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Coaching Carousel as a Method for Determining Program Rank

A new method for ranking programs outside of wins, losses, championships, attendance, and other easily quantified metrics. Today, we look at who can steal coaches from other D-I programs!

Barry Alvarez would chase away this chart.
Barry Alvarez would chase away this chart.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
So, I wanted to look at alternative method for ranking programs outside of the typical ranking methods like wins and losses. That's too easy! After Papa Alvarez chased off a second coach, I thought to myself, "Are the coaches leaving because Alvarez is crazy or are Arkansas and Oregon State better programs? How can I show that graphically?"

Well, I started by truncating everything down to the last 20 years because things get pretty messy quick when you start looking at who steals who's head coaches. I did not care about assistants. Assistants jump from Alabama to Army to Alaska State to Ontario University. However, if you lost your head coach to a team that lost its coach to another BCS calibre team, you drop in the system I developed. So for example, Wisconsin lost its coach to Oregon State who lost a coach to Nebraska so the proof goes Nebraska beats Oregon State beats Wisconsin (Nebraska beats Wisconsin by chain rule). The color system is set up as follows:

Peach - No one has stolen a head coach from you in the last 20 years.
Green - A BCS calibre team has stolen a head coach from you in the last 20 years (e.g. Notre Dame stole George O'Leary from Tech).
Burgundy - You lost a coach to a BCS calibre team that lost a coach to another BCS calibre team (Wisconsin, for example).
Yellow - You lost a coach to a BCS calibre team that lost a coach to another BCS team that lost its coach to a BCS calibre team. Texas Tech is the only Power 5 team in this sector.

The first chart is the simplest. These are teams with only one or two common thefts.


So, above shows the first example of ties. Kent State and Wyoming are on par since Purdue stole coaches from both of them. While Mizzou and the Illini are on par as they both stole head coaches from Toledo. A coach has to be coaching at the school at the time of the theft and downgrades were not counted (i.e. Coach was run off and hired by a lower tier school). The next chart is a little more complicated. I call the next groupings the Wake Florida grouping and the Texas Highway 6 grouping.


I hope you're starting to understand the system. In the above charts, Wake and Florida are the top dogs in the Wake Florida grouping followed by Ohio, Utah, and Colorado State and Bowling Green is a feeder program for BCS coaches. The next groupings are the Auburn grouping and the ACC Kansas groupings.


The above chart is a little unfair because stealing from Temple should put Miami on par with BC but because BC lost a head coach to NCSU, they get knocked down a peg due to Excel formatting. Miami and BC should really be on par. If you're wondering where GT fits in all of this, you're in luck. GT is in the insane coaching grouping that includes head coaching thievery from amongst 42 different Division I schools.


The first thing I would say to you all is that if you know a Cincinnati, Boise State, or Louisville fan, you should hug them. Those three schools are head coach highways. Louisville has stolen 5 head coaches from 5 different D-I programs and lost 3 head coaches to BCS teams. Any thoughts or questions? Did I miss any? I'm sorry I limited it to BCS teams and head coaches as the graph with Arkansas bridge was pretty hairy already. Also, the small black line between Arkansas and Louisville is the Atlanta Falcons... :-(.