Coaching changes are part of college football, and with the early signing period a pivotal part of a recruiting class, athletic directors are getting their ducks in a row to make sure that their programs don't miss a beat despite changing leadership. Those are big reasons why 2022-23 coaching carousel is off to a fast start.
The most recent waves were made at Colorado, where the Buffaloes hired Deion Sanders away from Jackson State after it fired Karl Dorrell during the season. Sanders spent two seasons rebuilding Jackson State into an FCS power before making the jump to the Power Five. Louisville is also bringing former Cardinals great Jeff Brohm home after Scott Satterfield left for the Cincinnati job.
Auburn made a huge splash on Nov. 28 when it announced that Liberty's Hugh Freeze will return to the SEC to take over the Tigers. Wisconsin made big news when it let go of Paul Chryst, and made an even bigger splash when it hired Cincinnati's Luke Fickell as his replacement. Freeze was 39-25 (including vacated wins) in five seasons at Ole Miss. Nebraska made a big hire on Nov. 26 when it tapped former Baylor and Temple head coach Matt Rhule to take over for Scott Frost. with the Bears and Owls, and will be charged with the same task in Lincoln. Stanford coach David Shaw resigned after 12 seasons, leaving as the winningest coach in program history. Bryan Harsin was finally let go at Auburn with four games left in Year 2, right as the athletic department underwent a change in leadership.
The Group of Five has seen significant coaching turnover as well, with Liberty's Jamey Chadwell and FAU's Tom Herman among the most recent hires.
Here's a look at the updated coaching changes and grades for each vacancy that has been filled.
College football coaching carousel
|Brian Newberry ( Navy defensive coordinator)||Ken Nuimatalolo||This will be Newberry's first head coaching gig. He has been Navy's defensive coordinator for four years and was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award in 2019. The familiarity with the challenges that exist at Navy is important, but inexperience is at least a small concern for the Midshipmen. Grade: B|
|Zach Arnett ( Mississippi State defensive coordinator)||Mike Leach||Arnett steps into the full-time role after Leach died suddenly. This is an incredibly difficult situation for which there is no easy way to move forward, but Arnett's familiarity with Leach's philosophies will help continue his legacy and provide stability through the tough time. He is a first-time head coach in the SEC, though. That's a big jump. Grade: B|
|Kenni Burns ( Minnesota running backs coach||Sean Lewis||This is Burns' first crack at as a coach in major college football, but he brings a wealth of experience as an assistant under P.J. Fleck at Minnesota and Western Michigan . He also served as an assistant at FCS juggernaut North Dakota State . This is a perfect place for Burns to get started in the next phase of his career. Grade: B+|
|Eric Morris ( Washington State offensive coordinator)||Seth Littrell||Morris has plenty of experience as an assistant coach in the state of Texas, including at Houston (2010-11), Texas Tech (2013-17) and was the head coach at Incarnate Word (2018-21). That is a big deal for the Mean Green, and makes up for his lack of experience as an FBS head coach. Grade: B+|
|Ryan Walters ( Illinois defensive coordinator)||Jeff Brohm||Walters, 36, was very successful as Illinois' defensive coordinator from 2021-22. He has Power Five experience as an assistant in the Big Ten and SEC, so he knows what major college football demands from its coaches. With that said, this is his first head coaching job and he is replacing a program that has become synonymous with its offensive prowess. Grade: B|
|Troy Taylor ( Sacramento State head coach)||David Shaw||Taylor was the coach at Sacramento State before jumping up to the Pac-12 after four years in the FCS. He was successful at the lower level posting a 30-8 record, but this is a whole different ballgame. It's hard enough to be the coach at Stanford given the restrictions that existed. It'll be even more difficult for a first-time FBS coach. Grade: C|
|Lance Taylor ( Louisville offensive coordinator)||Tim Lester||Louisville's offense was remarkably average under Taylor, but his Power 5 experience will help rebuild a program that went downhill under Lester. His lack of head coaching experience is concerning, however. Grade: C+|
|Jeff Brohm ( Purdue head coach)||Scott Satterfield||Brohm led Purdue to multiple bowl games across six years and a Big Ten West title in 2022. He's fielded electric offenses, and his arrival serves as a homecoming moment for the Louisville native, former quarterback and assistant coach for the Cardinals. Long coveted by the fanbase, now finally home, Brohm is an excellent hire for Louisville. Grade: A-|
|Barry Odom ( Arkansas defensive coordinator)||Marcus Arroyo||Odom brings more than a decade of experience in the SEC as a head coach and coordinator, which should pay huge dividends for the Rebels. He was 25-25 in four seasons as the coach at Missouri (2016-19), and that experience will be huge for a program that has been spinning its wheels for quite some time. Grade: B+|
|Kevin Wilson ( Ohio State offensive coordinator)||Philip Montgomery||Wilson gets his second head coaching job after a six-year stint with the Buckeyes as an assistant. Wilson's prior track record is a sub-.500 run at Indiana from 2011 to 2016, and Tulsa isn't an easy place to consistently win, but his offensive acumen probably meant he was going to get another shot somewhere. Grade: C|
|Scott Satterfield (Louisville head coach)||Luke Fickell||Satterfield was 25-24 in four seasons at Louisville, and was unable to elevate the program into ACC contention. However, he was a superstar at Appalachian State from 2013-18 and led the transition for the program from FCS to FBS. That experience will help as Cincinnati transitions to the Big 12, but his lack of success at the Power Five level is concerning. Grade: C+|
|Tim Beck (NC State offensive coordinator)||Jamey Chadwell||This is Beck's first crack as a head coach, and he is taking over a Chanticleers program that established a tradition of offensive success under Chadwell. None of Beck's three Wolfpack offenses finished in the top half of the ACC, and two of this three offenses at Texas finished in the bottom half of the Big 12. This hire doesn't make any sense. Grade: F|
|Jamey Chadwell ( Coastal Carolina head coach)||Hugh Freeze||Chadwell led Coastal Carolina into the national spotlight with back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2020 and 2021. His offensive success will play well with a Liberty program that emerged as an offensive threat under Freeze. Simply put, he will slide right in and continue the program's rise as it transitions into Conference USA. Grade: A-|
|Deion Sanders (Jackson State coach)||Karl Dorrell||Sanders was hired from Jackson State, where he posted a 27-5 record including an undefeated 2022 mark this season. He doesn't have major college head coaching experience, but his ability to recruit high schoolers and transfers, develop players and market the program should put the Buffaloes on the map in a hurry. Grade: A-|
|Alex Golesh ( Tennessee offensive coordinator)||Jeff Scott||Golesh comes to South Florida after helping guide Tennessee's offense to No. 1 nationally in both scoring and total offense. He also has experience building a winning organization with Matt Campbell at Iowa State . With that said, South Florida is taking another chance on an outsider who is unproven as a head coach. That's dangerous for a team that has regressed into irrelevancy. Grade: D|
|G.J. Kinne ( Incarnate Word coach)||Jake Spavital||Kinne has proven to be an offensive wizard during his coaching career, including this season at Incanate Word where his team averaged 52.9 points mer game. His ties to the state of Texas coupled with his offensive prowess make him a solid fit for a program that is searching for an identity. As long as the Texas State administration gives the 34-year-old time to build, he could make the Bobcats relevant in the Sun Belt. Grade: B|
|Tom Herman (Ex-Texas coach)||Willie Taggart||Herman was at one time an up-and-coming name in the coaching ranks, and he lands at a place with a history of taking Power Five retreads. When you combined his stints at Houston and Texas, Herman's track record checks out fine. He can win here. Grade: B|
|Trent Dilfer (High school coach and former NFL QB)||Bill Clark||Clark announced his retirement in June and Bryant Vincent took over on an interim basis. Vincent went 6-6 in 2022 and led the Blazers to the Bahamas Bowl. Dilfer has had success as a player and at the high school level, but UAB is taking a big risk hiring him over Vincent. Grade: C-|
|Brent Key ( Georgia Tech interim coach)||Geoff Collins||Key led the Yellow Jackets to a 4-4 record following Collins' dismissal. He's a Georgia Tech alum who knows the challenges that the program faces. With that said, he's a first-time head coach at a Power Five school that has to fight recruiting battles with all of the top-tier teams in the country. It might take some time. Grade: B-|
|Hugh Freeze (Liberty coach)||Bryan Harsin||Freeze was 39-25 (including vacated wins) in five years as the head coach at Ole Miss (2012-16). He followed that up with a 31-15 record at Liberty from 2019-22. His resignation from Ole Miss in July 2017 for a "pattern of personal misconduct," but there's no doubt that the guy can win at an elite level. Grade: A|
|Luke Fickell (Cincinnati coach)||Paul Chryst||This is a home-run hire for a Badgers program that needed a spark. Fickell was 57-18 with the Bearcats, had three double-digit win seasons, two conference titles and a berth in the College Football Playoff following the 2021 season. Grade: A+|
|Kenny Dillingham ( Oregon offensive coordinator)||Herm Edwards||Dillingham is an Arizona State alum who has never served as a head coach. He has a lot of upside, but Arizona State is counting on a very young leader -- 32 years old -- to navigate through some NCAA issues while building the program back. Grade: C+|
|Matt Rhule (Ex-Carolina Panthers coach)||Scott Frost||Rhule was 19-20 in three seasons in Baylor, and took the program from a disaster after the Art Briles era to the Sugar Bowl and 10-win season in his third year with the Bears. He is a known program builder, which is exactly what Nebraska needs. Grade: A|
|Biff Poggi ( Michigan associate head coach)||Will Healy||After the young Will Healy faded, Charlotte opted to go the opposite direction and nab a grizzled veteran. Poggi, 62, has a storied career as a high school coach to his name and helped reorganize Michigan behind the scenes over the past two years. It's not a flashy hire, but Poggi might be the kind of organizational mind Charlotte needs while entering the AAC. Grade: B|
Notable retentions, extensions
|Joey McGuire||Extended||McGuire earned a new contract that will pay him $26.6 million over the next six seasons after he guided Texas Tech to a 7-5 mark in his first regular season. The former Baylor assistant and longtime high school coach in Texas guided the Red Raiders to a 5-4 mark in Big 12 play.|
|Bret Bielema||Extended||Bielema received a contract extension through the 2028 season. He is 13-11 in two seasons with the program, including an 8-4 record in 2022.|
|P.J. Fleck||Extended||Fleck has reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $42 million deal that provides an increase of $1 million per year over his previous contract. |
|Jedd Fisch||Extended||The second-year coach has been extended through the 2027 season after leading the Wildcats to an improved 5-7 effort in 2022.|
|Neal Brown||Retained||Brown has a 22-25 record with the Mountaineers, and his only winning season was a 6-4 record during the pandemic-shortened campaign in 2020.|
|Lance Leipold||Extended||The second-year coach of the Jayhawks received a contract extension through the 2029 season. He is 8-16 in two seasons, and led the Jayhawks to a 5-0 start in 2022.|
|Kalen DeBoer||Extended||Washington coach Kalen DeBoer signed a contract extension to stay in Seattle through the 2028 football season. The new contract adds two years and $1 million per season to his original deal after leading the Huskies to a 9-2 record in 2022. |
|Mark Stoops||Extended||Kentucky coach Mark Stoops signed a contract extension on Nov. 18, 2022 that will keep him in Lexington through the 2030 season. He is 65-58 in 10 seasons leading the Wildcats.|
|Dabo Swinney||Extended||Clemson announced in September that it rewarded the two-time national champion with a 10-year, $115 million extension.|