Projecting the Next College Football Coaches to Jump to the NFL
Much like college players, coaches are always keeping their ear close to the NFL door and keeping an open mind about possibly leaving for the professional ranks. The NFL usually pays more, allows a little more freedom and is considered the peak of football coaching.
While your favorite coach is currently saying how happy he is at said school, you better believe he wouldn't think twice about leaving for a better job opportunity. Coaches change gigs all the time, and if it means a fatter paycheck and more notoriety, see ya!
A lot of the time, NFL franchises like to go with the latest big name in the college level. It would help if he had some NFL experience, but swinging for the fences and landing that big fish is what it is all about these days.
The good news is that there are some popular names that will soon be on the market.
Steve Sarkisian, Washington
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The seat isn't cooling down for Steve Sarkisian. Although he has led Washington to three straight bowls, Huskies fans believe they should be doing better than three consecutive seasons of seven wins. The pressure is on this season, or he will likely be shown the door, as Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times notes.
No matter what his future is with Washington, Sarkisian has a bright future at the next level. The NFL is so driven by quarterbacks, and he has worked with some of the best in Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez and Jake Locker at the college level.
His one season with the Oakland Raiders in 2004 helped produce a pass attack that was ranked eighth in the league.
Sarkisian put NFL interviews on hold earlier this year, but he will pick up the phone soon if Washington continues to grow impatient.
David Shaw, Stanford
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Right now, there is little reason for David Shaw to leave Stanford. He is coaching at his alma mater, has turned it into a consistent winner and recently received a contract extension that should keep him around for a while.
However, Shaw is only 40 years old. He has plenty of time to bolt for the big bucks in the NFL. And if past history with former Stanford coaches is any indication, he will eventually do just that.
Guys such as Bill Walsh, Dennis Green, and Jim Harbaugh have all left the program at one time or another to give the NFL a shot. To make things even sweeter, they all had more than their fair share of success.
Shaw is a great motivator who comes off as a tough-nosed coach but rarely loses his temper. He simply knows how to get the most out of his players and can easily get them to believe in his system. He's been in coaching most of his life, along with his father Willie Shaw, and has NFL experience running offenses for nine years.
Shaw will remain in Stanford for a while but will test the waters of the NFL when the time is right.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska
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Bo Pelini has done a solid job in Nebraska, putting together a 49-20 record in five seasons. The downside is that he has lost three straight bowl games and is coaching in the lopsided Big Ten.
There are serious questions about whether Nebraska will ever have the horses to compete now that Michigan and Ohio State are back on the map.
If Pelini feels he won't be able to get the Cornhuskers over the top, he will likely bail sooner rather than later.
He has experience coaching defenses in the NFL under popular names such as Pete Carroll and Mike Sherman. He also has that quick temper that seems to be better suited for grown men rather than young adults who are still considered students. Yelling and popping blood vessels on the sidelines would go over better if he was in the NFL.
Pelini runs Nebraska a lot like an NFL team and could soon be given a shot to coach a real squad at the next level.
Charlie Weis, Kansas
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There comes a point when you have to realize that maybe certain things aren't for you. Charlie Weis isn't cut out to be a head coach and is on his last leg with Kansas. He's 36-38 as a college head coach and has only won one bowl game in his six seasons.
Weis makes a much better offensive coordinator, as he has already shown in the NFL. He has nine years of experience calling plays, and his offenses had ranked in the top 14 in the league seven times. He has also coached under legends in Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.
Some guys just aren't fit to be running the team and would be better off playing a lesser role. Weis is clearly that guy after coming up short in the head coaching department.
Once he is fired from Kansas, you can bet some team looking for an offensive boost will come calling. It would be in the best interest of both parties if Weis answered.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
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It is surprising that Brian Kelly would consider leaving for the NFL after just three seasons with Notre Dame. He's coaching the biggest powerhouse in college, which he just helped reach a national championship.
He has the fame, is in a big market and received a contract extension that carries through the 2016 season.
All of those factors didn't stop him from interviewing with the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though he decided to stay in South Bend, this obviously means he's looking and would make the leap if the situation is right. Now his name will remain in these conversations until he actually leaves Notre Dame for the professional level.
Kelly doesn't have any NFL ties, but he has proven to be a winner everywhere he has coached. This includes programs that have experienced little success before he came along, such as Central Michigan and Cincinnati. He is also a wonderful speaker and prepares for things better than your average coach.
Imaging a coach leaving Notre Dame when it is back on top is borderline insane. However, Kelly has given us reason to believe he wouldn't mind doing just that if the right opportunity presents itself.