College Football Coaching Carousel – Alumni Style

 Jim Harbaugh Staying at Michigan Amid NFL Return Speculation – NBC Bay Area

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
DukeBill Poggi
Current (new) Charlotte head coach
Georgia Tech Brent Key*
Current Georgia Tech head coach
Florida StateDeion Sanders
Current Colorado head coach
LouisvilleJeff Brohm*Current Louisville head coach
Miami Mario Cristobol*Current Miami head coach
NC StateBill CowherFormer Steelers head coach 1992-2006 and current CBS NFL analyst
North Carolina Kevin WilsonCurrent Tulsa head coach and former Indiana 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 Maryland 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 Indiana OL coach and former Temple (and Northern Illinois) head coach
IowaMark StoopsCurrent Kentucky head coach
MarylandFrank Reich Current Carolina Panthers 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 FrostFormer Nebraska coach 
NorthwesternPat Fitzgerald* Current Northwestern coach 
Ohio StateLuke FickellFormer Cincinnati Bearcats head coach and former OSU Defensive Coordinator 
Penn StateMatt RhuleCurrent Nebraska head coach and former Baylor coach 
PurdueKevin Sumlin Former Arizona and Texas A&M head coach
RutgersStephen Belichick Current New England Patriots defensive assistant
WisconsinMel Tucker
Current Michigan State 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
Baylor Blake Anderson Current Utah State head coach (previously at Arkansas St)
BYU Kalani Sitake* Current BYU head coach
Cincinnati Urban Meyer Former Ohio State head coach
Iowa State Chris Ash Former Rutgers Head Coach
Kansas Charlie Weis Jr Current Ole Miss OC
Kansas State Brent Venables Current Oklahoma head coach
Houston  Clay Helton Current Georgia Southern HC and former USC coach
Oklahoma Josh Heupel Current Tennessee head coach and former UCF coach
Oklahoma State Mike Gundy* Current Oklahoma State head coach since 2005
TCU Dan Sharpe Current TCU defensive coordinator
Texas Major Applewhite Former Houston Head Coach and current South Alabama OC
Texas Tech  Lincoln Riley  Current USC head coach 
UCF Tim Beck Current Coastal Carolina head coach
West Virginia Terry Bowden Current 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 StateKenny Dillingham*
Current Arizona State head coach
CaliforniaRon RiveraCurrent Washington Commanders head coach
ColoradoRyan Walters
Current Illinois head coach
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 Jon Sumrall
Current Troy head coach
Missouri Jim LeavittFormer USF head coach
Mississippi StJoe JudgeFormer 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 – former 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 head coach
Tulsa GJ Kinne
Current Texas State head coach
UCFTim Beck Current Coastal Carolina head coach
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 Former Navy head coach
New MexicoDanny Gonzales*Current New Mexico head coach 
San Diego StateHerm EdwardsFormer Arizona St head coach 
San Jose StateMarcus ArroyoCurrent UNLV head coach
UNLVShane SteichenCurrent Indianapolis Colts head coach
Utah StateMatt WellsFormer Utah St and Texas Tech head coach 
Wyoming Chuck PaganoFormer Indianapolis Colts head coach


  • 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 Former TB Bucs offensive coordinator
Middle Tennessee StateWalt BellFormer UMass head coach 
Rice Jeremy BatesFormer NY Jets offensive coordinator 
Southern MissHugh FreezeCurrent Auburn  head coach 
Western Kentucky Willie Taggart Former FAU head coach

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


School New Coach Current/previous jobs
AkronCharlie FryeCurrent FAU OC
Ball StateMike Neu*Current Ball State head coach
Bowling Green Dean PeesFormer 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 Chicago Bears head coach
Western Michigan Tim LesterFormer 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)

Louisiana-Lafayette: Michael Desormeaux*. Current Louisiana head coach 


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