7 Current College Football Head Coaches with the Most Impressive Coaching Trees
Every head coach in the college football universe learned his craft from somewhere.
The great ones put their unique spin on the system, make it their own and terrorize opponents with the principles and tricks they have learned.
Then they pass it on to their assistants.
That's what this list is about.
The seven individuals on this list have had assistants that have gone on to enjoy great success as a head coach.
7. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Mike Gundy has seen some excellent assistants take off for greener pastures during his time at Oklahoma State.
Three of his assistants are currently coaching at BCS programs: Dana Holgorsen, Tim Beckman and Larry Fedora.
Gundy's tree is still growing, and the three coaches that have left Oklahoma State for head-coaching jobs are all part of at least one other coaching tree.
However, Gundy has done an excellent job of turning around the Oklahoma State program and will continue to see his assistants take off for bigger and better things.
6. Nick Saban, Alabama
Saban is working his way toward G.O.A.T. stats.
Four college football championships in the past decade say so.
His coaching tree is solid, and is set to get even better if Kirby Smart ever takes a head coaching job, rather than the 'Bama defensive coordinator position.
Saban currently can stake a claim to three head coaches at BCS programs as a part of his tree: Will Muschamp (Florida), Jimbo Fisher (Florida State), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State)
Each one of them is on the way up, and two of the three have had top 10 teams in at least one of the past two seasons.
On top of that, Derek Dooley, whose tenure at Tennessee is something that Volunteer fans would rather forget, is also a disciple of the great one.
5. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
When looking at coaching trees, one generally tends to review those of coaches that have both been around and successful for long periods of time, such as Frank Beamer.
Beamer has been coaching at Virginia Tech since 1987.
His record during that time is 216-104-2.
In eight of the nine seasons since the Hokies joined the ACC, Beamer has led the Hokies to at least 10 wins.
He's a very successful coach, with a system that obviously works.
But he made this list for the wrong reason.
Beamer does not have a single former assistant currently in a head coaching position.
That's pretty impressive for a man that has been a successful head coach for 31 years.
4. Mike Leach, Washington State
You might tag Bill Snyder as the grandaddy to Leach when it comes to coaching trees.
Snyder's mentoring spawned Bob Stoops, who spawned Leach.
But Leach deserves some credit for his own tree, which features, as you might imagine, several coaches who utilize wide open offensive sets based on Leach's offense.
And then there is Ruffin McNeill.
McNeill is the current head coach at East Carolina who spent 10 seasons in Lubbock on the defensive side of the ball.
He is the exception.
Art Briles (Baylor), Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia) and Sonny Dykes (Cal) are all branches on Leach's coaching tree.
3. Bill Snyder, Kansas State
It's been a while since Snyder has had anyone from his staff move on to a head-coaching position.
However, the ones that have are doing pretty well for themselves.
Snyder mentored current Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops during his time at Kansas State from 1989-1995.
I'd say that worked out quite nicely.
Besides Stoops, Snyder mentored current Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini, as well as Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who took his Wisconsin Badgers to the Rose Bowl each of the past three seasons.
Snyder is a wizard and continues to succeed at Kansas State, and although he hasn't had as many assistants go on to big things as some of the others on this list, Snyder's few are elite.
2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Not only is Urban Meyer currently one of the top current head coaches in the nation, his coaching tree is the most impressive of any active head coach.
Meyer has been head coach at five different school: Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and his current position at Ohio State.
Dan Mullen, head coach at Mississippi State, stuck around on Meyer's staff from Bowling Green, to Utah and then to Florida before taking off for the head coaching job at Mississippi State.
During his time at Utah, Kyle Whittingham, Gary Andersen and Tim Beckman, respectively the head coaches at Utah, Wisconsin and Illinois, all coached under Meyer.
Then came Meyer's best years at Florida, and his staff benefited from the Gators' success.
Besides Mullen, Charlie Strong (Louisville), Steve Addazio (Boston College), Dan McCarney (North Texas) and Doc Holliday (Marshall) were all on his staff at Florida and are all current head coaches.
There are other current coaches with some up-and-coming talent on their staff, but Meyer's coaching tree is expanding and continues to be one of the best in the game.
1. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Yes, Stoops was part of Bill Snyder's tree, so some of the credit for his success, as well as his coaching tree, should go to Snyder.
Kevin Wilson (Indiana), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Mike Leach (Washington State) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M) are all current head coaches at BCS conference schools, and all of them were assistants under Stoops at Oklahoma.
Besides those who are currently coaching, both Mark Mangino and Mike Stoops (who are not currently head coaches), went straight from Stoops' staff to their first head-coaching positions.
Oklahoma has been a head-coach factory under Stoops, leading to his current position in these rankings.
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