Power Ranking College Football Conferences by Coaching Stability

By June 11, 2014 No Comments

COURTESY: Brian Pedersen

10. Sun Belt Conference

Longest-tenured coach: Larry Blakeney, Troy (24th season)

Coaches in first or second year at school: 6

Coaches with five or more years at current school: 2

Coaches on the hot seat: Trent Miles, Georgia State; Paul Petrino, Idaho

The Sun Belt Conference is the unofficial bottom feeder of the FBS, both in terms of its teams and coaching pool.

As the landing spot for most of the recent programs jumping up from the FCS—five of the 11 teams are in their first, second or third year of FBS play—it tends to feature a lot of first-time head coaches or ones making their first foray into major college football.

Yet somehow, Troy’s Larry Blakeney has managed to stick around since 1991, making him the second-longest-tenured active coach in the FBS behind Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer. Blakeney has been with the Trojans since they were a Division II program, and since moving into the FBS in 2002, he’s produced seven .500 or better records and gone to five bowl games.

The stability drops off significantly after that, with South Alabama’s Joey Jones and his five years at the transitioning FBS program ranking second in the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt tends to lose its best coaches before you can get used to them being in the league, especially if they’re at Arkansas State. Blake Anderson, hired from North Carolina’s staff this offseason, marks the fourth straight season the Red Wolves will be guided by a new coach, as previous ASU coaches moved on (and up) after just one year to Mississippi, Auburn and Boise State, respectively.

Amazingly, though, the conference’s hottest coaching prospect, Mark Hudspeth, is set for his fourth year at Louisiana-Lafayette despite three straight 9-4 seasons that each ended with a bowl victory. Hudspeth’s name is mentioned for numerous coaching openings each offseason, and the school will be hard-pressed to hold on to him after 2014 if he puts together another strong year.

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