Top 10 college football coaches in line for a promotion

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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As we near the part of the college football season where we begin serious talks of hiring and firing coaches. Some teams’ season aren’t going how they pictured, which results in openings for other coaches who are thriving. Florida State, Arkansas and Rutgers already fired their coaches, and will be looking for new leaders. Luckily for them, there are quite a few quality options to choose from in the offseason.

College football coaches on the rise

Mike Norvell, Memphis

For the last three years, Memphis survived poaching season. The only problem is Norvell makes it more difficult to keep him with all of the Tigers success. The 38-year old took over the program for Justin Fuente, and took it to another level. He won 36 games over the past four seasons, and can add three more to his resume along with an AAC Championship. Already linked to multiple jobs over the past few years, Norvell continues to dismiss rumors he’s leaving, but’s tough to ignore the noise as it grows louder.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Whittingham has a great thing going with the Utes, and he might just retire before he leaves for another job. Utah’s gone 130-62 in his tenure which the Utes’ 13-0 season in which the stomped Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Utah’s only produced two losing seasons under Whittingham, and both were 5-7 finishes. Will he leave for another college football job? He has the credentials to get another job, but it’s a matter of if he wants to leave or stay where he’s comfortable.

P.J. Fleck, Minnesota

Fleck brought Western Michigan from 1-11 to 13-1 in four years with the Broncos, and now he’s doing the same in Minnesota. The Gophers went 5-7 in his first season, but now are 10-1 and competing for a Big Ten Championship and hosting College GameDay. Arguably the most polarizing coach in college football, Fleck knows how to build programs into winners. The question for Gophers fans is how long they’ll have him.

Bryan Harsin, Boise State

The Broncos are the poster child for consistency, as they haven’t posted a losing season since 1997. Harsin’s teams have yet to win less than nine games in a season, including 2019. His name should come up in coaching searches given his success, but it’s tough to give up a well-oiled machine.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati

Fickell inherited a program that Tommy Tuberville left in disarray, and brought hope to a fan base with a 4-8 inaugural season. Since then, he’s gone 21-3 with the Bearcats and they’ll play in the 2019 AAC Championship Game. Fickell’s winning in recruiting as well, so it seems like it’s only a matter of time before some snatches him up.

Five others to consider

Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan

It’s safe to say that Creighton’s start to his tenure with the Eagles didn’t go well. His first two seasons produced a 3-21 record, and it seemed like he’d be on his way out given that trend. He reversed that trend, and pushed Eastern Michigan into bowl contention or close to the last four years. Creighton’s won 25 games over the past four seasons, and the work that he’s done with the Eagles is incredible.

Craig Bohl, Wyoming

Bohl came from building NDSU into an FCS superpower and turned around a Wyoming team struggling for wins. He’s on the verge of his third season with eight wins, something that hasn’t been done since 1990. It might take the right situation for someone to take him, but we know he can coach. If he can produce a winner in North Dakota and Wyoming, he’ll thrive in more popular places.

Tom Allen, Indiana

Allen’s doing something Hoosiers fans haven’t seen in a while. Indiana’s on the verge of its first eight win season since 1993, and with the bowl game can produce their first nine win season since 1967. Given the state of Indiana football before Allen took over, a promotion shouldn’t be too crazy to consider.

Ken Niumatalolo, Navy

Will the triple option work at another school? We’re not quite sure, but we know it works at Navy. Coach Ken almost went to Arizona, but stayed put, making it difficult to see him leave. Navy’s 2018 season was rough, but he’s turned things around. If they win and Memphis loses this week, they’re in the AAC Championship Game. Add that to his resume, but will that be enough to earn a promotion?

Troy Calhoun, Air Force

Air Force heads to its first bowl game since 2016, and Calhoun’s surprised us yet again. They won’t play for a conference championship, but they can win 11 games. At 53, Calhoun can coach for a long time still. It comes down to a team that finds him as a good fit. His 96-69 record shows he can win, but whether that’s enough this offseason remains the question.

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