College Football's Top Assistant Coach Hires for 2012
Mike Stoops is back at Oklahoma - and that's a good thing for the Sooners.
By: Steven Lassan | 6/6/12, 6:21 AM EDT
The college football coaching carousel wasn't just busy among head coaches, as the assistant ranks saw plenty of changes as well. Changing coordinators or hiring a key positional coach can have a big impact on any team.
Athlon takes a look at the top coordinator hires for 2012:
Defensive Coordinator, Akron
It’s not often that a school like Akron has an opportunity to bring in a coach with as much experience as Amato. The long-time Florida State defensive coordinator and one-time head coach at NC State has been out of coaching the past two seasons.
Offensive Coordinator, Wisconsin
Highly respected offensive coach returns to the Big Ten after spending the 2011 season as the coordinator at Northern Illinois. Prior to that, he was at Indiana, his alma mater, for seven seasons.
Defensive Coordinator, Arizona
Casteel heads out West after 11 years at West Virginia, the last 10 as the Mountaineers’ defensive coordinator. He worked for new Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez at WVU from 2001-07.
Co-Offensive Coordinator, Illinois
Regarded as a great recruiter, Gonzales spent the previous seven seasons in the SEC, two at LSU and five at Florida. He has nine years of experience working for Urban Meyer.
Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State
Rising star in the coaching world comes to Ohio State after a three-year stop as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Iowa State. Urban Meyer likely will call the plays, but Herman will be a key part of the Buckeyes’ staff.
Offensive Coordinator, Texas A&M
The first of Mike Leach’s record-setting quarterbacks at Texas Tech is one of the top young assistants in the game. He comes to College Station after a three-year stop at Houston.
Defensive Coordinator, North Carolina
Well-traveled coordinator (and one-time head coach at Wyoming) lands at North Carolina after a two-year stop at Illinois. Has also been the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, Clemson, Troy and Wyoming.
Offensive Coordinator, Boston College
Martin, the former head coach at Kent State, did a tremendous job in his only season as the offensive coordinator at New Mexico State. The Aggies’ production improved from 15.7 points and 296.5 yards in 2010 to 24.5 and 398.1 in ’11.
Defensive Coordinator, Middle Tennessee
Nix, a former defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, South Carolina and Ole Miss, is charged with turning around a defense that gave up 441.1 yards and 36.8 points per game in 2011.
Offensive Coordinator, Houston
A former punter at New Mexico, Nesbitt spent the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks ranked ninth in the FCS in total offense and 10th in scoring offense.
Offensive Coordinator, Arkansas
Petrino returns to Fayetteville after a two-year stop as the offensive coordinator at Illinois. And now that his brother is no longer the boss at Arkansas, Petrino will have an opportunity to call the plays.
Offensive Coordinator, Nevada
Rolovich, a former quarterback at Hawaii (2000-01), had been on the staff at his alma mater since 2008, the last three years as the offensive coordinator. He is now in the charge of the Wolf Pack’s Pistol offense.
Defensive Coordinator, Texas A&M
Snyder’s run as the head coach at Marshall didn’t go too well (22–37, 2005-09), but he is a quality defensive coordinator who was on Jim Tressel’s staff at Ohio State from 2001-04.
Defensive Coordinator, Oklahoma
Stoops returns to Oklahoma to serve on his brother’s staff after an eight-year run as the head coach at Arizona. The Sooners were 33–7 in the Big 12 during his first go-round in Norman, when he shared coordinator duties with Brent Venables.
Defensive Coordinator, Wyoming
Most recently the linebackers coach at Washington State, Tormey has nine years of experience as a head coach — Idaho (1995-99) and Nevada (2000-03). He is a perfect fit in Laramie.
Defensive Coordinator, Auburn
VanGorder returns to the SEC after a seven-year absence. The former Georgia defensive coordinator spent the past five years with the Atlanta Falcons. He has plenty of talent to work with at Auburn.
Defensive Coordinator, Clemson
The Sooners’ defense wasn’t quite as formidable in recent seasons, but Venables has a great track record after more than a decade on Bob Stoops’ staff.
Defensive Coordinator, Washington
Rising star in the coaching ranks returns to the Pacific Northwest after a two-year stint as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Oregon grad previously served on Chris Petersen’s staff at Boise State. He has a big job: The Huskies were brutal on defense in 2011.
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