Every school celebrates a new coaching hire, but some deserve more kudos than others. It’s time to pass out grades for the coaching carousel so far, as a handful of Power 5 and Group of 5 jobs remain unfilled (we’ll get to those later).
Not every job or search is the same, so these grades are based on the type of coach certain schools can realistically attract, how well the coach fits the school and how quickly the coach can generate success.
It’s coaching report card time, so take a look or shield your eyes, depending on where your allegiance lies.
Out: Jim Mora
In: Chip Kelly
An underachieving, underfunded program upped its game in a big way, first by paying Mora a lot of money to go away, then by landing Kelly, the most coveted free agent of the cycle. Kelly brings a 46-7 record with three Pac-12 titles to a UCLA program that last won the league in 1998. While Kelly and his offense might lack the novelty factor he had at Oregon, he has advantages in Westwood that he didn’t enjoy in Eugene, namely the local recruiting base. Athletic director Dan Guerrero and his team hit a grand slam here.
Out: Mike Riley
In: Scott Frost
Bill Moos delivered. The athletic director brought in to replace Shawn Eichorst had one job (find a football coach) and, in essence, one candidate to hire in Frost. Nebraska landed the hottest candidate in the Group of 5 and a coach who has recruited all over the country and understands what goes into making Nebraska great. He engineered a major turnaround at UCF, although to be fair, the Knights’ 0-12 season in 2015 is a clear outlier for a program that reached the Fiesta Bowl two years before bottoming out. Frost has only been a head coach for two seasons but understands what it takes to lead and the fishbowl he enters at his alma mater.
Out: Kevin Sumlin
In: Jimbo Fisher
There was an over-the-top element to Texas A&M’s hiring of Fisher, with a market-shattering 10-year, $75 million deal and a king’s welcome, including a maroon carpet and trumpets at the airport. But that’s Texas A&M, a program flush with money and extravagance but not national titles. It’s why athletic director Scott Woodward brings in a coach who has won at the highest level and knows that anything less is unacceptable. The concerns here are an incredibly lengthy deal for a coach who hasn’t built on his lone national title and just had the most disappointing season of his career. Still, Texas…