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Where do teams find new head coaches?

Where did you say I could get some bond paper?

Where did you say I could get some bond paper?

Within twenty-four hours of the end of the regular season, Rob Chudzinski, Leslie FrazierGreg Schiano, Jim Schwartz, and Mike Shanahan were all fired. A couple of more head coaches may join them this week, but all these new openings lead to one question: who will replace them?

From 1990 to 2013, 159 new head coaches were hired. Twelve of them were given full-time coaching duties after a successful stint as interim head coach.1

For the other 147 coaches, I grouped them into seven buckets based on the title they held in the season immediately preceding the year they were named head coach:2: Retread (indicating that this was not the first NFL head coaching job for the newly hired head coach), Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, College Head Coach, Quarterbacks coach, Offensive Line coach, and Other.

As you can see, the retread approach was the most popular, offensive and defensive coordinators were the next targets, while college coaches filled only 10% of the vacancies:

If we look at just coaching hires since 2000, little changes. Retreads are still in the lead at 32.2%, and offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators are tied at 23.0%. If we change the cut-off to 2005, then offensive coordinators jump into the lead at 28.3%, followed by retreads (26.4%), and defensive coaches (18.9%). College coaches remain at around 10% in both the “since 2000” and “since 2005” groups.

If we examine just the last three coaching cycles — 2011, 2012, and 2013 — we see that 6 jumped from OC to head coach, while there were four each in the “Retread”, “DC”, and “College” categories.

We can also investigate the retread category. In 21 of the 54 instances, the head coach was not in the NFL the prior season. Usually this means the coach was sitting the year out (or appearing on TV), although three of them (Pete Carroll, Dennis Erickson, and Jack Pardee) were college head coaches (but still get labeled as retreads).3 In five instances, the retread was actually a coordinator for the team that promoted him to head coach: Dave Wannstedt (DC for the 1999 Dolphins), Wade Phillips (DC for the 1997 Bills), Joe Bugel (OC for the 1996 Raiders), Lindy Infante (OC for the 1995 Colts), and Wade Phillips (DC for the 1992 Broncos).

A retread was about as likely to be out of coaching as to have been a head coach in the prior season, as 19 men were head coaches in the season immediately before being hired.4 The remaining nine coaches were coordinators give another chance. Four retreads were able to rebuild their reputations as defensive wizards: Wade Phillips was hired in Dallas in 2007 after his work as the Chargers DC in 2006, Bill Belichick went from Jets DC in 1999 to Patriots head coach in 2000, Pete Carroll went from 49ers DC in 1996 to Patriots head coach in 1997, and Buddy Ryan went from Oilers disaster DC in 1993 to Cardinals head coach in 1994. Five men pulled off the same trick on the offensive side of the ball: Mike Mularkey from Falcons OC in 2011 to Jaguars HC in 2012, Norv Turner from 49ers OC in 2006 to Chargers HC in 2007, um… Norv Turner from Dolphins OC in 2003 to Raiders HC in 2004, Mike Shanahan from 49ers OC in 1994 to Denver HC in 1995, and Ted Marchibroda from Bills OC in 1991 to Indianapolis HC in 1992.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget to discuss the seven coaches in the “Other” bin. Let’s turn it into some trivia questions.

1) One coach was hired out of the Canadian Football League.

Answer Show

2) This coach came from college, but he was just an offensive coordinator in college when he was hired.

Answer Show

3) Two men went from Defensive Backs coach to Head Coach.

Answer Show

4) One coach went from Linebackers coach to Head Coach.

Answer Show

5) One coach was a special teams coach.

Answer Show

6) One man was a wide receivers coach.

Answer Show

7) One man was a defensive line coach.

Answer Show

Finally, here’s the table of all 147 head coaches. As always, it’s both sortable and searchable.

YearTmLabelCoachN-1 TmN-1 Pos
2013CHIcflMarc TrestmanMontrealhead
2013PHIcollegeChip KellyOregonhead
2013BUFcollegeDoug MarroneSyracusehead
2013JAXDCGus BradleySEADC
2013KANretreadAndy ReidPHIHC
2013CLEOCRob ChudzinskiCAROC
2013ARIOCBruce AriansINDOC
2012TAMcollegeGreg SchianoRutgershead
2012OAKDCDennis AllenDENDC
2012INDDCChuck PaganoBALDC
2012JAXretreadMike MularkeyATLOC
2012MIAOCJoe PhilbinGNBOC
2012STLretreadJeff Fisher--
2011SFOcollegeJim HarbaughStanfordhead
2011CARDCRon RiveraSDGDC
2011DENretreadJohn FoxCARHC
2011OAKOCHue JacksonOAKOC
2011CLEOCPat ShurmurSTLOC
2011TENOLMike MunchakTENOL
2010WASretreadMike Shanahan--
2010BUFretreadChan Gailey--
2010SEAretreadPete CarrollSouthern Calhead
2009SEAretreadJim MoraSEAAHC/DB
2009TAMDBRaheem MorrisTAMDB
2009STLDCSteve SpagnuoloNYGDC
2009DETDCJim SchwartzTENDC
2009CLEretreadEric ManginiNYJHC
2009KANOCTodd HaleyARIOC
2009DENOCJosh McDanielsNWEOC
2009INDQBJim CaldwellINDAHC/QB
2008ATLDCMike SmithJAXDC
2008MIAOLTony SparanoDALAHC/OL
2008BALSTJohn HarbaughPHIDB
2007ATLcollegeBobby PetrinoLouisvillehead
2007OAKoc-collLane KiffinSouthern Calcoll oc
2007PITDCMike TomlinMINDC
2007DALretreadWade PhillipsSDGDC
2007ARIOCKen WhisenhuntPITOC
2007MIAOCCam CameronSDGOC
2007SDGretreadNorv TurnerSFOOC
2006NYJDCEric ManginiNWEDC
2006DETDLRod MarinelliTAMAHC/DL
2006BUFretreadDick JauronDETHC
2006KANretreadHerman EdwardsNYJHC
2006NOROCSean PaytonDALOC
2006HOUOCGary KubiakDENOC
2006STLOCScott LinehanMIAOC
2006MINOCBrad ChildressPHIOC
2006GNBOCMike McCarthySFOOC
2006OAKretreadArt Shell--
2005MIAcollegeNick SabanLouisana St.head
2005CLEDCRomeo CrennelNWEDC
2005SFODCMike NolanBALDC
2004CHIDCLovie SmithSTLDC
2004OAKretreadNorv TurnerMIAOC
2004BUFOCMike MularkeyPITOC
2004WASretreadJoe Gibbs--
2004ARIretreadDennis Green--
2004NYGretreadTom Coughlin--
2003JAXDCJack Del RioCARDC
2003CINDCMarvin LewisWASDC
2003DETretreadSteve MariucciSFOHC
2003DALretreadBill Parcells--
2003SFOretreadDennis EricksonOregon St.head
2002WAScollegeSteve SpurrierFloridahead
2002TAMretreadJon GrudenOAKHC
2002INDretreadTony DungyTAMHC
2002SDGretreadMarty SchottenheimerWASHC
2002OAKOCBill CallahanOAKOC
2001CLEcollegeButch DavisMiami (FL)head
2001NYJDBHerman EdwardsTAMAHC/DB
2001BUFDCGregg WilliamsTENDC
2001DETOCMarty MornhinwegSFOOC
2001KANretreadDick Vermeil--
2001WASretreadMarty Schottenheimer--
2000DALDCDave CampoDALDC
2000MIAretreadDave WannstedtMIADC
2000NWEretreadBill BelichickNYJDC
2000NORDCJim HaslettPITDC
2000STLOCMike MartzSTLOC
2000GNBOCMike ShermanSEAOC
1999SDGcollegeMike RileyOregon St.head
1999CHIDCDick JauronJAXDC
1999KANDCGunther CunninghamKANDC
1999SEAretreadMike HolmgrenGNBHC
1999GNBretreadRay RhodesPHIHC
1999BALOCBrian BillickMINOC
1999CARretreadGeorge Seifert--
1998BUFretreadWade PhillipsBUFDC
1998OAKOCJon GrudenPHIOC
1998DALOCChan GaileyPITOC
1998INDretreadJim Mora--
1997NWEretreadPete CarrollSFODC
1997NYJretreadBill ParcellsNWEHC
1997ATLretreadDan ReevesNYGHC
1997DETretreadBobby RossSDGHC
1997NYGOCJim FasselARIOC
1997SDGOCKevin GilbrideJAXOC
1997OAKretreadJoe BugelOAKOC
1997SFOQBSteve MariucciCaliforniahead
1997STLretreadDick Vermeil--
1997NORretreadMike Ditka--
1996ARIDCVince TobinINDDC
1996TAMDCTony DungyMINDC
1996INDretreadLindy InfanteINDOC
1996MIAretreadJimmy Johnson--
1995SEAcollegeDennis EricksonMiami (FL)head
1995STLcollegeRich BrooksOregonhead
1995PHIDCRay RhodesSFODC
1995NYJretreadRich KotitePHIHC
1995DENretreadMike ShanahanSFOOC
1995OAKOLMike WhiteRAIOL
1994DALcollegeBarry Switzer--
1994NYJDCPete CarrollNYJDC
1994ARIretreadBuddy RyanHOUDC
1994ATLOCJune JonesATLOC
1994WASOCNorv TurnerDALOC
1993CHIDCDave WannstedtDALDC
1993DENretreadWade PhillipsDENDC
1993WASDCRichie PetitbonWASDC
1993NYGretreadDan ReevesDENHC
1993NWEretreadBill Parcells--
1992SDGcollegeBobby RossGeorgia Techhead
1992MINcollegeDennis GreenStanfordhead
1992PITDCBill CowherKANDC
1992TAMretreadSam WycheCINHC
1992RAMretreadChuck KnoxSEAHC
1992INDretreadTed MarchibrodaBUFOC
1992GNBOCMike HolmgrenSFOOC
1992CINWRDavid ShulaCINWR
1992SEAretreadTom Flores--
1991NWEcollegeDick MacPhersonSyracusehead
1991CLEDCBill BelichickNYGDC
1991NYGOCRay HandleyNYGOC
1991PHIOCRich KotitePHIOC
1990ATLretreadJerry GlanvilleHOUHC
1990NYJOCBruce CosletCINOC
1990HOUretreadJack PardeeHoustonhead
  1. The list: Romeo Crennel (hired as head coach of the 2012 Chiefs), Jason Garrett (2011 Cowboys), Leslie Frazier (2011 Vikings), Tom Cable (2009 Raiders), Mike Singletary (2009 49ers), Mike Tice (2002 Vikings), Dick LeBeau (2001 Bengals), Dave McGinnis (2001 Cardinals), Bruce Coslet (1997 Bengals), Jeff Fisher (1995 Oilers), Richard Williamson (1991 Buccaneers), Art Shell (1990 Raiders). []
  2. With three exceptions. Steve Mariucci made his name as Brett Favre’s quarterbacks coach from 1992 to 1995, and then became the head coach at Cal in 1996. He was hired by San Francisco in 1997, but I’m labeling him as QB Coach hire and not a college coach hire. Similarly, John Harbaugh made his name as a special teams coach, but his final season with the Eagles was as a defensive backs coach. But I think it’s more accurate to label him special teams coaching hire. And Barry Switzer was actually retired when the Cowboys hired him, but it felt appropriate to label him a college coach. []
  3. Erickson was labeled a college hire when he jumped from Miami to Seattle, but a retread when he moved from Oregon State to San Francisco. []
  4. Andy Reid, John Fox, Eric Mangini, Dick Jauron, Herman Edwards, Steve Mariucci, Marty Schottenheimer, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden, Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Dan Reeves, Bill Parcells, Bobby Ross, Rich Kotite, Dan Reeves, Chuck Knox, Sam Wyche, and Jerry Glanville. []
  • will

    This is really cool.

    However, I think you may have missed a head coach. Tom Coughlin was only listed once for when he became coach of the Giants in 2004, but not for the Jaguars as their inaugural coach. I was interested in how you were going to list him as he was the HC of Boston College two years prior to the Jaguars job, but also a Wide Receivers coach for a few NFL teams beforehand.

    Otherwise, it’s funny to see Parcells listed as a retread three times. I could only find one other coach (Dick Vermeil) who was a retread more than once.

    • Chase Stuart

      Thanks. I did not include any expansion hires. I don’t recall now what the reasoning was then.

  • Brad

    Very nice post.

    Small detail – You list/link Mike McCormack as the SDG coach hired in 2013 when you of course meant Mike McCoy. I doubt many coaches would want to be mistaken for McCormack (no offense, Mike).

    • Brad

      Also, to Will, the following were retreads more than once:


    • Chase Stuart

      Ah, thanks. I usually remember to catch that detail, as McCoy (due to McCormack) is one of the few coaches who has a 1 in his id and not a 0.

  • Chase Stuart

    The 2013 Bengals lost Gruden and Zimmer, which makes them just the 3rd team since 1990 to lose both coordinators to NFL head coaching jobs (the ’04 Patriots lost Weis and Crennel, too). In ’06-’07, San Diego lost Cameron and Phillips, in ’98-’99, Jacksonville lost Palmer (I need to remember why I excluded expansion hires in my database!) and Jauron, and in ’94-’95, SF lost Rhodes and Shanahan.

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