The coaching carousel season is complete. With all of the new head coaches in place, which is the best? Which is the worst? Time will reveal the answers, but here’s an early look at the best and worst coaching hires of the 2019 season.

BEST

Dana Holgorsen, Houston
Houston put up big bucks to lure a Power 5 coach – Holgorsen – to a Group of 5 job. The expectations will be high, but Holgorsen has been here before both figuratively and literally. He led two of the nation’s best offenses at Houston just over ten years ago. The Cougars will roar on offense; that is certain.

Neal Brown, West Virginia
Holgorsen’s replacement at West Virginia is Brown, the same coach that led Troy to wins over LSU and Nebraska. His Troy teams won a Sun Belt Conference title and were among the conference’s best year in and year out. His offense is definitely Big 12 ready and his defense might be even better.


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Mike Houston, East Carolina
Houston is one of two former FCS coaches to land an FBS job. Houston worked his magic at FCS power James Madison, where he won a national championship in 2016. His resume is outstanding and he should be able to recruit and win in the American Athletic Conference.

Chris Klieman, Kansas State
The other FCS coach making the move to an FBS program is Klieman, who is very familiar with national titles. His North Dakota State program won four national championships in five seasons. Klieman posted an incredible 69-6 record with the Bison in just five seasons in Fargo. His program will center around running the football and playing outstanding defense. That is something Bill Snyder teams of the past were known for.

Scott Satterfield, Louisville
Satterfield had an enormous amount of success at Appalachian State taking the program from the FCS to the FBS in 2014. In six seasons, Satterfield’s Mountaineers went 51-24 with three straight conference championships. He also led Appalachian State to three straight bowl victories. Satterfield will take over for Bobby Petrino. 

WORST

Les Miles, Kansas
Yes, Miles won tons of games at LSU. He even won a national title, but that was LSU. This is Kansas. The program has been a consistent loser historically. Mark Mangino was the last coach to have any success and that was over a decade ago. The Jayhawks just don’t get the same amount of talent as Oklahoma, Texas, and others.

Mack Brown, North Carolina
Bringing back a now 67-year-old Brown seems like a great idea. Brown is the one who really turned the Tar Heels’ program around in the 1990s. The problem? This isn’t the 1990s. Brown could have a hard time recruiting the kind of talent needed to win in a loaded ACC.


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Walt Bell, UMass
It doesn’t matter who leads the program at UMass. Why? Because it’s UMass. Bell is an energetic 34-year-old who can coach. His offenses are pretty good, but he has no experience as a head coach and, did we mention, this is UMass.

Hugh Freeze, Liberty
Freeze was out of football for a minute before being hired by Liberty after the resignation of Turner Gill. The program has made its move to the FBS and will be eligible for a bowl game in 2019. It won’t matter. This is Liberty, what should still be an FCS program. The Flames open the 2019 season with Syracuse. Freeze is in for a rude awakening.

Mike Locksley, Maryland
Just because Locksley helped lead Alabama to a national title game appearance last year doesn’t mean that the Terrapins are automatically going to become a winner in the Big 10. They might be better, but that won’t mean much in a division that includes Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State. Even in a very good year, the Terps are guaranteed at least three losses in their division. Unless Locksley pulls a miracle in recruiting, he’ll be looking for a new job in four or five years.

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