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. We were accurate on Norvell and Addazio and off base on Graham and DeBoer.
Which one does your team fit into? Read below.
Note: I don’t foresee any coach leaving this season (which means I clearly just jinxed someone), so consider this more of a checkpoint of where everyone is at.
A Sure Thing
There’s no such thing as a sure thing. However, these coaches seem pretty entrenched at their current schools.
Coach Calhoun has been at Air Force since 2007, which is an eternity in college football years, and he doesn’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Every year his name is mentioned as a potential candidate for a coaching opening, but he hasn’t been closely tied to any new positions. Never say never, but he seems like a Falcon for the long haul.
Back in September, his percentage would have been lower, and fans were getting restless, but now he’s once again the darling of Boise State social media. Coach Avalos may get a call or two to interview for an open gig, but it’s extremely unlikely he is going anywhere after this season. Time will tell how future years go, however.
Last year, Coach Norvell was one of the coaches most likely to leave his school. This year, things couldn’t be more different. In the first year at Colorado State, it would be difficult to imagine things going any worse. While it shouldn’t be this bad going in the future, this season was definitely bad. And due to this, it is clear Norvell won’t be getting any offers from other schools this winter and is a near guarantee to return in 2023.
Coach Chang is from Hawaii, he is the hometown hero from his playing days, and now he has returned home to rebuild the Rainbow Warrior culture. He is accomplishing the re-establishment of the culture, but that did not lead to many wins in his initial campaign. While it’s hard to know how the Chang era will end in Hawaii, there’s no doubt he will be back for a second season on the islands.
Coach Wilson was the hire with the deepest Nevada ties, with nearly twenty years of coaching experience within the program. Unfortunately, that did not make much of a difference during the 2022 season. Everyone knew times would be tough at the start of this tenure, and the program is experiencing just that. Despite the struggles, Coach Wilson is on track to return next season.
A Safe Bet
Expect each one of these coaches to return to their teams next year. But each one of them has a reason to cause a bit of doubt.
Coach Tedford came out of retirement to coach his beloved Bulldogs for a few more seasons. He’s one of the best head coaches in the conferences and gets the most out of his players. The team has responded well to him, and it makes Fresno State a force to be reckoned with. However, health was an issue a few years ago, and it’s difficult to predict when it could take another turn. Also, even if Coach Tedford remains healthy, it’s likely this last ride only lasts a few short seasons, so he isn’t seen as a long-term fixture.
Under Coach Hoke, recruiting is way up, but otherwise, the results on the field look very similar to how they were under Rocky Long. Perhaps he wants one more chance at a big school, but he’s been down that road before and knows the grass isn’t always greener. All of that being said, there are no indications that he won’t return next season. Plus, there has to be at least some thoughts of retirement.
Coach Arroyo has guided the Rebels to take a large step forward this season, making them a fun team to watch when things are going right. However, it is difficult to project where UNLV’s ceiling actually is and how close they already are to reaching it. On one hand, does Coach Arroyo attempt to sell high on himself this offseason and see what other offers may come his way? On the other hand, are the improvements this year enough, or does it depend on them making a bowl game in the next year or two?
Last year, Coach Anderson was well on his way to a conference championship. This year, the Aggies are not likely to make a bowl game. Seasons like this were to be expected as the program needed to be rebuilt, but it does leave a sour taste after experiencing success so soon in his tenure. Coach Anderson doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere, but times did get tougher, and he hasn’t been afraid to leave for a fresh start before.
Another season, another year of Coach Bohl not being seriously involved in any coaching rumors. It seems like he has no intent on leaving for another job and other schools are not intent on seriously considering him for an open position. It seems extremely likely Coach Bohl will be at Wyoming until he no longer wishes to coach. But retirement could be looming for him, as whispers have started to pick up a bit over the past year.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable.
When Coach Gonzales took over, he inherited a program in complete disarray. Fresh off a coach who was investigated for player mistreatment, plus disappointing seasons, the new regime has been a breath of fresh air. There have been pros and cons over the past three seasons. Coach Gonzales has built a strong foundation for the program, but has also lost players to the transfer portal as quickly as his staff can develop them. The Lobo defense has been figured out, although there is no sign of anything resembling a competent offense. Now in their second year of not being able to sustain competitiveness for an entire season, it is fair to wonder if this is as good as it gets under this regimen. It would be a surprise if he didn’t get a fourth season.
Coach Brennan is in an interesting position. He is in the last year with the current core of the team, the one that has a Mountain West championship, and is having success again this year. He has proven he can build a program and a culture and can show continuous improvement, even in the lean years. He has stated he likes where he is at. On the other hand, has Coach Brennan reached his ceiling at San Jose State? An argument could be made that an annual bowl team that sometimes competes for the MWC title is as good as it will get. If he wants more, this would be the year to look elsewhere. And there are some job openings that would make sense.
None (at this point)
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.