Every season, a bunch of coaches change jobs, whether by choice or not. Each situation they find themselves in now is unique. Here are the new college football coaches in new places for 2022.
Duke: Mike Elko
David Cutcliffe had a good run at Duke, but it was time for him to move on. Mike Elko steps in as an experienced defensive coordinator, but he has never been a head coach. Most notably, he has worked at Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Texas A&M over the last several years.
Duke is not an easy job, and with the way conference realignment is happening, it may just get harder. Recruiting without a sure conference, while also trying to rise up the ranks of the ACC will be tough. Elko has been a solid head coaching candidate for the last few years and has a small chance to turn things around before conferences change even more.
Miami: Mario Cristobal
Cristobal joins his alma mater from Oregon, where he had two double-digit win seasons in five seasons. Winning a Rose Bowl is the highlight of his career so far and Miami will hope he can bring them back to big games in the near future.
If Miami wants to bring back the swagger they had in the 1980s and 2000s, Cristobal (and maybe some NIL money) is a good start. He’ll have Tyler Van Dyke to work with at quarterback, at least for the 2022 season. The ACC provides a somewhat manageable schedule as well. Expectations are high in Coral Gables, but it might take a few seasons to build the Hurricanes back up to where they want to be.
Virginia: Tony Elliott
It was a bit surprising to see Virginia hire Tony Elliott after Clemson’s offense struggled in 2021. He did have some very successful seasons as the co-offensive coordinator for the Tigers over the years and had been a candidate for bigger jobs before.
Elliott walks into a solid situation to start at Virginia. Brennan Armstrong and Dontayvion Wicks are both great playmakers on offense for him to utilize. The problem on offense will be in the trenches, where there is a lot of inexperience. Defensively, the Cavaliers were bad last season, but do return six starters. Elliott will have to hit the recruiting trail hard, but could have a nice first season to help him out.
Virginia Tech: Brent Pry
Virginia Tech hasn’t been quite the same since Frank Beamer retired. That resulted in Justin Fuente being fired. Brent Pry was hired after having a good stint at Penn State as the defensive coordinator, where he helped produce plenty of NFL talent.
The Hokies will have 13 returning starters for 2022 and are fully capable of making a bowl game. Their defense will be the strong point of the team to start Pry’s tenure, as they bring back eight starters. A bowl game in year one is a good start, but more will be expected in the years following.
No new coaches.
Oklahoma: Brent Venables
Lincoln Riley surprised many when he left Norman for USC. That resulted in the Sooners bringing back Bob Stoops for the bowl game. Following that they brought Brent Venables in to be the head coach. He had previously been the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and Clemson.
Venables has 11 starters back in Norman. There were some players who left, but the Sooners brought in some transfers to help. Dillon Gabriel is in from UCF at quarterback. The offensive line will help him out and so too will wide receiver Marvin Mims. Venables will need to work on the defense, who was average nationally last season. A College Football Playoff appearance may be too rich for the Sooners in year one, but the Big 12 is wide open.
TCU: Sonny Dykes
Gary Patterson had a great run at TCU, but the reins to the program have been turned over to Sonny Dykes. He has been the head coach before at Louisiana Tech, Cal and SMU. Dykes has a 71-63 career record and has been building recruiting ties in Texas while working at SMU.
The offense was average for the Horned Frogs last season, but the defense really took a step back. Dykes is an offensive specialist and will have some key players to work with in year one. Max Duggan is back as an experienced quarterback and Quentin Johnston is one of the best wide receivers in the country. A bowl game looks reasonable for TCU, but it won’t be easy.
Texas Tech: Joey McGuire
Matt Wells was let go and the Red Raiders decided to hire another Big 12 assistant coach to lead the program in Joey McGuire. He is a former high school coach in Texas and more recently has helped Baylor since 2017. McGuire knows the conference and the state, making it look like a decent fit.
The offense wasn’t as explosive as in past years, which will need to be fixed. McGuire will need quarterback Tyler Shough and running back SaRodorick Thompson to lead the way in making plays. The defense will need some fixing as well, which means McGuire has his work cut out for him.
Oregon: Dan Lanning
After Cristobal left Oregon, the Ducks brought in Dan Lanning from Georgia to be the head coach. He most notably helped lead the Georgia defense over the last few seasons and helped the team win a National Championship. He has some experience in the Pac-12, as he spent a little bit of time at Arizona State.
Lanning comes in with a solid chance to win the Pac-12. The Ducks have 14 returning starters. On offense, they experienced on the offensive line. Defensively, they have some really good linebackers, but are inexperienced in the secondary. Lanning can be successful from day one at Oregon.
USC: Lincoln Riley
Riley made the jump to Los Angeles to take over the USC program this offseason in a move that shook up the coaching carousel this offseason. He takes over for Clay Helton, who had some success, but it wasn’t sustained for the Trojans. USC will hope that he can make them into national contenders again.
In order to build his team, Riley hit the transfer portal hard. He brought over Caleb Williams to play quarterback from Oklahoma. Wide receiver Jordan Addison and running back Travis Dye come in from Pittsburgh and Oregon respectively. The defense needs some work, but the offense has the pieces to be high-powered. USC should be a top 25 team this season, but are hoping that this season will jump-start the program.
Washington: Kalen DeBoer
DeBoer comes to Washington from Fresno State, where he went 12-6 in two seasons. He most notably led the team to a 9-3 record last season. DeBoer takes over for Jimmy Lake and has had some success in the western part of the country.
Washington has some good defenders and can have a nice unit overall. The offense is the problem and they’re hoping that Michael Penix can come in and be productive. The short term doesn’t look great, but DeBoer should be able to find success for the Huskies.
Washington State: Jake Dickert
After Nick Rolovich didn’t follow COVID protocols, Dickert took over to finish last season. The university decided to keep him on heading into the 2022 season. He has coached defense as an assistant for most of his career at both the FCS and FBS levels.
Keeping the continuity of the program may not be a bad thing. Washington State went 7-6 last season, even with the Rolovich drama going on. They only have four returning starters on offense, but Cameron Ward comes in from Incarnate Word at quarterback after dominating the FCS level. Defensively, the Cougars were ok last season and bring back six starters. There is a chance the Cougars can make a bowl game in Dickert’s first full season as head coach and with Ward being so young (he’s a sophomore), he may be able to build the program.
Florida: Billy Napier
Napier has proven to be a good coach at Louisiana, even though he is already catching heat from Florida supporters for recruiting. With the Ragin’ Cajuns, he posted a 40-12 record and only lost two games total over the last two seasons he was at the school. Before his time with Louisiana he spent time at some of the best programs in the country: Alabama and Clemson.
While Georgia is currently ruling the SEC East, there is some room for Florida to build for the future (ironically when there won’t be an “east” and west”). The Gators return 11 starters, but a lot of their immediate success hinges on quarterback Anthony Richardson. Richardson has all the tools to be a great quarterback, but the tape from the 2021 season hasn’t looked pretty. If they can get it together, the Gators can make a bowl game this season, but recruiting will need to (and should) improve.
LSU: Brian Kelly
If Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC surprised, then so too did Kelly going from Notre Dame to LSU. He was the best coach for the Fighting Irish over the 21st century, but he couldn’t seem to get them back to being an elite program. He steps in at LSU as a safer hire than their previous coach Ed Orgeron, but questions of whether he can win the big games or be a fit with the Tigers loom.
Offensively, LSU will have to figure out the quarterback situation between Myles Brennan and Jayden Daniels. They’ll have one of the best receivers in the country in Kayshon Boutte, but an inexperienced offensive line. Only three starters return on defense, which means it could be a rough season for the Tigers. Kelly will have to build the program fast, but he’ll have all the resources to be able to do so.
Notre Dame: Marcus Freeman
When Kelly left for LSU, the Fighting Irish decided to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach. The players seemingly loved the move and Freeman has been a defensive mastermind at both Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Freeman has also brought in some very good recruits in future classes, so things look good in South Bend.
For immediate success, the Fighting Irish have an experienced offensive line and a great college tight end in Michael Mayer. Tyler Buchner is expected to be the starting quarterback and will have to improve after showing flashes of potential in 2021. The defense only returns four starters, but with Isaiah Foskey, Jack Kiser and Cam Hart making plays at different levels of the defense, they could be a good unit once again in 2022. With Freeman’s recruiting and the resources already in place, the future looks bright for the Fighting Irish.
Group of Five
Akron Zips: Joe Moorhead
Moorhead’s tenure as a head coach at Mississippi State didn’t end well, but he has proven to be a good offensive coordinator at both Penn State and Oregon. Akron has a lot of building to do, but Moorhead should be able to improve the offense immediately
Colorado State: Jay Norvell
Norvell helped Carson Strong, Cole Turner and Romeo Doubs get drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft. He moves within the same conference hoping to make a similar impact on the Rams. With only eight returning starters on the roster, it may take some time for Norvell to get the program where he wants it.
Florida International: Mike MacIntyre
MacIntyre had some success at Colorado, winning 10 games during the 2016 season. FIU presents a tough challenge and it won’t be easy immediately, as they bring back five staters. It may take several years to improve the program.
Fresno State: Jeff Tedford
In one of the better stories of the coaching cycle, Jeff Tedford returns to Fresno State after having to step away due to health reasons following the 2019 season. Fresno State has found some success with many of the players he recruited. He’s back and could help the Bulldogs make a New Year’s Six Bowl this season.
Georgia Southern: Clay Helton
Helton was seemingly on the hot seat in perpetuity at USC and now joins Georgia Southern. It will be a tough job, as he has to change from the option attack that the Eagles had been running to a spread offense. He has nine returning starters, but the change in offense could make things difficult.
Hawaii: Timmy Chang
The Todd Graham-era ended poorly. Hawaii does not have many returning players, as many transferred out before Graham was even fired. The Rainbow Warriors have turned to their record-setting quarterback Timmy Chang to take things over, but things don’t look good for the foreseeable future. He’ll have his work cut out for him.
Louisiana: Michael Desormeaux
The spelling of his name immediately makes him a fit in Louisiana, but Desormeaux also played there and has coached with the team since 2016. He has a good chance to keep the continuity of the program going. Only nine returning starters might make things tough, but they should be one of the better teams in the Sun Belt once again.
Louisiana Tech: Sonny Cumbie
Fans may remember Cumbie as a Texas Tech quarterback. He spent a lot of time at Texas Tech and TCU as an assistant and was the interim coach for the Red Raiders last season. A tough schedule awaits the Bulldogs this season, but 14 returning starters does help them.
Nevada: Ken Wilson
After losing Norvell, the Wolf Pack are turning to Wilson who is a longtime assistant of the program and has also spent time in the Pac-12. It will take a few seasons before the Wolf Pack play as well as they did in 2021 with just six returning starters. Wilson has some work to do.
New Mexico State: Jerry Kill
Kill has had to step away from football due to seizures before, but he was the interim coach at TCU last season. He had a .500 record when he was the head man at Minnesota. The problem is that the job is extremely tough, as the Aggies are an independent.
SMU: Rhett Lashlee
Lashlee has been an offensive coordinator for Arkansas State, Auburn, UConn, SMU and Miami. He returns to the Mustangs with some familiarity with the program and with some offensive weapons to work with. Tanner Mordecai and Rashee Rice connected plenty in 2021 and will be productive again in 2022. The defense is problematic, with just three returning starters. from a unit that tied for 86th last season.
Temple: Stan Drayton
Drayton has spent a lot of time as an offensive assistant with time spent in the NFL and at the college level. He is a first time head coach who is taking over a Temple team that went 3-9 last season. Changing the culture will be the first task and making a bowl game will be tough in year one.
Troy: Jon Sumrall
Sumrall was a linebacker at Kentucky and has spent time as a defensive coach since that time. He spent time at Troy from 2017-2019 and goes back to the Trojans in a good situation. Troy has 19 returning starters to work with after going 5-7, so there is a chance for some immediate success.
UConn: Jim Mora
Jim Mora steps back into coaching after a hiatus. He formerly coached in the NFL and in college and brings some pedigree to the position. The job won’t be easy, as UConn has limited history and is an independent.
UMass: Don Brown
The Massachusetts-Native Brown is a long-time assistant who most notably was the defensive coordinator at Michigan from 2016-2020. UMass is also independent and not an easy job, so it will be tough for Brown to have success.
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