Jamey Chadwell cemented himself as a top Group of Five coach over the last couple of seasons. Chadwell enters 2023 as one of the best G5 coaches, but he’ll don different colors on the sidelines this season.
Chadwell, after winning 31 games over the last three seasons at Coastal Carolina, heads to Liberty in 2023. Chadwell takes over a Liberty program entering Conference USA, and the Flames are expected to be a top contender in the new-look league.
From 2020-22, Coastal Carolina went 31-6 overall and 20-4 in Sun Belt games. Chadwell led the Chanticleers, which were powered by an extremely explosive offense, to the top tier of the Group of Five.
The program never finished worse than 6-2 in league play over those three seasons, continually putting itself atop the conference standings. Chadwell’s team gained significant attention in 2020, beating a BYU team led by Zach Wilson. Interestingly, the team’s lone loss that season came in its bowl game against Liberty.
Given his success, many believed Chadwell’s next coaching gig would be at the Power Five level. Instead, he accepted a job this offseason at Liberty, which offers top-notch facilities and a big-time paycheck. Hugh Freeze leveraged the Liberty job into the Auburn head coaching position, signaling that perhaps Liberty isn’t the final destination of Chadwell’s coaching career.
The institutional fit – Liberty is a Christian institution that puts religion at the forefront of its mission – seems to make sense for Chadwell, though.
“When you get an opportunity to impact people at the most prestigious institution of higher learning from a Christian background, Liberty University, you don’t pass that up,” Chadwell said after being hired. “I went to some public institutions, and I enjoyed those tremendously, but I was craving to be back in an environment like this.”
Regardless of how long Chadwell stays, look for Liberty to be a force at the Group of Five level while he’s there.
Inherits Strong Program
Chadwell doesn’t need to build Liberty from the ground up. Freeze left the program in good shape, as the Flames went 8-5 in each of the last two seasons and 10-1 in 2020. Liberty, which was competing as an independent, seems plenty ready for what C-USA offers.
There’s talent across Liberty’s roster, and the Flames have an extremely manageable schedule in 2023. Liberty doesn’t have any Power Five opponents on its schedule – the Flames played Wake Forest, Arkansas, and Virginia Tech in 2022 – and C-USA is among the weaker Group of Five leagues. There’s a chance Liberty could be the betting favorite in all 12 of its games.
A road clash against Western Kentucky on Oct. 24 looks like one of the team’s toughest games on paper. WKU returns star quarterback Austin Reed, and he’ll test Liberty’s defensive backs for 60 minutes. If Liberty survives that road game, a 10+ win season seems possible.
In 2023, Liberty returns a quality roster to face an easy schedule. Expectations for Chadwell’s first season in Lynchburg, Virginia, are understandably high.
Bennett Conlin is a college football contributor for HERO Sports, and he works full-time covering sports betting industry news and legislation for Sports Handle and US Bets.