It’s about time to start one of the least favorite but most interesting times of the year: The coaching carousel. As a Group of 5 conference, the Mountain West head and assistant coaches get offers and leave each season for more prestigious and higher-paying new jobs. It’s just how it is in the college football landscape.
Due to this, coaches returning are based on the likelihood of them being fired as well as the likelihood of them being lured away by more prestigious positions at other schools. In the past, we did percentages.
Once again, we will use a few different categories for how to separate each of the coaches. It’s not a perfect science, and if readers disagree on some of them, that’s probably okay. Some are inaccurate each year.
Also, here’s what we said last year. Feel free to judge how on or off we were with the guesses. Obviously, the Harsin assessment proved to be off base.
Which one does your team fit into? Read below.
A Sure Thing
Troy has been at AFA forever, and that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. His name has come up in the rumor mill before and will likely continue to do so, but there hasn’t been much indication that he is looking to leave.
He is in year one of a new gig. The hometown coach comes back to lead the program. While this initial season has been a long way from rainbows and butterflies, he has a proven track record at every stop prior to this. Avalos isn’t going anywhere.
Gonzales is in year two of his job at New Mexico. The hometown coach comes back to rebuild the program. Has the team playing competitively but seemed to take a step back in 2021. However, he is still building and recruiting pretty well, so it’s hard to see Gonzales going anywhere for the time being.
He is in year one of a new gig. A successful coach at previous stops, Anderson has been precisely what the Aggies hoped for when they hired him last winter. He has brought a dynamic offense, a strong team culture, and a significant recruiting presence to Utah State. For this season anyway, Anderson is not packing any bags to leave.
A Safe Bet
DeBoer has the Bulldogs playing great on both sides of the ball. Recruiting is excellent, the offense is dynamic, and the defense is solid. While his stint as Fresno State’s head coach may end up being a short one as his name is bound to come up for bigger gigs before too long, he will probably be at Fresno State for a few years still.
Graham’s tenure so far continues to be uneven, but he has a lot going against him (being on the islands, small budget, stadium issues), so it’s hard to be unhappy. However, he isn’t prioritizing recruiting much at all, which is puzzling. At this point, neither side seems to be unhappy with the situation two years in.
Hoke guided the Aztecs to a strong season in the most San Diego State way possible. Lots of running, strong defense and special teams, and just enough passing (most of the time). Fighting for a conference championship has Hoke as one of the top coaches in the conference, and he’s also stepped up the Aztec recruiting efforts. He is probably staying for at least another year.
Has created a strong culture. This year was thrown off a bit by injuries, but they look to be a bowl team for the foreseeable future. While Brennan’s name will likely still pop up for some Power 5 openings, it’s hard to see him leaving this year due to his recent contract extension.
Bohl is a great coach, but his name never really gets thrown around during carousel season. Given he is the best coach Wyoming has ever had does not put him in considerable danger of being fired. However, one does have to wonder if this is all Bohl is capable of and if the Cowboys would like to look for someone with a higher ceiling?
Don’t Get Too Comfortable.
Addazio actually has the Rams playing pretty competitively this year, but he loses most of the big contributors and will need to develop the next wave of talent. He is implementing his style of play well but seems to have a ceiling of how well it is working. It may be a bit harsh to put him in this category, but it is still a puzzling hire and is likely to come back to bite them sooner rather than later.
Times have been tough for Arroyo in year two. He just got the first win of his career this past weekend. While UNLV has played close and competitive games this year, improvement has been hard to notice if one is not watching closely. Arroyo’s critique coming in was that he was a great recruiter who left something to be desired as a coach. Going into year 3, his seat should be warm.
Norvell has created a strong culture. Slowly and steady increases each season. A well-established and effective offensive scheme, a consistent recruiting strategy are all reasons he is successful. Norvell figures to have his name pop up for Power 5 openings in the PAC12 and Big12 and would seem to be the best bet to leave this year.
None (at this point)
Your turn: What did we get right, and what did we get wrong? Which teams would you place into each section? Leave a comment in the discussion below.