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Who was the Best First-Year Head Coach in 2023?

Going into the 2023 season, fifteen head coaches landed new jobs. But who had the best immediate impact in year one?

This is only a three-to-four-man race with GJ Kinne (Texas State), Alex Golesh (South Florida), Deion Sanders (Colorado), and David Braun (Northwestern) coaching at a far superior level in year one compared to the others.

Coach Prime

Prime Time brought millions upon millions of eyes to Boulder Colorado well before he ever coached his first game. He dominated the transfer portal in hopes of having a one-season turnaround.

Unfortunately, these Transfers couldn't quite flip this program as much as people were hoping regardless of adding three wins to last year's total.

Yes, they only won four games this year but in five of the eight losses they were within one score. They stayed very competitive in almost every game of the season while just last season they had TEN BLOWOUT LOSSES!

Coach Kinne

Much like Coach Prime, Texas State's Coach Kinne hit the transfer portal hard and brought in multiple Power 5 transfers including starting quarterback TJ Lindsey, Konner Fox, and Kaleb Ford-Dement. With his time coaching at Incarnate Word, Coach Kinne also brought up thirteen FCS players including star running back Ismail Mahdi from Houston Baptist, and former quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr followed to coach under his former head coach.

With these additions, the Bobcats improved to 8-4 (following a 4-8 2022 season) with the school's first-ever bowl game victory to conclude the best season in fifteen years.

Coach Golesh

In 2022 Alex Golesh was the offensive coordinator for one of the best offenses in the country, The Tennessee Volunteers. This helped earn him a job with The USF Bulls.

Taking over a team that struggled to win a game in 2022 was going to be difficult for anyone, especially with the lack of head coaching experience that Golesh had.

Since he was unable to have such an impact in the portal as the prior two coaches, Golesh had to win the high school recruiting instead. AND HE DID IT! In just one season he brought the Bulls from a middle-of-the-pack AAC team to the number one (recruiting) team in the conference.

Golesh knows the importance of winning the in-state recruits and he's doing so very well, 19 of 27 recruits of the 2024 class are from the state of Florida.

Coach Braun

In his first season as head coach of Northwestern, Coach Braun was named Big Ten coach of the year as he led his Wildcats to an 8-5 season after going 1-11 in 2022, firing Pat Fitgerald in one of the biggest hazing incidents in a while and being thrown to the wolves as the newest face on staff.

Coach Braun has recently made two new assistant hirings to try to improve the coaching staff before the big ten stiffens up next season with Oregon, Washington, USC, and UCLA joining.

To try and improve the offense he has hired Zach Lujan from the back-to-back FCS champions South Dakota State and has promoted Tim McGarigle from Linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.

Coach Braun might not wind up being the best name on this list but takes the cake in year one.


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