Arkansas
  • Previously had Mack Brown for Vanderbilt, but they just hired Clark Lea, former defensive coordinator from Notre Dame


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 HeltonCurrent USC head coach 
MemphisKeith ButlerCurrent Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator
Navy Tom O’Brien Former Boston College and NC St head coach 
Temple Todd BowlesFormer NY Jets head coach and current TB Bucs defensive coordinator 
Tulsa Lovie Smith Current 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 Mike Leach, current Washington State head coach and Kyle Whittingham, current Utah head coach)

Mountain West

School New Coach Current/previous jobs
Air ForceTroy Calhoun Current Air Force head coach 
Boise StateBryan Harsin Current Boise State head coach 
Fresno StateLane Kiffin Current head coach at Ole Miss
Hawaii Ken Niumatalolo Current Navy head coach
New MexicoRocky LongCurrent San Diego St head coach 
San Diego StateHerm EdwardsCurrent Arizona St head coach 
San Jose StateMarcus ArroyoCurrent UNLV head coach
Utah StateMatt WellsFormer Utah St head coach and current Texas Tech coach 
Wyoming Chuck PaganoFormer Indianapolis Colts head coach and current Chicago Bears defensive coordinator 


  • Another option for Fresno State is current FAU coach Lane Kiffin
  • Hawaii alum Nick Rolovich recently departed (for Washington State). Another option at Hawaii is 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
Ball StateMike NeuCurrent Ball State head coach
Bowling Green Dean PeesCurrent Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator 
Central Michigan John Bonamego Former Central Michigan head coach 
Kent StateNick Saban GOAT 
Miami Ohio Sean McVay Current LA Rams head coach 
Northern Illinois PJ Fleck Current Minnesota head coach 
Toledo Matt Eberflus Current Indianapolis Colts defense coordinator 
Western Michigan Tim LesterCurrent WMU head coach 


  • Miami Ohio alums include Sean McVay and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh

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)

Also new head coach Shawn Clark is an App State alum.

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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