The college football coaching carousel is mostly over. It doesn’t appear there will be much NFL interest in coaches who would leave. Nick Saban does not seem like he’s going to retire. Here are five winners from the offseason shake up.
Ed Orgeron: Coach O took over on an interim basis for Les Miles. He went 2-2 against bowl teams, scoring a combined 10 points in losses to Florida and Alabama. His last extended run as a permanent head coach resulted in a 3-21 conference record at Ole Miss. Orgeron began the season as a defensive line coach. He ended it with one of college football’s top five head coaching jobs. Few find that ridiculous. It’s hard to argue he’s not the biggest offseason winner.
Purdue: Purdue looked bound for an unproven assistant or retread with no better options. Instead, the school splurged for a head coach, Jeff Brohm, other programs wanted. Said coach runs an explosive, up-tempo passing offense. Purdue hiring Brohm was not the offseason’s most important hire. But, no school changed their paradigm more this November.
Western Michigan: Western Michigan went undefeated with the best mantra “Row The Boat” and college football’s most energetic young head coach. P.J. Fleck looked destined for a bigger job. But, in a conference where head coaches leave to take coordinator roles, he ended up staying. It’s not clear how that will play out for Fleck. Perhaps there will be better options in 2017. But, one more year should be great for Broncos fans.
Tom Herman: Herman did not get the stratospheric salary that may have come from a bidding war. Still, he wanted the Texas job, and he got the Texas job. Earning $5 million per year is not so bad. This materialized less than two calendar years after he left his coordinator position at Ohio State after the national championship game.
Non-Power 5 Football in Florida: South Florida lost Willie Taggart, but hired Charlie Strong at a discount. With Strong’s recruiting that hire has major upside. UCF hung on to Scott Frost with the Oregon job coming available. In Conference USA, FAU hired the most prominent (if not the hottest) coordinator name in Lane Kiffin. FIU landed Butch Davis, who built a national-title caliber program at Miami. All of this, of course, will pale compared to the excitement generated by Mark Richt going 8-4 with Miami.