The 2019-20 college football coaching carousel turned up a few surprises, and a few more should be in store through the offseason cycle.
Chris Petersen’s resignation at Washington, Greg Schiano’s return to Rutgers and Lane Kiffin’s return to the SEC at Ole Miss were the big storylines that have dominated this turn through that carousel. Perhaps the biggest splash happened Thursday when Mississippi State hired longtime Washington State coach Mike Leach.
A total of 22 coaching jobs have changed with this cycle. Sporting News will track the new coaches here as that carousel continues to spin in the offseason.
New FBS coaches for 2020 season
Rutgers: Greg Schiano
Hired (Dec. 1): Rutgers went back to Schiano, who had a 68-67 record with the school from 2001-11 before taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job in the NFL. Schiano gained a better understanding about what it takes to win in the Big Ten East from a three-year stint as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator from 2016-18, and he should be able to elevate the recruiting from the Scarlet Knights. This is a massive renovation project, but Rutgers can’t complain. Since Schiano left, the Scarlet Knights are 36-63 the last eight seasons.
Washington: Jimmy Lake
Hired (Dec. 2): Petersen’s resignation came as a surprise to many, but the program maintained continuity with the immediate hire of Lake. Lake, 42, is a first-time head coach who served as the defensive coordinator the last four seasons under Petersen. Lake spent six seasons in the NFL as a defensive backs coach before joining Petersen at Boise State, and he should offer a fresh take on a system that has proven to work in the Pac-12 North.
Ole Miss: Lane Kiffin
Hired (Dec. 7): Kiffin is back in the Power 5 after leading Florida Atlantic to a pair of Conference-USA championships in the last three seasons. Kiffin enjoyed that success with a high-scoring offense, and this is his third stint as a coach in a big conference. The Rebels are 11-14 since Hugh Freeze resigned, but Kiffin has the ability to lift this team back into the upper half of the SEC West. We know it’s going to be fun to watch no matter what happens.
Florida State: Mike Norvell
Hired (Dec. 7): Florida State hired Norvell after Memphis won the American Athletic Conference championship game. The 38 year old was among the most-coveted Group of 5 hires after a four-year stint with the Tigers that produced a 38-15 record. Memphis sent eight players to the NFL Draft the last four seasons, including four skill-position players. Look for Norvell to renovate the Seminoles’ offense, too.
Arkansas: Sam Pittman
Hired (Dec. 8) : Arkansas fills its vacant position left by Chad Morris with former Razorbacks assistant Sam Pittman. He was previously the associate head coach and offensive line coach at fellow SEC program Georgia. Pittman, 58, is regarded as a strong recruiter and was the highest-paid offensive line coach in FBS with a $900,000 annual salary. He was promoted to associate head coach at Georgia in February. This will be Pittman’s first head-coaching position at the FBS level.
Missouri: Eli Drinkwitz
Hired (Dec. 8): Drinkwitz, 36, didn’t take long to make an impact at Appalachian State. He guided the Mountaineers to a 12-1 record and Sun Belt championship, and that built on his reputation as a successful offensive coordinator at North Carolina State. He will take on the job at Missouri in the SEC East. The Tigers are 24-26 the last four seasons with a 11-21 record in conference play.
Old Dominion: Ricky Rahne
Hired (Dec. 9): Rhane, 39, has served as a Penn State assistant since 2014; mostly as a quarterbacks coach. He was the offensive coordinator the last two seasons, and the former Cornell quarterback makes the ascension to first-time head coach. The Monarchs have enjoyed flashes of success since moving up to the FBS, and Rahne should help push them back into bowl contention sooner rather than later.
USF: Jeff Scott
Hired (Dec. 9): Scott, 38, started out as a high school coach and worked his way up as an assisstant for Dabo Swinney the last 12 years at Clemson. He kept his job as a receivers coach and was the co-offensive coordinator the last five seasons. Scott should be able to apply those lessons in his first head-coaching job at South Florida. The Bulls slipped to 4-8 this year after four straight winning seasons. Scott, a Florida native, can help turn that around.
UTSA: Jeff Traylor
Hired (Dec. 11): Traylor takes over after serving as Arkansas’ associate head coach the last two seasons. Traylor is a native Texan who played at Austin Peay and was the head coach at Gilmer High School for 15 seasons before bumping up to FBS football. He was an assisant at Texas and SMU before the stint with the Razorbacks. Traylor should be able to work those in-state connections on the recruiting trail to bolster the UTSA program.
UNLV: Marcus Arroyo
Hired (Dec. 11) : Arroyo, now the former Oregon offensive coordinator, is tabbed as the new UNLV head coach. At 39, Arroyo is picking up his first gig as a head coach after making several FBS stops, including San Jose State, Wyoming, Cal, Southern Miss and Oklahoma State. He also spent a season with the Buccaneers as a QB coach after being hired by Lovie Smith. Arroyo, a San Jose State grad, threw for 28 touchdowns and 28 interceptions over his four seasons with the Spartans between 1998 and 2002. He will look to a struggling UNLV program that has just one bowl appearance since 2001.
Colorado State: Steve Addazio
Hired (Dec. 11) : Addazio’s unemployment lasts less than two weeks. He was fired from Boston College on Dec. 1 and is now headed to Mountain West territory to take over the Colorado State position. This will be Addazio’s third FBS head-coaching job, currently owning a 57-55 career record with Temple and Boston College and reaching bowl eligibility six times in nine seasons. Since winning nine games in his first season at Temple in 2011, Addazio has been unable to win more than seven games or finish above .500 in conference play. At 60, the longtime high-major assistant will look to rejuvenate a Colorado State program that has won seven total games over the last two years.
FAU: Willie Taggart
Hired (Dec. 11): Taggart did not take long to find a new coaching spot. He takes over at FAU after being fired by Florida State this season. This is Taggart’s fifth head coaching job, and he has a 56-62 record through stops with Western Kentucky, South Florida, Oregon and Florida State. He will inherit a talented roster at FAU that will be ready to compete for the Conference-USA championship and perhaps a New Year’s Day Six bowl bid. Expect Taggart to fare well with the Owls.
Appalachian State: Shawn Clark
Hired (Dec. 12): The Mountaineers are on their third coach in three years, but continuity has been the key to success and Clark should be able to keep that going. He played at Appalachian State, and has served as an offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator the past four seasons. Some programs would not be able to withstand that kind of turnover, but the Mountaineers should be fine.
Boston College: Jeff Hafley
Hired (Dec. 13): Hafley, 40, turned a one-year stint as a co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State into a head coaching job with Boston College. The Buckeyes ranked second in the FBS in pass defense this season with the help of Hafley, who was a secondary coach at both the college and NFL level before coming to Ohio State. The New Jersey native is back on the East Coast and should add a jolt to a Boston College program that hit the seven-win mark six times this decade.
Memphis: Ryan Silverfield
Hired (Dec. 13): The Tigers promoted from within after Norvell took the Florida State job. Silverfield has been on the Tigers’ staff the past four seasons and was a deputy head coach in 2019. Silverfield’s background is mostly an offensive line coach, and he had two stops in the NFL with Minnesota and Detroit. Silverfield takes over a program that had a 38-15 record the last four seasons.
Fresno State: Kalen DeBoer
Hired (Dec. 17): DeBoer was named Fresno State’s head coach after a one-year stint as Indiana’s offensive coordinator. He had previously served as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator under Jeff Tedford from 2017-18. This is his second head-coaching stint. He won three NAIA national championships at Sioux Falls before making the climb up the FBS coaching ladder.
New Mexico: Danny Gonzales
Hired (Dec. 18): Gonzales returns to his alma mater, where he played safety and punter from 1994-98. He spent the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Arizona State, and the 43-year-old Albuquerque native has coaching experience in the Mountain West Conference and Pac-12 and should be able to use those experiences in recruiting. He should bring a fresh energy to a program that needs it, and the close-to-home-ties count for something.
San Diego State: Brady Hoke
Hired (Jan. 9): The Aztecs hired Hoke, who was the defensive line coach under Rocky Long this season. Hoke, of course, coached San Diego State from 2009-10 before a four-year stint at Michigan. Hoke has bounced around with jobs at Oregon, Tennessee and the Carolina Panthers since, but the move allows for continuity for one of the better Group of 5 programs in the FBS.
Mississippi State: Mike Leach
Hired (Jan. 10): Leach is finally taking his game to the SEC. Mississippi State made the biggest splash of the coaching carousel by bringing in Leach, who compiled a 139-90 record as a head coach in stops at Texas Tech and Washington State. Leach will bring that pass-every-down-offense to Starkville, and he’s the perfect one-up-hire to Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin. We are already looking forward to SEC Media Days.
Washington State: Nick Rolovich
Hired (Jan. 13): Washington State filled Leach’s position with Rolovich, who left his alma mater after a gradual four-season turnaround. The Warriors won 10 games in 2019. There should not be much of a philosophical shift given Rolovich’s work with Cole McDonald at Hawaii, and the 40 year old might stick around in Pullman a little longer. Considering the way Leach left, this is a nice get.
Baylor: Dave Aranda
Hired (Jan. 16): The Carolina Panthers plucked Matt Rhule away from Baylor on Jan. 7, and the Bears picked Dave Aranda as their new leader. Aranda is fresh off winning a national championship with LSU, where he was the defensive coordinator for the past four years. It’s interesting to see Rhule replaced with a defensive mind, though Aranda is one of the best in the business. He’s been an FBS defensive coordinator since 2010, and it’s hardly surprising to see him get a chance to be a team’s head coach.
Hawaii: Todd Graham
Hired (Jan. 21): Graham takes over at Hawaii after taking the last two seasons off. Graham compiled a 95-61 record at his last four coaching stops at Rice, Tulsa, Pitt and Arizona State. He’s led five 10-win seasons and should be able to build on what Nick Rolovich started wtih the Warriors. We’ll see what Graham learned from the time off.
2020 FBS coaching changes
|SCHOOL||FORMER COACH||NEW COACH|
|Rutgers||Chris Ash||Greg Schiano|
|Florida State||Willie Taggart||Mike Norvell|
|Arkansas||Chad Morris||Sam Pittman|
|New Mexico||Bob Davie||Danny Gonzales|
|UNLV||Tony Sanchez||Marcus Arroyo|
|Missouri||Barry Odom||Eli Drinkwitz|
|UTSA||Frank Wilson||Jeff Traylor|
|USF||Charlie Strong||Jeff Scott|
|Boston College||Steve Addazio||Jeff Hafley|
|Ole Miss||Matt Luke||Lane Kiffin|
|Old Dominion||Bobby Wilder||Ricky Rahne|
|Washington||Chris Petersen||Jimmy Lake|
|Colorado State||Mike Bobo||Steve Addazio|
|Fresno State||Jeff Tedford||Kalen DeBoer|
|FAU||Lane Kiffin||Willie Taggart|
|Memphis||Mike Norvell||Ryan Silverfield|
|Appalachian State||Eli Drinkwitz||Shawn Clark|
|Mississippi State||Joe Moorhead||Mike Leach|
|Baylor||Matt Rhule||Dave Aranda|
|San Diego State||Rocky Long||Brady Hoke|
|Washington State||Mike Leach||Nick Rolovich|
|Hawaii||Nick Rolovich||Todd Graham|