Movin On Up

Movin On Up
December 15, 2010, 2:57 pm
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Florida has hired one of the nations top assistant coaches to run the Gators program. The question is: how big is the gamble in hiring a man without head coaching experience? Will Muschamp had been the head coach in waiting behind Mack Brown at Texas and previously had been the offensive coordinator at LSU and Auburn. Letstry to answer that question as we look at some other recent head coaching hires from the ranks of assistants.
Georgia certainly made the right choice when the Dawgs hired Mark Richt, the former Florida State offensive coordinator. Richt is now the dean of SEC coaches in his tenth year at Georgia. In his first year, 2001, the Dawgs finished 8-4 including a big win at Tennessee that legendary announcer Larry Munson tabbed the Hobnail Boot game. Since thenTwo SEC championships, three East division titles, and five AP top ten finishes.
Mississippi States Dan Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida before MSU hired him two years ago. Mullen had been an Urban Meyer assistant and OC at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. Mullens first year at Mississippi State finished at 5-7, but his 09 recruiting class was rated in the top 20 in the country and this year, the Starkville Dogs went 8-4 and await Michigan in the Gator Bowl. Mullen just re-upped at MSU after being prominently mentioned in the Florida and Miami searches for a head coach.
Kentuckys Joker Phillips was the coach in waiting under Rich Brooks and led the Wildcats to a 6-6 record this year and a date with the BBVA Compass bowl . A former Kentucky receiver and a two year NFL vet, Phillilps had coaching stops in Cincinnati, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina. So the jury is still out on Joker, but we do know his Kentucky team showed a lot of offensive promise. Can he recruit for the defense?
In the ACC, Dabo Swinney was a wide receiver at Alabama, then a grad assistant and receivers coach there before becoming an assistant at Clemson in 03. Swinney took over as interim head coach for the Tigers when Tommy Bowden resigned after six games of the 08 season. Dabos team went 4-3 and beat South Carolina to become bowl eligibleHe got the official head job in 09 and his Tigers went 9-5 and won the Music City bowl. This year Clemson finished a disappointing 6-6, tied for fourth in the Atlantic division of the ACC. Swinney is on the Clemson hot seat.
Finally, Jimbo Fisher was a highly regarded assistant at LSU in the early 2000s, then joined Bobby Bowdens staff as offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting in 07. Fishers Seminoles went 9-4 this year and won the Atlantic Division, lost to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game and will play South Carolina in the Chick Fil A bowl on New Years eve.
So, there are five examples of current coaches moving into the head coaching job after careers as assistants. All have had some measure of success as we await the results from Florida next year under Will Muschamp.

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