Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Top former college football head coaches could be great fits in A11FL

Recently, the A11 Football Magazine explored why former college football head coaches would be good fits as head coaches in the A11 Football League – and then gave some past examples of successful college-to-alternative football league transitions.

Now, let’s take a look at some recently-displaced college football head coaches, and why they might be a good fit in the A11FL:

-       The much-maligned Gene Chizik might be able to make a triumphant return to coaching in the A11FL. He’s seen the game from the collegiate level from all angles – head coach, assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and position coach. And his extensive defensive background would be critical against A11FL offenses. That’s Chizik’s pluses. The minuses, however, are that he’s never coached professionally, and, while he won a national title and went 14-0 at Auburn in 2010, his three worst head coaching records in college were 2-10, 3-9 and 3-9.

-       A seemingly-natural fit for the A11FL would be former California head coach Jeff Tedford. His mix of experiences – from playing quarterback in the Canadian Football League in the 1980s to an 11-year run as the Golden Bears’ head coach – potentially would make for an ideal A11FL head coach. Tedford’s first eight seasons at Cal all were winning ones, and he finished his tenure there 25 games over .500 (82-57).

-       One ex-college football head coach who boasts former National Football League experience is Ron Zook. Zook was the head coach at Florida (2002-04) and Illinois (2005-11), and had winning records in five of those 10 seasons. Before that, he was an NFL assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints – the last stop being as a defensive coordinator. Zook has been a defensive coach at a high level for 3½ decades, meaning he has the pedigree to take on A11FL offenses.

-       Rick Neuheisel is a familiar name in college football and alternative spring pro football. He was the quarterback of the moribund San Antonio Gunslingers of the United States Football League in 1984-85, and then he embarked on a coaching career which resulted in 12 years as a college head coach – four at Colorado (1995-98), four at Washington (1999-2002) and four at UCLA (2008-11). Of those 12 years, eight ended in winning records, and three ended in double-digit victories.

-       Houston Nutt has spent his entire coaching career at the collegiate level, and recently ended a near-two-decade run as a college head coach. After four seasons at Murray State (1993-96) and a season at Boise State (1997), Nutt spent a decade at Arkansas (1998-2007), where he enjoyed seven plus-.500 seasons. He most recently was the head coach at Ole Miss (2008-11), where he began with back-to-back 9-4 campaigns. He guided his teams to winning records in 11 of 19 seasons.

      These are just some of the high-quality ex-college football head coaching candidates available to the A11FL. Adding up all the available coaches from the college and professional ranks, there is no doubt the quality of coaching talent in the A11FL will be very high.

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