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Where did they come from: Previous jobs of all 125 FBS head coaches

Have you ever applied for an entry-level job, only to see the position requires three-to-five years of experience? If you remember that feeling, you know what the path to becoming a BCS-level head coach can feel like, because becoming a BCS head coach follows that same circle of logic. After studying the previous jobs of all 125 head coaches, it turns out the surest way to get a head coaching job is....to become a head coach. That's especially true at the BCS level, where 36 of the 73 BCS-level head coaches were plucked from head coaching jobs at other schools, and another eight were promoted from within. 

We broke our methodology down into eight categories, with a real-life example in parenthesis: FBS/NFL head coach-to-head coach hirings (Les Miles), NFL assistants (Bill O'Brien), lower-level head coaches (Frank Beamer), FBS coordinators promoted from within (David Shaw), FBS coordinators with a prior connection to the program who hired them (Kliff Kingsbury), FBS coordinators with no prior connection to the program (Charlie Strong), FBS position coaches promoted from within (Pat Fitzgerald), and FBS assistants with no prior connection to the program (Rick Stockstill). 

FBS/NFL head coach: 42
NFL assistant: 11
FBS coordinator (promoted from within): 14
FBS coordinator (prior connection to program): 9
FBS coordinator (no previous connection): 32
FBS assistant (promoted from within): 3
FBS assistant (no previous connection): 4
Lower-level head coach: 10

Of the 73 head coaches immediately pulled from a coordinator/position coaching job, offense holds a 51-22 advantage over defense. Of the 52 head coach-to-head coach hirings, 31 came with an offensive background. In all, nearly two thirds of FBS head coaches lean toward the offensive side of the ball. And we wonder why points and yardage are at an all-time high. 

For purposes of this study, we're looking only at jobs inside the coaching profession. So we skipped over the media work of guys like Bob Davie, Urban Meyer and Mike Leach.

Finally, one more caveat. While each coach has obviously been hired for the totality of his resume rather than just the work done at his last job, that is clearer for some coaches than others. For instance, we're more than aware Connecticut hired Paul Pasqualoni for his accomplishments as Syracuse's head coach as opposed to his one season as the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator. The same goes for Temple head coach Matt Rhule's six years as an Owls assistant versus his one season as a New York Giants assistant. Things get a little messy when you're fitting 125 coaches' resumes into eight categories. 

ACC
Boston College: Steve Addazio - Temple head coach
Clemson: Dabo Swinney - Clemson assistant head coach/wide receivers coach
Duke: David Cutcliffe - Tennessee offensive coordinator
Florida State: Jimbo Fisher - Florida State offensive coordinator
Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson - Navy head coach
Maryland: Randy Edsall - Connecticut head coach
Miami: Al Golden - Temple head coach
North Carolina: Larry Fedora - Southern Miss head coach
N.C. State: Dave Doeren - Northern Illinois head coach
Pittsburgh: Paul Chryst - Wisconsin offensive coordinator
Syracuse: Scott Shafer - Syracuse defensive coordinator
Virginia: Mike London - Richmond head coach
Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer - Murray State head coach
Wake Forest: Jim Grobe - Ohio head coach

Big Ten
Illinois: Tim Beckman - Toledo head coach
Indiana: Kevin Wilson - Oklahoma offensive coordinator
Iowa: Kirk Ferentz - Baltimore Ravens offensive line coach
Michigan: Brady Hoke - San Diego State head coach
Michigan State: Mark Dantonio - Cincinnati head coach
Minnesota: Jerry Kill - Northern Illinois head coach
Nebraska: Bo Pelini - LSU defensive coordinator
Northwestern: Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern linebackers coach
Ohio State: Urban Meyer - Florida head coach
Penn State: Bill O'Brien - New England Patriots offensive coordinator
Purdue: Darrell Hazell - Kent State head coach
Wisconsin: Gary Andersen - Utah State head coach

Big 12 
Baylor: Art Briles - Houston head coach
Iowa State: Paul Rhoads - Auburn defensive coordinator
Kansas: Charlie Weis - Florida offensive coordinator
Kansas State: Bill Snyder - Iowa offensive coordinator
Oklahoma: Bob Stoops - Florida defensive coordinator
Oklahoma State: Mike Gundy - Oklahoma State assistant head coach/offensive coordinator
TCU: Gary Patterson - TCU defensive coordinator
Texas: Mack Brown - North Carolina head coach
Texas Tech: Kliff Kingsbury - Texas A&M offensive coordinator
West Virginia: Dana Holgorsen - Oklahoma State offensive coordinator

Pac-12
Arizona: Rich Rodriguez - Michigan head coach
Arizona State: Todd Graham - Pittsburgh head coach
California: Sonny Dykes - Louisiana Tech head coach
Colorado: Mike MacIntyre - San Jose State head coach
Oregon: Mark Helfrich - Oregon offensive coordinator
Oregon State: Mike Riley - New Orleans Saints assistant head coach/defensive backs coach
Stanford: David Shaw - Stanford offensive coordinator
UCLA: Jim Mora - Seattle Seahawks head coach
USC: Lane Kiffin - Tennessee head coach
Utah: Kyle Whittingham - Utah defensive coordinator
Washington: Steve Sarkisian - USC assistant head coach/offensive coordinator
Washington State: Mike Leach - Texas Tech head coach

SEC
Alabama: Nick Saban - Miami Dolphins head coach
Arkansas: Bret Bielema - Wisconsin head coach
Auburn: Gus Malzahn - Arkansas State head coach
Florida: Will Muschamp - Texas defensive coordinator
Georgia: Mark Richt - Florida State offensive coordinator
Kentucky: Mark Stoops - Florida State defensive coordinator
LSU: Les Miles - Oklahoma State head coach
Mississippi State: Dan Mullen - Florida offensive coordinator
Missouri: Gary Pinkel - Toledo head coach
Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze - Arkansas State head coach
South Carolina: Steve Spurrier - Washington Redskins head coach
Tennessee: Butch Jones - Cincinnati head coach
Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin - Houston head coach
Vanderbilt: James Franklin - Maryland assistant head coach/offensive coordinator

FBS Independents
Army: Rich Ellerson - Cal Poly head coach
BYU: Bronco Mendenhall - BYU defensive coordinator
Idaho: Paul Petrino - Arkansas offensive coordinator
Navy: Ken Niumatalolo - Navy offensive coordinator
New Mexico State: Doug Martin - Boston College offensive coordinator
Notre Dame: Brian Kelly - Cincinnati head coach

American
Central Florida: George O'Leary - Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator
Cincinnati: Tommy Tuberville - Texas Tech head coach
Connecticut: Paul Pasqualoni - Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator
Houston: Tony Levine - Houston assistant head coach/special teams/tight ends/outside receivers coach
Louisville: Charlie Strong - Florida assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator
Memphis: Justin Fuente - TCU co-offensive coordinator
Rutgers: Kyle Flood - Rutgers assistant head coach/offensive line 
SMU: June Jones - Hawaii head coach
South Florida: Willie Taggart - Western Kentucky head coach
Temple: Matt Rhule - New York Giants assistant offensive line coach

Conference USA
East Carolina: Ruffin McNeill - Texas Tech assistant head coach/defensive coordinator
Florida Atlantic: Carl Pelini - Nebraska defensive coordinator
Florida International: Ron Turner - Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks coach
Louisiana Tech: Skip Holtz - South Florida head coach
Marshall: Doc Holliday - West Virginia associate head coach/tight ends/fullbacks coach
Middle Tennessee: Rick Stockstill - South Carolina wide receivers coach
North Texas: Dan McCarney - Florida assistant head coach/defensive line coach
Rice: David Bailiff - Texas State head coach
Southern Miss: Todd Monken - Oklahoma State offensive coordinator
Tulane: Curtis Johnson - New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach
Tulsa: Bill Blankenship - Tulsa senior associate head coach/running backs coach/special teams coordinator
UAB: Garrick McGee - Arkansas offensive coordinator
UTEP: Sean Kugler - Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach
UTSA: Larry Coker - Miami head coach

MAC
Akron: Terry Bowden - North Alabama head coach
Ball State: Pete Lembo - Elon head coach
Bowling Green: Dave Clawson - Tennessee offensive coordinator
Buffalo: Jeff Quinn - Cincinnati offensive coordinator
Central Michigan: Dan Enos - Michigan State running backs coach
Eastern Michigan: Ron English - Louisville defensive coordinator
Kent State: Paul Haynes - Arkansas defensive coordinator
Massachusetts: Charley Molnar - Notre Dame offensive coordinator
Miami (Ohio): Don Treadwell - Michigan State offensive coordinator
Northern Illinois: Rod Carey - Northern Illinois offensive coordinator
Ohio: Frank Solich - Nebraska head coach
Toledo: Matt Campbell - Toledo offensive coordinator
Western Michigan:  P.J. Fleck - Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers coach

Mountain West
Air Force: Troy Calhoun - Houston Texans offensive coordinator
Boise State: Chris Petersen - Boise State offensive coordinator
Colorado State: Jim McElwain - Alabama offensive coordinator
Fresno State: Tim DeRuyter - Texas A&M defensive coordinator
Hawaii: Norm Chow - Utah offensive coordinator
Nevada: Brian Polian - Texas A&M special teams coordinator
New Mexico: Bob Davie - Notre Dame head coach
San Diego State: Rocky Long - San Diego State defensive coordinator
San Jose State: Ron Caragher - San Diego head coach
UNLV: Bobby Hauck - Montana head coach
Utah State: Matt Wells - Utah State offensive coordinator
Wyoming: Dave Christensen - Missouri offensive coordinator

Sun Belt
Arkansas State: Bryan Harsin - Texas offensive coordinator
Georgia State: Trent Miles - Indiana State head coach
Louisiana - Lafayette: Mark Hudspeth - Mississippi State passing game coordinator
Louisiana - Monroe: Todd Berry - UNLV offensive coordinator
South Alabama: Joey Jones - Birmingham-Southern head coach*
Texas State: Dennis Franchione - Texas A&M head coach
Troy: Larry Blakeney - Auburn offensive coordinator
Western Kentucky: Bobby Petrino - Arkansas head coach

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