Of the eight new head coaches at Power Five programs, none of them left other Power Five head coaching positions. The same goes for all 12 new Power Five head coaches in 2016. The last time a Power Five head coach voluntarily left a Power Five head coaching position was 2015 when Paul Chryst, Gary Andersen and Mike Riley all did it.
While it's not uncommon for coaches to jump from big jobs to big (or bigger) jobs like Chryst, Andersen and Riley did, it's also not as routine as candidate lists and rumors might suggest.
Let's get way ahead of ourselves and wonder if these five early-tenure coaches would immediately leave for a better job if they succeed in turning around their current program.
P.J. Fleck – Minnesota
Minnesota has a lot of things working in their favor here. Fleck is a Midwest guy. He was born, raised, played college football and has spent seven of the first 11 years of his coaching career in the Midwest. The school is also investing heavily in athletics, with a bunch of new facilities set to open within the next year.
Fleck is only 36 years old, has spent just one year at a big-time program (graduate assistant at Ohio State in 2006) and jumped from Western Michigan after his first huge year. But who knows, maybe he rejected other offers after each of the last three seasons before finding a perfect fit in Minneapolis.
Minnesota can make the long-term financial commitment to Fleck. The school is growing rapidly, in good financial shape and fans/donors have been waiting decades to invest their money, time and emotions in a coach. That was supposed to be Jerry Kill; now it could be P.J. Fleck.
Dino Babers – Syracuse
Dino Babers has changed jobs 15 times since his coaching career began at his alma mater Hawai'i in 1984. Fifteen times in 30 years. And it's a very clear progression: FCS position coach to FBS Group of Five position coach to Group of Five coordinator to FCS head coach to Group of Five head coach to Power Five head coach.
Babers went 12-2 in his second season at Eastern Illinois in 2013 and left immediately for Bowling Green. He went 10-3 in his second season with the Falcons in 2015 and left immediately. Now he enters his second season at Syracuse after going 4-8 in 2016.
The Orange have three bowl appearances since 2005 and have topped six wins just three times since 2002. Babers probably wouldn't get an upper-tier Power Five job by simply delivering a seven-win bowl season. But if he can get to eight or nine wins in 2018 or 2019, would he leave?
With the exception of the 2003 season at Pittsburgh, this is Babers' first year in the northeast or even remotely close to it. His résumé is laced with jobs in Texas and out west. Given his propensity to leap to new jobs often, it seems likely he'd bail after a couple great years.
David Beaty – Kansas
David Beaty took the worst job in a power conference two years ago after Charlie Weis doused the program in kerosene, lit a match and threw it in a ditch.
What Beaty has done already is almost remarkable. He started with fewer than 60 scholarship players and a tired fan base that had seen 12 total wins in the last five years (2010-14). And while he is just 2-22 in two years, he's rebuilt the roster and is recruiting like a champion.
What happens if the rebuilding works and Kansas wins three or four games in 2017 and makes a bowl game in 2018?
Beaty is a Texas man. He was born in the Dallas suburbs, coached Texas high school football for 13 years and spent six of his first nine college coaching seasons in the state. This is, however, his third stop at Kansas. He was receivers coach from 2008-09 and co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach in 2011. Clearly, there's something he enjoys about Lawrence and KU to keep coming back.
Derek Mason – Vanderbilt
The thought of losing another program-rebuilding is sickening for Vanderbilt fans. But that's the reality of their athletics department and the major revenue gap in the SEC.
After spending most of the first two decades of his coaching career out west, Mason hopped the Mississippi in 2014 to take the Vanderbilt job. He went 7-17 overall and 2-14 in the SEC in his first two seasons before bringing the Commodores to the postseason last year with a 6-6 regular-season mark and three conference victories. Frankly, the turnaround might be complete — at least a small one. Not many people expected the first-time head coach with no SEC experience to make Vandy relevant again this quickly.
Mason hasn't been afraid to move around, changing jobs 10 times between 1995-2014. One big thing to remember: His coaching stock skyrocketed as an assistant under David Shaw at Stanford. He's seen how an elite academic institution can be successful and might see similar potential in Nashville.
Jeff Brohm – Purdue
Like Kansas, it may not even take a complete turnaround at Purdue for new head coach Jeff Brohm to start fielding calls.
The Boilermakers have won nine total games the last four seasons, have made two bowl games since 2008 and haven't been a Big Ten contender since finishing second in 2003. Just a return to bowl contention would be an enormous achievement and thrust Brohm's name into the promotion pool.
The overwhelmingly obvious scenario is Louisville — Brohm's hometown and alma mater — if his former boss Bobby Petrino ever left. The 46-year-old Brohm also spent the first six years of his college coaching career with the Cardinals and has always spoken fondly of the city and university.