Potential College Football Head Coaches

Potential College Football Head Coaches

2022

Potential College Football Head Coaches

By

Via JSU Athletics

We’ve already seen three college coaches fired to begin this young college football season, and plenty more jobs will likely be opening up in the next few weeks and months. There is a load of new blood on the horizon for college football fans to look for when it comes to potential hires. Obviously, there is the ability for head coaches to flip from team to team as we saw last year with Mario Cristobal leaving Oregon for Miami and Brian Kelly leaving Notre Dame for LSU. This article will feature some current coordinators that could be destined to make the jump along with a group of five head coaches destined to eventually make the jump to the power five. 

Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin DC

Leonhard is only 39 years old and has been at Wisconsin since 2016 where he’s overseen their defensive backs and been the defensive coordinator. He’s overseen a unit that has finished top 10 in all but one season with two top five finishes. In addition, Leonhard has an excellent track record when it comes to NFL talent, where he’s seen players such as Zack Baun, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Leo Chenal join the NFL. Leonhard has draw interest from schools before and the NFL where he interviewed for the Packers defensive coordinator job two years ago. 

Josh Gattis, Miami OC

Gattis is another young coach who has seen numerous different positions around the college world. After starting as a grad assistant at UNC he quickly made his way to WR coach at Vanderbilt in two years before moving to Penn State for the same position, later becoming Alabama’s offensive coordinator for a season in 2018, where he then left for the same position at Michigan and now is the coordinator at Miami. His track record has been spotty, having finished with the 4th, 44th, 63rd and 16th ranked offenses but it’s clear he’s a young bright mind with a good track record of development and the ability to produce an explosive offense. 

Tim Banks, Tennessee DC

Banks has had opportunities to become a head coach before but has turned them down. He’s coached at almost every level and at 10 different schools since 1996 so he clearly has experience. The last two seasons have been rough for Banks as his units have finished below 40th in back to back seasons but he put up three straight top 15 units at Penn State the years before. Banks has recruited well and developed a good bit of NFL talent including Alontae Taylor, Amani Oruwariye, Yetur Gross-Matos, Micah Parsons and Odafe Oweh. He has never had the ability to recruit top talent but is fantastic at developing, especially at the LB and pass rusher positions. 

Bill O’Brien, Alabama OC

O’Brien clearly has a ton of experience, after being the Houston Texans head coach for nearly 7 years. He has head coaching experience in college also gathering a 15-9 record with Penn State while also earning the Big10 Coach of the Year, and ESPN coach of the Year award in 2012. Alabama’s offense has proven to stay explosive with playmakers under O’Brien and it’s possible another team gives him a chance as their head coach. O’Brien has shown the ability to recruit, develop, and produce talent both at the NFL and college levels. 

Todd Monken, Georgia OC

Georgia’s offense looks nearly unstoppable every season. Monken has a ton of experience both working on the defensive and offensive side of the ball but has found a natural fit on offense. Former JUCO quarterback Stetson Bennet is looking like a true top talent in college football after years of development under Monken. He has previous experience as a head coach with Southern Miss where he accumulated a 13-25 record and 0-1 in bowl games before being fired. Georgia finished 13th in total offense last year and is currently 17th this season. 

Brian Hartline, Ohio State WR Coach

It’s unlikely Harline leaves Ohio State mainly because he’s likely in line for their head coach job once Ryan Day leaves for the NFL. Hartline is simply the best recruiting coach in college football, as he’s landed over 14 top 100 ranked WRs. These include Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Julian Flemming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr, Mookie Cooper, Emeke Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr, Kaleb Brown, Kyion Grayes, Brandon Inniss, Noah Rogers and Carnell Tate. Wilson and Williams were first round draft picks along with Chris Olave and Smith-Njigba is a projected first rounder in this upcoming draft. Long story short, there isn’t a single position coach better at recruiting and developing talent than Hartline. A power five school will no doubt offer him a load of money to try and pull him away from Ohio State simply off his recruiting levels. 

Tim Beck, NC State OC

Beck received interest with FIU to become their next head coach following the breakout of Devin Leary and the Wolfpack’s offense in 2021. Beck has only been an offensive coordinator 8 years but he’s landed numerous top 15 units at Nebraska, Ohio State, and now NC State. The Wolfpack have ranked 42nd, 17th, and currently 39th in offense under Beck but he has an excellent ability to manage the clock and put his players in a position to succeed. His experience coaching QBs, WRs, and offensive line will certainly help teams get comfortable with him as a potential head coach. 

Shawn Clark, App State HC

Clark is a reach for a Power Five head coaching job simply due to his ties with App State serving since 2016 as their OL coach and becoming head coach in 2020. He’s accumulated a 22-9 overall record, 2-1 in bowl games, and 1-1 in SunBelt Championship games. Clark has also led App State to victories over 14th ranked Coastal Carolina and sixth ranked Texas AM. He also held the Mountaineers in close games with losses to 22nd ranked Miami 25-23 and a thrilling 63-65 loss to UNC. Simply put he’s a winner, and he develops talent at an extraordinary level. He’s a player coach and it shows on the field. It’s going to be nearly impossible to pull Clark away from App State but if a team can manage they’ll be set up perfectly. 

Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina HC

The SunBelt is a powerhouse not only for talent but simply for coaching also. Bill Napier recently left Louisiana for Florida and Chadwell will likely be the next SunBelt to P5 name in the pipeline. He accumulated a 22-14 record at D2 Greenville before moving to FCS Charleston Southern where he gathered a 35-14 record. Finally he’s gathered a 34-19 record with Coastal Carolina where he’s also finished 1-1 in Bowl Games. He’s helped the Chanticleers finish as high as 14th in national polls, while also having them ranked numerous other times. He was the 2020 AP, Home Depot, and SunBelt Coach of the Year winner. He’s been able to recruit incredibly well, landing Coastal Carolina two top 50 finishes and he’s also won three conference championships. Chadwell is a winning coach with a strong recruiting background that any team wants. 

Mike Houston, East Carolina HC

Houston has slightly struggled at ECU but he’ has been building from nothing and with a strong finish he likely ends up as a head coach elsewhere, potentially UNC? While at division two, Lenoir-Rhyne he ended 29-8 with three SAC titles. At James Madison he went 37-6 with two CAA titles, and a FCS national championship. He helped the Dukes finish first and second in the FCS standings. At ECU he’s 16-21 but turned his track record around in 2021 leading  them to a 7-5 record in a power filled AAC, including a win in the Military bowl. Houston is a six time Conference coach of the year and two time FCS coach of the Year. He wins and he develops lower end talent into stars.

Deion Sanders, Jackson State HC

Sanders is 100% a long shot to leave Jackson State but if a team can pull him away things get incredibly interesting. He’s entering his third year as a head coach and has put up a 19-5 record including an 11-2 record in 2021 that saw him win a SWAC title and finish 22nd in the FCS polls. Sanders was also able to pull Travis Hunter, a former number one recruit away from Florida and has consistently been key in landing power five commits, transfers, and JUCO caliber players. A players coach that simply wins, Sanders is a bright “young” mind at the coaching position and there’s few jobs that make sense. However if the interest between a potential suitor and Sanders clicks, it’s going to be a fun ride for college football. 

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