A former major college head coach landed a job, according to multiple reports Thursday morning, as Tim Brewster was headed to become the receivers coach at Mississippi State.
Who are some of the other former recent head coaches now prowling the sidelines or press box as assistants?
We have the answer, ranked by who had the most victories as a FBS head coach. These 10 former head coaches were either fired or resigned in the past three years but are still drawing up the Xs and Os and coaching up young players.
Brewster, with 15 career wins at Minnesota, doesn’t quite make the cut.
1. Al Groh, Georgia Tech defensive coordinator (85-92, 15 years).
Groh, 68, is coaching at his fourth Atlantic Coast Conference institution. He previously coached the linebackers at North Carolina from 1973-1977 and was head coach at Wake Forest from 1981-1986 and Virginia from 2001-2009. He took over the defensive coordinator spot with the Yellow Jackets in 2010, two months after Virginia fired him following the 2009 season. He compiled a 59-54 record in nine seasons with the Cavaliers. Groh will likely not be a head coach again given his age and his inability to win an ACC title in 15 years as head coach with Wake Forest and Virginia.
2. Tommy West, Southern Mississippi defensive coordinator (80-89, 15 years).
West, 58, begins his first season on Ellis Johnson’s staff after spending last season as the defensive coordinator at Alabama-Birmingham. He was head coach at Memphis for nine seasons, ending his with his termination following the 2009 season. He also coached at Clemson from 1994-1998. West will likely ride out his career as an assistant coach because of his lack of success at Clemson and Memphis, never winning a conference title and posting only three seasons with eight victories or more.
3. Steve Kragthorpe, Louisiana State quarterbacks coach (44-43, seven years).
Kragthorpe, 47, had a successful run at Tulsa but never got on track at Louisville. He coached the Golden Hurricane to a Conference USA title in 2005. When he took over for Bobby Petrino at Louisville in 2008, the Cardinals were a preseason top 10 team, but they finished 6-6. He never coached Louisville to a winning record in three seasons. After his firing in 2009, Kragthorpe was out of football in 2010. He returned in 2011 to be the offensive coordinator for Les Miles at LSU. Kragthorpe decided to concentrate on only coaching quarterbacks before the season started, however, because of Parkinson’s Disease. Because of the disease, Kragthorpe’s future as a head coach is unfortunately unlikely.
4. Mike Stoops, Oklahoma defensive coordinator (41-50, eight years).
Stoops, 50, returns to Oklahoma to be the defensive coordinator under his brother, Bob Stoops. It is a position he held with great success for five seasons with the Sooners before moving to Tucson. Mike restored the Arizona program after the Wildcats reached rock bottom during the transition from Dick Tomey to John Mackovic. He coached the Wildcats to three bowls, but he appeared to hit his ceiling at Arizona. He lost his last five games in 2010 and five of his first six in 2011 before athletic director Greg Byrne let him go. Will he be a head coach again? Probably, as long as he learns from his mistakes at Arizona. His fiery, temperamental demeanor on the sidelines is more suited for an assistant coach. As a head coach, he must do a better job of picking his spots and show that he has confidence in his assistants to do their job – just like his brother does at Oklahoma.
5. Rickey Bustle, Southern Mississippi offensive coordinator (41-65, nine years).
Louisiana-Lafayette definitely gave Bustle, 59, a chance, but he could not get over the hump, posting only one winning season out of nine. After serving as Tulane’s quarterback coach in 2010, following his firing from Louisiana-Lafayette, Bustle has moved over to Southern Miss to be the offensive coordinator. His addition gives first-year head coach Ellis Johnson two assistants with head coaching experience at the FBS level (Tommy West, ranked No. 3 on this list, is the other). Bustle’s head coaching days at the highest level of college football are probably over, but a coordinator’s position is probably fine with him given his unsuccessful background at Louisiana-Lafayette.
6. J.D. Brookhart, Colorado passing game coordinator, tight ends coach and special teams coach (30-42, six years).
Brookhart, 47, begins his second season with the Buffaloes after six mostly frustrating seasons with Akron. He was fired after the 2009 season finishing with his worst record, 3-9. In his second season in 2005, Brookhart looked like a decent up-and-coming coach, leading the Zips to their first Mid-American Conference title. But Akron was 17-31 in the following four years. If Brookhart returns to head coaching, it will probably be at a level lower than the FBS because he lacks an impressive resume. He has only coached at Pitt, Akron and now Colorado, without any of those teams having much success during his years there.
7. Doug Martin, Boston College offensive coordinator (29-53, seven years).
Martin, 49, never enjoyed a winning season in seven years as head coach at Kent State. He resigned in 2009 after three consecutive years of finishing fourth in the MAC East. After one season as offensive coordinator at New Mexico State, Martin is moving to the Boston College program to hopefully bring stability to coach Frank Spaziani’s staff. Martin, who was East Carolina’s offensive coordinator for seven years before coaching Kent State, is BC’s fourth offensive coordinator in the last year. Martin is young enough to clavim another head coaching job, but his failures at Kent State will keep him as a coordinator for a few years. He will likely have to go the FCS route to be a head coach again.
8. Randy Shannon, TCU linebackers coach (28-22, 4 years).
Shannon, 46, had four tumultuous seasons with the Miami Hurricanes (averaging only seven wins a season for the storied program) but his difficulties in Miami will not prevent him from being a head coach again. He has a good defensive mind and he coached the Hurricanes to three bowls. Five of his six defenses when he was the defensive coordinator at Miami were ranked nationally in the top 10. Shannon guided Miami to the third-best Academic Progress Rate in the FBS in his last year as coach. He also warned his players and coaches to stay away from Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, who admitted to giving improper benefits to players between 2002-2010. Shannon was out of football last season after his firing in 2010, before he could coach the Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl. He should be a success in Gary Patterson’s system and secure another head-coaching job at the FBS level within the next five years.
9. Mark Snyder, Texas A&M defensive coordinator (22-37, five years).
Snyder, 47, is a Jim Tressel protégé who went to Marshall in 2005 with an impressive resume. As the defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2001-2004, Snyder coached All-Americans such as linebackers Cie Grant, Matt Wilhelm and A.J. Hawk and helped the Buckeyes reach the Fiesta Bowl in 2003 and 2004. Snyder never created that kind of magic with Marshall, his alma mater. His highest finish in Conference USA was third in his second season (2006). Snyder became disenchanted with the job, and Marshall was ready for a change, following the regular-season finale in 2009, in which the Herd finished 6-6 – Snyder’s best record. Marshall was later invited to Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit to face Ohio. Snyder did not coach the team because of his resignation. After serving as South Florida’s defensive coordinator last year, Snyder accepted Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s invitation to be defensive coordinator for the Aggies. Snyder has the tools to be a head coach with his accomplishments on the defensive side of the ball. If the Aggies prove to be a success in the SEC, that will be a springboard for Snyder to get another shot at the FBS level.
10. Mike Sanford, Utah State running backs/tight end coach (16-43, five years).
Sanford, 57, returns to the state where he had his most success as a coach when he was the offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Utah. He will need to feel that comfort after the debacle that happened in Louisville last season. Sanford was replaced midway through the season as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator by head coach Charlie Strong reportedly because of Sanford’s play calling. Louisville ranked last in the Big East and 105th out of 120 FBS schools in scoring offense (18.7 points per game) at the time of the switch. Sanford joined Gary Andersen’s staff at Utah State in March. Both were part of Meyer’s Utah staff in 2004 that guided the Utes to a 12-0 record and victory in the Fiesta Bowl. Following his unsuccessful five-year run at UNLV – never winning more than five games in a season – and the miserable situation at Louisville, Sanford is not thinking about future opportunities. Making the most of his situation at Utah State with his buddy Andersen will suffice.