Welcome to our series profiling potential replacements for Geoff Collins.
Yes, Geoff Collins is still employed as Georgia Tech’s football coach. However, indications from those involved are that he will not be in 2023, even if the actual end date is not yet known. We are launching this series on candidates now because that’s the way the coaching cycle works. Calls are being made about jobs that are not yet vacant all the time. Waiting to begin a coaching search until after the season will not put a program in an advantageous situation. This is going to be a massively important hire for Georgia Tech, and we would like to help get good analysis about potential candidates out there sooner than later.
By producing this series, we aim to provide numerical context and analysis of Tech’s many options. We hope that this series provides reference for the numerous spirited discussions that are sure to occur over the coming weeks. In these profiles, we will focus on the candidate’s career in terms of Success Rate, the candidates’ history coaching the QB position, the schemes employed, and contract/money considerations. We’ll also include a Reasons to Hire/Risks section to add context that may not be reflected in the numbers. We hope you find these profiles useful and entertaining.
Bio/Career - Program Builder
Jamey Chadwell has an impressive reputation as a program builder. Before he burst onto the national scene for building the Coastal Carolina program, he was building and reviving programs at the lower levels. The data we are using throughout this series unfortunately isn’t available for non-FBS competition, but Chadwell’s records alone speak volumes.
After playing QB at East Tennessee State in the late 90s, he started his career at his alma mater.
2000–2003 East Tennessee State (QB/RB/TE)
- 2000 Record: 6-5
- 2001 Record: 6-5
- 2002 Record: 4-8
- 2003 Record: 5-7
2004–2008 Charleston Southern (OC/RC)
- 2004 Record: 5-5
- 2005 Record: 7-4 (Big South Champs)
- 2006 Record: 9-2
- 2007 Record: 5-6
- 2008 Record: 7-5
Chadwell’s first stop in Charleston showed a glimpse of his abilities as a builder, even if he was only the OC. Those 2005-2006 seasons were the most successful in Charleston Southern History, and would remain so until Chadwell returned as HC. After Chadwell departed for North Greenville, CSU quickly fell back to the bottom of the Big South.
2009–2011 North Greenville HC
- 2009 Record: 2-8
- 2010 Record: 7-3
- 2011 Record: 11-3
Chadwell’s first Head Coaching job was a masterclass in program revival of D-II North Greenville. Inheriting a 2-9 team, Chadwell quickly turned the program around, winning 11 games in year 3 and finishing with a #12 ranking in D-II in his final season.
2012 Delta State HC
- 2012 Record: 3-7
Chadwell moved on to Delta State where he suffered his worst tenure, although the tiny sample size of a single season makes it unwise to draw many conclusions. Chadwell would return to Charleston Southern after this year for his first FCS HC position.
2013–2016 Charleston Southern HC
- 2013 Record: 10-3
- 2014 Record: 8-4
- 2015 Record: 10-3 (Big South Champs/Advanced to FCS Quarterfinals)
- 2016 Record: 7-4 (Big South Champs/Lost in FCS First Round)
The record doesn’t quite look like a standard rebuild, but it’s important to note that in the 2 seasons before Chadwell’s return, CSU went 0-11 and 5-6. This was an immediate turnaround, building to 2 consecutive conference titles and FCS playoff berths. As an OC and later a HC, Chadwell oversaw the most successful seasons in Charleston Southern History.
2017 Coastal Carolina (OC/QB/interim HC)
2018 Coastal Carolina (AHC/OC/QB)
2019–present Coastal Carolina HC
- 2017 Record: 3-9
- 2018 Record: 5-7
- 2019 Record: 5-7
- 2020 Record: 11-1 (Sun Belt Champs)
- 2021 Record: 11-2
And now for the program build that Chadwell is known for: the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. A proud FCS program prior to 2017, CCU chose to take the leap to FBS in 2017 and hired Chadwell as OC. He would serve as Interim Head Coach while HC Joe Moglia went on a medical leave of absence, and would be promoted to AHC in 2018. In 2019, Chadwell took over the job and didn’t look back. During his 2020 breakout campaign, Chadwell took a team in its 4th FBS season and won 11 games along with a Sun Belt title. While they didn’t repeat as conference champs in 2021, they did win 11 games again.
As this is an FBS stop, we finally have data! We’re going to look at Success Rate in this section. If you are unfamiliar with the stat, here is an excellent explanation of its predictive power. Success Rate was chosen for this section as it is great for comparing teams across years or decades as the average Success Rate doesn’t move much year over year. Stats such as PPA/Play may show a more complete picture, but its average moves dramatically, making comparisons across eras more difficult. For the purposes of this analysis, we will be comparing the two years prior to each coach’s arrival to their average performance across their tenure. We have also normalized Success Rate into Success Rate+ for Offense and Success Rate- for Defense. These stats are normalized to 100 being the average value for FBS. A value HIGHER than 100 for Offense is good, while a number LOWER than 100 for Defense is good. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll recognize this data normalization methodology.
Since there is no data for CCU prior to 2017, we are going to compare the 2018 season (the year before Chadwell assumed full HC duties) to the 2019-2021 seasons here. First up, offense:
Coastal Carolina Offense Success Rate +:
Coastal’s offense was roughly average while Chadwell was OC, but took off when he became HC. For those readers who are used to baseball stats, you won’t see the wild swings here you’re used to seeing in baseball. No team has a 170 SR+. 118 SR+ is absurd, especially over 3 seasons. That’s in the same ballpark as 2014 Georgia Tech. It’s tied for the highest number of any recorded for this series of profiles. These offenses under Chadwell have been phenomenal in every sense. Next up, Defense. Remember, for Defense lower is better, and under 100 is above average.
Coastal Carolina Defense Success Rate -:
The 2018 CCU defense was quite bad, but with Chadwell at HC the unit has been shored up and is now roughly average in terms of Success Rate. This is as significant an improvement as the offense has seen.
Net Success Rate+
Net Success Rate+ is simply the Offensive SR+ minus the Defensive SR-. It’s meant to be a measure of overall team efficiency. A positive number means the offensive success rate is higher than the success rate given up by the defense.
This is what program building looks like. Chadwell has elevated this program from near FBS doormat to one of the best in the G5, year in and year out.
To put this level of improvement in context, let’s see how Chadwell’s net impact stands in the industry. Part of the inspiration for this series came from a dataset over a 20 year period of 370 coaches we built that compares the three year performance before a head coach’s arrival to the performance during his tenure. We can use that data to calculate several different net impact metrics. Jamey Chadwell shines in this analysis.
Out of 370 coaches, he ranks:
- 4th in net impact on PPA (an expected points metric developed by collegefootballdata.com)
- 9th in net impact on passing success rate
- 11th in net impact on success rate
- 80th in net impact on run stuff rate
Next we take a look at the QBs coached by our candidates. Quarterback is the most important position on the field, and failure to field a quality player at the position has derailed many coaching careers over the years. Even coaches from defensive backgrounds must have trusted staff to develop a QB. For this section, we’ll take a look at the primary QB under each coach when the coach was either a QB coach, Offensive Coordinator, or Head Coach at the FBS level.
To analyze QB results, well analyze PPA/Pass Attempt, Passer Rating, PFF TEAM Passing Grade, and PFF QB INDIVIDUAL overall offense grade(Includes running). For Chadwell, we only have data for Coastal Carolina:
|Team||Year||Coach Role||Primary QB||PPA/Att||Passer Rating||PFF Team Pass Grade||PFF Individual Off Grade|
|Coastal Carolina||2017||OC/QB/IHC||Tyler Keane||0.185||145.4||61.6||63.9|
|Coastal Carolina||2018||OC/QB/AHC||Kilton Anderson||0.276||138.4||73.1||73.5|
|Coastal Carolina||2019||HC||Fred Payton||0.272||141.2||66.8||57.2|
|Coastal Carolina||2020||HC||Grayson McCall||0.586||184.3||91.5||92.4|
|Coastal Carolina||2021||HC||Grayson McCall||0.586||207.4||91.5||91.2|
Due to his limited time at the FBS level, there are only a few years of QB data here, and the story is Grayson McCall, who has been dominant under Chadwell. With a PPA/Attempt of .586 in 2020 and 2021, McCall has been prolific. His PFF grades measure firmly in the Elite Tier. It should be noted that McCall is the only clear success for Chadwell for which we have data, but he is a fantastic success in QB development.
There are 3 main “coaching attributes” we are going to talk about across these series. These attributes serve as “inputs” to coaching performance, while “outputs” include W/L Record and Play-by-Play data. These Attributes are:
- Recruiting - How well a coach brings in talent
- Development - How well a coach develops that talent
- Deployment - How well a coach deploys talent (Scheme/Playcalling)
Chadwell is best know as a deployer, but he has also a great developer. He gets the most out of the talent he has. Despite not being a recruiter with a strong history of success, he has developed great players such as Grayson McCall and Isaiah Likely.
Chadwell is best known for his offensive scheme, which heavily incorporates RPO and Triple Option elements. Before you close the tab, don’t worry, it’s not the flexbone, so it’s the “cool” and “innovative” option that doesn’t come with the “high school offense” moniker. The heavy addition of RPO elements and fast pace make the offense fun to watch and difficult to defend.
Here we see Coastal’s version of the triple, run to great success. Coastal also runs variations of speed option, load option and counter option in this game if you continue to watch. Their counter is interesting because the way it’s run makes it look like a busted play at first.
Here is an example of an RPO utilized by Coastal. These plays aim to attack the short to intermediate outside zones quickly, often leading to wide open receivers while the DBs are still settling into zones. These plays get the ball out quickly, and pass rushers have to respect the chance that the play will be a run. These types of plays are great for teams that may not be the best at pass blocking.
The Chadwell offense is dynamic, and few have seen the success he has over the past few years at Coastal Carolina. Its combination of Option and RPO elements help Chadwell create offensive value without having the most talented offensive players. It does more with less, and it would be a great fit at Georgia Tech.
On February 14, 2021, it was revealed that Chadwell more than doubled his salary with a new agreement that he signed in December of 2020. His base salary was $850,000 for the 2021 season and includes a $50,000 pay increase every year until his current contract ends at the end of 2027 (Dec. 31, 2027). Chadwell’s increased pay makes him the second highest paid coach in the Sun Belt Conference. By the time his current contract ends, Chadwell will would be making $1,150,000, which doesn’t include any bonuses.
Reasons to Hire
Jamey Chadwell is the most proven program builder who would be reasonably available for hire this off-season. Nobody else can say they’ve built 3 different programs across 3 different levels from the ground up. Every time he moves up a level, he has seen the same success he saw at the previous one. Chadwell’s offensive scheme and play calling are a major competitive advantage, and he is well known for developing good players despite Coastal Carolina being a difficult recruiting job. He’s proven he can coach ball and play with almost anyone, and the numbers back him up.
Chadwell has never coached in any capacity at the Power 5 level. While the authors feel that this should not be cause for significant concern, it is worth noting. Chadwell has a strong reputation as a Developer and a Deployer, but will he be able to out-scheme the best coaches in CFB? It should be noted that Chadwell has 3 P5 wins under his belt (yeah we know, all were Kansas), as well as a win over Independent BYU, who was ranked #8 when they played in 2020.
Grayson McCall is by far his best success at Coastal and Chadwell did develop McCall, but there is a risk that Chadwell’s success at CCU is largely owed to McCall. That said, CCU is not Chadwell’s first program turnaround, so this is also a minor cause for concern.
While Chadwell was HC, CSU committed multiple NCAA violations and had wins vacated as a results. These violations were not isolated to football, and mostly had to do with the athletic department improperly certifying players. Some CSU football players improperly used scholarship funds, but neither of these things really have to do with Chadwell even though they happened during his tenure. Chadwell did not receive any punishment from the NCAA.
Chadwell is these authors’ first choice to replace Geoff Collins. He checks all the boxes. He has built multiple programs over his career. His FBS teams have put up impressive play-by-play data, showing strong player development and deployment. The numbers all point to Chadwell giving Tech its best chance of success coming back from the depths of the Geoff Collins era, making Chadwell the clear, optimal choice.