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Head Coaches Entering the Transfer Portal

Updated: Aug 13, 2023


Every year, after the college football regular season has ended, we enter what is termed to be "the silly season." This is defined as the time period in which massive coaching changes start happening. This has been especially true over the past fifteen seasons.


There have been no less than 15 head coaching changes in any season at the FBS level. On average, since 2008, there have been an average of 23.4 changes with the most being thirty-one in 2012. Based on this knowledge, I fully expect there to be numerous changes again in 2023.


In the following, I will identify FIVE head coaches that I believe are locks to make a move in 2023 by accepting a position at a higher level than they are currently at.


1. JEFF TRAYLOR, UTSA

It is safe to say that the past three seasons have been nothing short of astonishing in San Antonio. Upon accepting the head coaching position at UTSA, Jeff Traylor found himself running a program with a very short history, one founded in 2006.


The former Arkansas running backs coach under Chad Morris became just the third head coach in program history. Over that time, the Roadrunners had been to just one bowl game and had an overall record of 45-61.


The first step he took was to establish the "Triangle of Toughness" in which all players and coaches are expected to exhibit selflessness, perfect effort, integrity, passion, and toughness. What has followed has been three consecutive winning seasons, three straight bowl games, and a career record of 30-10. Over the past two seasons, Coach Traylor has led the unit to a 23-5 record.


It is safe to say that another double-digit win season in San Antonio will put Jeff Traylor at the top of every major coaching search in America.

2. JON SUMRALL, TROY

With just one season under his belt as a head coach, this addition might be a stretch. However, Coach Sumrall has plenty of experience as an assistant in the SEC and has shown a capable leader of an FBS program.


In his only season as a head coach, his Trojans competed as warriors in going 12-2. The 2022 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year is known for his defensive intelligence and offers a fresh young look for any program that is looking to begin a new identity.


Sumrall, a University of Kentucky alumnus, took over a burgundy and silver program that had not had a winning record since the 2018 season, having gone 15-19 in the immediate three seasons prior to his arrival. In that lone season, the Troy Trojans went 12-2 and Sumrall quickly established himself as someone to keep an eye on.

3. WILLIE FRITZ, TULANE

On December 11, 2015, the University of Tulane named Willie Fritz as their head coach. At the time, many people knew that this would likely be a stepping-stone stop for coach Fritz. With a track record for winning anywhere he planted, the husband of Susan and father of three was sure to be moving on relatively soon.


Yes, it has taken longer than anticipated at the Louisiana school. However, the success he has had there is unmatched in program history. Since 1987, the Green Wave has appeared in 8 bowl games-4 of those just since 2018. Being named the 2022 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year, Fritz's Green Wave stunned prohibitive favorite USC in the Rose Bowl to complete a 12-2 season.


With records of 97-47 at Central Missouri, 40-15 at Sam Houston State, and 17-7 at Georgia Southern, success has always found a path to Fritz-coached teams. A new home in 2024 will not be shocking. In fact, many believe it is expected.

4. BOB CHESNEY, HOLY CROSS

Oftentimes, to lower-level schools in FBS, referred to as G5 schools, FCS head coaches are an attractive target. At that level, the single coach that comes to mind that is logically ready to move up to the FBS coaching ranks is Bob Chesney.


When Salve Regina College hired coach Chesney, the Seahawks had eight consecutive losing seasons. Under his leadership, they posted three straight winning campaigns, including their first bowl game in 11 years. His success led him on that upward path to D2 football, where he accepted a job at Assumption College.


With a string of 17 straight losing seasons, this job was sure to be difficult. That streak was stopped in just his first season and was followed up by four more winning seasons, which included three consecutive D2 playoff appearances. This put him squarely in the sights of Holy Cross University.


In 2019, his second season in Worcester, Massachusetts, the Crusaders found themselves in the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2009. What has followed has been three more playoff appearances, including a trip to the quarterfinals in 2022.


It is very easy to see the next logical step in advancing his career to the FBS level. One would not be shocked to even see his name in contention for such jobs in the Northeast as Temple or Rutgers.

5. STEVE RYAN, MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE

Ok, ok, I know everyone is asking WHO???!!! Let me explain the history of Steve Ryan. The Wheaton College graduate took over one of the most downtrodden programs in all of NAIA football in 2002. No coach at that Sioux City, Iowa school had ever posted a career-winning percentage above .500 since 1941.


The transformation of the Mustangs since that time has been nothing short of a miracle. After going 3-7 in his second season in 2003, the Mustangs have not lost more than three games in any season. Beginning in 2004, Morningside has been to the NAIA playoffs for an astonishing 19 consecutive years. During that time, they have advanced to the quarterfinals in every season except 2004 and 2011.


The question for me is whether or not Coach Ryan would actually consider leaving. With the amount of success he has garnered in western Iowa, which includes three national championships as well as being named the NAIA Coach of the Year four different times, one would think that someone at the D2 or FCS levels has taken notice.

Other Head Coaches to Keep an Eye on

With my list of five coaches that I expect to move after the 2023 season, I also have five other coaches worth keeping your eyes on. These are coaches that could very well be moving on as well. They include Tyson Helton at Western Kentucky, KC Keeler at Sam Houston State, Kane Wommack at South Alabama, Russ Huesman with the Richmond Spiders, and Brady Hoke at San Diego State. Each of these has established at least some modicum of success and presents solid backgrounds with which to revive any program if given the opportunity.



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