Recently, I did a breakdown of all the NFL coaches and assistant coaches (full positional coaches only — no ‘assistant safeties coaches’) and the schools they graduated from. It was interesting, and I thought I’d make a few observations based on the compiled list.
- There’s an incredible amount of diversity, with 213 schools represented. That’s good news for people who aspire to be in the game, and something I’ve tried to hammer for a long time. No matter where you are, if your school has a football team, and you want to work in football, get your butt to the football office and volunteer. Immediately.
- The top three schools are all football titans: Southern Cal leads with eight, while Penn State and Ohio State are tied for second with seven each.
- Here’s something interesting. For ages, Miami (Ohio) has been known as the cradle of coaches for producing legendary names like Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and Sid Gillman. Of course, football was very different then, and Miami (Ohio) could play on a more level playing field then. Mid-America Conference football is very different from what’s being played in the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC now, but the school is still producing coaches. It’s tied for No. 3 overall with Pittsburgh with six NFL coaches, and some of them are still quite young. They include Ravens head coach John Harbaugh as well as an offensive coordinator (Sean McVay, Redskins) and a former (interim) head coach, Aaron Kromer, who now coaches the offensive line for the Bills.
- By the way, Miami (Ohio) has more coaches in the NFL (6 v. 5) than the ‘other’ Miami.
- William & Mary is tied for sixth overall with five coaches in the NFL, while Indiana (Pa.), Montana and Springfield College are tied with four each. William & Mary, IUP and Montana are all FBS schools, but Springfield is Division III. Again, you don’t have to go to a big school to make it to the NFL as a coach. Arizona State, BYU, Georgia, Michigan and Nebraska are all schools with just one coach in the NFL who graduated from their schools.
- Other non-FBS schools in the top 38 are New Hampshire, North Dakota State and Southwestern Oklahoma, which each have three coaches in the league.
I hope these numbers show you that NFL coaches come from all around, and if pursuing a place in the league is your ambition, don’t let the school you attended stop you.