Success as a college football coach is often elusive, partly because a single loss can mean that a college team has no chance to play in a national championship game. Success at the highest level is even more unlikely for a new college football coach because it often takes time to build a program.
However, anything at all can happen in college football. And if a team gets on a roll and starts winning, often that team will take that momentum all the way to the national title. Here is a list of new coaches who have an outside chance at being named Coach of the Year.
Lane Kiffin, Tennessee Volunteers
If you know anything about Lane Kiffin, you know that recently he was head coach of the Oakland Raiders. That job put him on the map. Back in December of 2008, Kiffin was announced as the new head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. There is a big difference between college football and NFL football, but Kiffin knows his stuff and he should be able to make a statement in his first year with the Volunteers.
Chip Kelly, Oregon Ducks
Chip Kelly is the new head coach of the University of Oregon. He was most recently the Ducks' offensive coordinator so we know that he can execute great offensive plays. Now we will have to see if he can win big as head coach. He has his job cut out for him because the USC Trojans and the California Bears are also in the Pac-10 conference and both of those teams are ranked higher than the Ducks in the preseason polls.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington Huskies
Speaking of the Pac-10, the University of Washington also has a new coach in Steve Sarkisian. He knows the Pac-10 well, having served under Pete Carroll at USC. Coach Sarkisian may have the easiest job in all of college football because his team can easily improve from the Huskies' totally awful winless season in 2008. If Coach Sarkisian wins even half of the 2009 games, he will be considered a huge success.
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State Bulldogs
If you love the Mississippi State Bulldogs, you probably love the fact that new coach Dan Mullen formerly worked with Urban Meyer, head coach of the Florida Gators who have won two of the last three college football national championships. Bulldogs' fans may be hoping that Urban Meyer's skills have rubbed off on Dan Mullen.
William "Dabo" Swinney, Clemson Tigers
If you love Clemson Tigers football, and who doesn't, you may be a little concerned that the Tigers have a brand new head coach with no previous head coaching experience in college. Technically, though, he was interim head coach of the Clemson Tigers in the latter half of 2008 after Tommy Bowden resigned. The Bowden era is now gone and it is all about what Dabo Swinney can do for the Clemson Tigers.
University of Tennessee football coaches, utsports.com
Coach Steve Sarkisian, gohuskies.com
Dabo Swinney, clemsontigers.cstv.com
Mississippi State Bulldogs coaches, mstateathletics.com
Oregon Ducks football coaches, goducks.com
Published by Darrin Atkins
Darrin Atkins has worked for Premiere and Nevada magazines, The Record newspaper, and other publications. He has written more than 35 books. View profile
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