Which Group of Five Coaches are Next to Join the Power Four? (2024)

By Alec Nederveld

Many great coaches have started at the Group of Five level before moving into bigger schools. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Kalen DeBoer, and Brian Kelly are just examples of that. In the last hiring cycle, Brent Brennan (San Jose State), Curt Cignetti (James Madison), and Willie Fritz (Tulane) received the promotion to the Power Four. Here's who I think are next to join them.

Barry Odom, UNLV

It's rare to see a former SEC head coach who was decent (especially for Missouri) sitting in the Mountain West. Especially when that guy showed he still knows what he's doing. Barry Odom was 25-25 at Missouri, very respectable, especially since that was his first-ever head coaching job as a 38-year-old.

Besides his Tiger head coaching tenure, Odom brought a top-10 defense in scoring and yards allowed as Missouri's Defensive Coordinator in 2015. At Memphis in 2014, the defensive coordinator led Memphis to the No. 5 scoring defense and a share of the AAC Championship. Odom also helped rebuild Arkansas as their DC between 2020-2022. Lastly, Odom held the title of Director of Football Recruiting and Director of Football Operations at Missouri, showing he knows more than just Xs and Os.

In his first season at UNLV, Odom gave the Rebels their best season in 40 years. They went 9-5, reaching the MWC Championship game and beating SEC foe Vanderbilt in the process. Look for him to rejoin the SEC, or a Power Four school soon.

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Nov 16, 2019; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Barry Odom watches the replay board during a play review in the second half against the Florida Gators at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field.© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jamey Chadwell, Liberty

Jamey Chadwell's name has been brought up many times for Power-four openings. He was a candidate to replace Bryan Harsin at Auburn and more recently for Zach Arnett at Mississippi State. Chadwell has earned those looks after taking Coastal Carolina from an FBS upstart to consecutive 11-win seasons. He's continued his momentum by going 13-1 in his first season at Liberty, winning an overmatched C-USA. Prior to his FBS success, Chadwell went 35-14 and reached only two FCS playoff appearances at Charleston Southern and delivered Divison 2's Delta State their best season in program history.

One of the feathers in Chadwell's hat is quarterback development. He turned Grayson McCall from a 2-star quarterback into the most efficient quarterback in NCAA history, with a 207.6 passing efficiency in 2021. At Liberty, Kaidon Salter emerged from just a guy to one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country.

Chadwell may lack Power Four experience, but the system he's built and his success at all previous levels should make him a desirable coach. I think he will get a P4 job next year after another strong season with Liberty. Their schedule certainly helps that cause.

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Nov 11, 2023; Lynchburg, Virginia, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Jamey Chadwell after the game at Williams Stadium.© Brian Bishop-USA TODAY Sports

G.J. Kinne, Texas State

Younger than only two coaches, with an offensive as potent as anybody in the country, G.J. Kinne is primed to soon take the next step in his career. The 35-year-old coach has spent two years as an offensive coordinator, two more as a head coach, all four being at different schools, all of them ending with a winning record. That includes reaching the FCS Semifinals in 2022 and going 8-5 at his only Texas State season so far. That's their best season in program history.

Kinne is a former quarterback who started his career at Texas before transferring to Tulsa and making a couple NFL practice squads, CFL rosters, and Arena Football League teams. He's limited in P4 coaching experience, only spending one year as an analyst at Arkansas, but his offensive resume and transfer portal management are very attractive. A big part of Texas State's 2023 season is because of the players added in the Transfer Portal, like star RB Ismail Mahdi and QB TJ Finley.

With strong Texas ties, expect to see Kinne coaching in the Big 12 soon. Baylor, who Texas State beat in the 2023 opener could have an openingand would be a great hire to bring the Bears back to a similar system from the Art Briles era.

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Sep 2, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA; Texas State Bobcats head coach G.J. Kinne avoid the powerade bath following the game against the Baylor Bears during the second half at McLane Stadium.© Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Sumrall, Tulane

I expected Jon Sumrall to land in the Power Four last cycle. He spent two seasons as a head coach, winning double-digit games and the Sun Belt Conference in both seasons at Troy. Instead, he was hired by Tulane, who immediately became one of the favorites to win the AAC and make the CFB Playoffs in 2024.

Sumrall was a former Linebacker for Kentucky, and he's spent five seasons coaching there in various roles. He also spent 2018 as Ole Miss' LB coach, five at FCS San Diego, and previous tenures at Troy and Tulane. He's got a great resume, always improving the program, and a strong reputation as a defensive mind. That will certainly be attractive next season, especially if Tulane makes the CFP or even wins 10 games.

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Sep 17, 2022; Boone, North Carolina, USA; Troy Trojans head coach Jon Sumrall (middle) runs on the field before the game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Kidd Brewer Stadium© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

This article first appeared on Mike Farrell Sports and was syndicated with permission.

Which Group of Five Coaches are Next to Join the Power Four? (2024)

FAQs

How many Black Power 5 head coaches are there? ›

Just seven of the 69 Power Five head coaching jobs are held by Black men. Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman and Penn State's James Franklin are the only ones leading what would be considered traditional powerhouses. Those jobs don't come open very often and Sanders didn't get one either.

Who is Oklahoma's head football coach? ›

Head Coach: Brent Venables

Venables was named the 23rd head coach of the Sooners in 2021 following Lincoln Riley's decision to leave Norman to head west and take charge of USC. In his two years as the Oklahoma head coach, Venables has a 16-10 record, including two bowl game losses.

How many black coaches were fired? ›

The total number of Black head coaches declined from seven in 2017 and 2018 to three in 2019, 2020 and 2021 after Jackson, Wilks, Bowles, Joseph and Marvin Lewis were fired simultaneously.

Has Alabama ever had a black head coach? ›

Alabama is one of 24 Power 5 athletic departments that has never hired a Black head football coach or athletic director. Woody McCorvey became the first Black offensive coordinator in Alabama history when he was promoted to the position in 1996.

Who is the winningest coach in OU football history? ›

Bob Stoops reached the mark faster than any coach in college football history and finished his career with 190 victories. The others Barry Switzer (157 wins), Bud Wilkinson (145) and Bennie Owen (122). Pct. Conf.

What is Brent Venables' salary? ›

Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables agrees to new six-year contract worth $51.6 million. ARDMORE, Okla. — The University of Oklahoma's Board of Regents approved a new six-year contract worth $51.6 million for football coach Brent Venables on Friday.

Who is the running back coach for the Oklahoma Sooners? ›

DeMarco Murray

How many black head NBA coaches are there? ›

In November 2022, the league reached new all-time highs for head coaches of color (17) and Black head coaches (16). As of the report's release, the league had 15 head coaches of color. The Milwaukee Bucks hired Adrian Griffin, who is Black, as a first-time head coach this offseason.

How many black head coaches are in the league? ›

Four minority head coaches have been hired this year — Atlanta's Raheem Morris, New England's Jerod Mayo, Las Vegas' Antonio Pierce and Carolina's Dave Canales — bringing the number of coaches of color entering the 2024 season to nine, the most in league history. Seattle and Washington have yet to fill their vacancies.

How many black head football coaches are there in NCAA? ›

The 2024 coaching carousel saw progress. There were 14 Black head coaches at 133 FBS schools in 2023. Headed into the 2024 season, there will be 16 Black head coaches at 134 FBS schools (Kennesaw State is the newest addition).

How many black head coaches are in SEC? ›

Derek Mason, fired by Vanderbilt after the 2020 season, was the last Black coach in the SEC, which has had only five in the conference's 90-year history.

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