College football’s coaching carousel took plenty of wild turns this off-season, and some teams came out on top because of it.
Perhaps the most significant coaching hire of the off-season came in Austin, Texas. The Longhorns moved on from Tom Herman to give Steve Sarkisian another crack at being a head coach after his successful run as offensive coordinator at Alabama.
In the SEC, Auburn football parted ways with Gus Malzahn and hired former Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin. The Broncos then went out and hired former Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos. Other significant hires include UFC’s Josh Heupel to Tennessee and Shane Beamer to South Carolina.
Of all college football’s off-season head coaching hires, one stands out among the rest. Brandon Marcello of 247Sports believes UCF’s hiring of Malzahn is by far the best hire of the off-season, followed by Texans landing Sarkisian.
“UCF hired a coach with a national championship ring, two SEC titles and more than one decade of experience coaching in the No. 1 conference in the country,” Marcello wrote via 247Sports. “… UCF went from hiring up-and-comers to coaches with championship rings in their storage closet. UCF’s rise over the last decade has been incredible. Will Malzahn take them to a summit no Group of 5 school has reached by leading the Knights to the College Football Playoff? That’s the goal.”
A future spot in the College Football Playoff isn’t out of the question with Malzahn, but if he does that, he’ll be breaking through the ceiling some of his predecessors at UCF couldn’t.
Malzahn, on paper, is a perfect fit with the Knights. He’s won at the highest-level and should be able to do well at UCF.
It’s not too often a Group of 5 program hires a head coach who’s won a national championship. UCF broke barriers by doing so this off-season.