Three Big 12 football teams hired new coaches after the 2016 season. All three have offensive backgrounds. Five American teams hired new coaches after the 2016 season. One has an offensive background.
The disparity in offensive vs. defensive coaching hires between the Big 12 and AAC last winter is accurate reflection of the preference of backgrounds for Power Five vs. Group of Five programs across college football.
Nearly two-thirds of all FBS head coaches (excluding interim) have a primarily offensive background (65.6 percent), while 33.6 percent have a defensive background. And God bless Central Michigan‘s John Bonamego for carrying the special teams’ water. He is the lone FBS head coach with a special teams background (0.8 percent).
With the hiring of Lincoln Riley, Tom Herman and Matt Rhule, the Big 12 now leads all conferences with the highest portion of offensive coaches, 90 percent. After the ACC‘s 78.6-percent clip, there is a steep decline. The SEC is the only other conference with more than 50 percent of its head coaches coming from an offensive background (58.3). The MAC (16.5) and Sun Belt (18.2) rank last and second-to-last, respectively.
Despite 80 percent of the American’s new hires being defensive coaches, the overall clip for defensive Group of Five coaches actually decreased in 2017, thanks to seven of the other eight Group of Five new hires being offensive coaches, including all three in the Mountain West (Brett Brennan, San Jose State; Jay Norvell, Nevada; Jeff Tedford, Fresno State).
Nineteen of the 63 non-interim Group of Five head coaches have an offensive background, or 30.2 percent. Still, it’s more than 32 percentage points below the Power Five, where 39 of 62 coaches came from offense, or 62.9 percent.
|Offense||Off. Percentage||Defense||Def. Percentage|
|Group of Five||19||30.2%||43||68.3%|
Of the 56 head coaches whose first job was in the FBS, 33 have an offensive background (58.9 percent). Fifteen of the 26 coaches who started in high school were offensive coaches (57.7), which, outside of the NJCAA (two total coaches), is the lowest clip among coaches when filtered by first job.
|Level Started||Offense||Off. Percentage||Defense||Def. Percentage|
Eighty-five non-interim coaches hail from a total of 14 states. Those 14 states claim at least four coaches apiece as natives, from which which nearly two-thirds of the coach have an offensive background, including Wisconsin, where all four coaches whose hometown is listed in the Badger state (Jay Norvell, Nevada; Lane Leipold, Buffalo; Paul Chryst, Wisconsin; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois) came from the offensive side of the ball.
Kansas is the only of the 14 states without an offensive coach. All four coaches from Kansas (Brad Lambert; Charlotte, Dave Doeren, North Carolina State; Gary Patterson, TCU; Willie Fritz, Tulane) have a defensive background.
|State||Offense||Off. Percentage||Defense||Def. Percentage|
With a dozen coaches on the hot seat — if not more, plus interim coaches — we can expect to see another infusion of new head coaches in college football next year.
Will Power Five programs continue hiring offensive coaches while the Group Five hires defensive coaches? Or will things balance out for the overall offensive-defensive clips, along with those related to hometowns and level at which the coach started?