12 assistants I expect to become head coaches...soon
There are more than one thousand assistant coaches that would love to get an FBS head coaching job in the next few years. Only a handful of them will in the next few years. We've complied a list of coordinators we think have the leadership, the resume, the coaching smarts and the support from their own head coaches to make the leap. Admittedly, there are dozens if not hundreds of coaches that meet each of those check marks, but what separates our list is one word: charisma. Not everyone has it, but these guys do.
The bottom line is, is this a guy who gets mom, dad and son excited when he shows up at the doorstep? Will he leave parents saying, "I want my son to play for that head coach because I know he'll spend the next four years preparing him for the rest of his life"? Oh yeah, and will he make the athletic director who hired him look like a genius three years down the road...
I think these guys have that:
Kirby Smart (Defensive Coordinator - Alabama) - Kirby is polite and humble and can come off as polished when he needs to; but he's got that fire inside of him and he's a great teacher. He's ready, just waiting for the right opportunity. No rush given where he is and how he's treated at Alabama.
Doug Nussmeier (Offensive Coordinator - Alabama) - Getting the Alabama offensive coordinator position turbo-charged Nuss' run up the ladder. He's a former NFL quarterback that every coach loves to spend time with. He's a winner and he has developed his own style of coaching. Big upside for Nuss.
Scott Frost (Offensive Coordinator - Oregon) - It's hard to explain what a nice guy Scott Frost is. He's a very genuine person who makes decisions based on the foundation instilled within him during his upbringing. He's the type of guy who wins over both the parents and the players.
Chad Morris (Offensive Coordinator - Clemson) - We don't know Morris as well as many of the others on this list; but clearly Chad Morris resonates well with his players and on the recruiting trail. He has excelled as both a head coach and as an offensive coordinator. There's a reason he's paid so well.
Tom Herman (Offensive Coordinator - Ohio State) - Tom Herman is the smartest guy in the room; but he never makes you feel that way. A great game planner, Herman is exceptionally likable in the staff room and away from the office. He has learned from some of the best and will continue to succeed.
Derek Mason (Defensive Coordinator - Stanford) - Mase is one of the guys who could work on scheme all morning, then spend the rest of the day installing with players, get home very, very late look back on his day and feel like he's the luckiest guy on the planet. He loves coaching and he's very good at it. Derek also has a quiet presence about him. Spend time near him and you gravitate towards him. Just a good guy who is very good at what he does.
Cam Cameron (Offensive Coordinator - LSU) - We don't know what the future holds for Cam Cameron. Will he stay at LSU for a while, return to the NFL or possibly consider college head coaching opportunities? What we do know is that Cameron "feels" like a head coach. He's been there and done that; but doesn't push that in your face. He simply goes about his business preparing his players each and every day to be their best.
Justin Wilcox (Defensive Coordinator - Washington) - Wilcox is young; but he's been awfully successful and has developed quite a positive reputation within the profession. Young coaches frequently seek him out to ask for advice and he's responsive. That kind of humble nature allows him to really connect with potential recruits, their parents, and the coaches and administrators surrounding him. If Chris Petersen were to ever leave Boise...
D.J. Durkin (Defensive Coordinator - Florida) - Durkin is a guy you simply need to get to know because he's going to be around for a while. A two time captain at Bowling Green who has coached at BGSU, Stanford, Notre Dame and Florida will be a head coach soon enough. Durkin's the type of guy who could thrive in the MAC as a head coach for years and then step up and win at the highest level (think Urban... but a little nicer). Moms, dads, sisters and recruits will all love him.
Bob Diaco (Defensive Coordinator - Notre Dame) - Notre Dame's defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has the charm and the football IQ to be a head coach. Combine that with the confidence and savvy nature that he's able to communicate with to both recruits and the media and you're looking at a guy who's going to have his shot soon.
Chuck Martin (Offensive Coordinator - Notre Dame) - Chuck Martin was highly successful as the head coach at Grand Valley State (two D-II national titles and three appearances in the championship game) and he'll have opportunities to wear that title again. Martin's a quality individual that's really down to earth and humble. Perhaps not as flashy as some of the others; but equally as good.
Pat Narduzzi (Defensive Coordinator - Michigan State) - Narduzzi is ready. His defenses have been dominant in recent history and multiple programs have made offers; but Narduzzi is loyal and knows that he needs to be smart about his next step. Narduzzi recruits players and coaches very well and is a tireless worker. Some AD is going to get him and two years later get a nice raise because of the progress the team will make under Narduzzi's leadership.
One final note, we could go on and on about John Chavis, Mark Snyder, Bob Shoop and Clancy Pendergast as well. Each of these defensive coordinators is a great coach who do nothing but produce on the field and will continue to see nothing but success. They might not get the big mention in job searches; but sometimes the guys who keep their heads down and just work are the ones who wind up getting the best opportunities.