4 Assistant Coaches Who’ve Got Next

The 2021 college football coaching carousel was one of the wildest, most significant carousels in college football history. Coaches at Oklahoma and Notre Dame left for USC and LSU. It’s going to be hard to top the 2021 college football coaching carousel for pure drama and explosive developments, but every carousel involves a situation where an assistant coach finally gets his chance to lead a Power Five program and get his first head coaching job in a promising situation. Which assistant coaches in 2022 will have a great chance to elevate their stock prices and grab a noteworthy head coaching job this December? Here are four of the most prominent candidates one could possibly come up with:

Josh Gattis, Offensive Coordinator, Miami

Gattis helped Jim Harbaugh and Michigan finally win the Big Ten Conference championship and reach the College Football Playoff last season. Now Gattis is at Miami, trying to help Mario Cristobal lift the Hurricanes to the ACC championship. Miami has never won the ACC championship since becoming a member school in the conference in 2004. Very simply, if Miami does win the ACC, especially by beating Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, that will boost Gattis’ stock to a very high level, and it will be very hard for Cristobal and Miami to keep him for more than one season. Would it hurt Miami to lose Gattis after only one year? Yes. Would winning the ACC title be worth that pain? Of course.

Jeff Grimes, Offensive Coordinator, Baylor

The Baylor Bears have a very sharp and innovative head coach, Dave Aranda, who is seen as one of the foremost defensive strategists in the country. He has a very skilled offensive coordinator on his staff. Jeff Grimes played a big part in helping Baylor win the Big 12 championship and then beating Ole Miss to win the Sugar Bowl. If Baylor’s offense has a strong 2022 season, Grimes will be fielding phone calls in late November or early December. He will have a realistic chance of latching onto a program he can call his own, as a head coach in the FBS.

Brian Lindgren, Offensive Coordinator, Oregon State

The man who gets the publicity at Oregon State is head coach Jonathan Smith, who made a name for himself in the coaching business when he was the offensive coordinator at the University of Washington in 2016. Smith’s offense helped Chris Petersen and the Huskies make the College Football Playoff. That was the last year in which the Pac-12 reached the playoff. Brian Lindgren works under Smith at Oregon State. He isn’t going to make the College Football Playoff, but if he beats Lincoln Riley and USC this season and can finish in the top three of the Pac-12, Lindgren might get enough national notice to attract some athletic directors at other programs when coaching vacancies come open.

Jim Leonhard, Defensive Coordinator, Wisconsin

The best defensive coordinator in the country is probably Leonhard, who does a tremendous job with Wisconsin’s personnel each and every year. He is going to be very much in demand at other schools. He will be able to pick the job he wants. He can be very selective. The only problem with Leonhard is that he might want to be the next coach at Wisconsin, which could mean waiting 10 years to take over from head coach Paul Chryst. Yet, the ultimate point remains: If Leonard wants a big job, he will get offers for it.


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