Wednesday, January 16, 2013

College to NFL

The coaching journey from NCAA to NFL is riddled with cautionary tales. Nick Saban has won a few championships at Alabama and LSU, but he bombed out in the NFL. Petrino, and Spurrier each had short, unsuccessful NFL coaching stints, before returning back to success in the SEC.

Recently, however, coaches have been having more success jumping from college to the NFL. Most successful coaches have already had "big city" experience, and are often going to a "smaller" town for the pros. There aren't a lot that are "king" of their college town.

Jim Harbaugh didn't have to move to take the 49ers job. Stanford is less than 15 miles from 49ers headquarters.
Pete Carroll moved from LA to Seattle. USC is arguably LAs pro team, and moving up to Seattle could be seen as a less stressful job.
Greg Schiano was at Rutgers - just a few towns over from Giants stadium in New York. Going down to Tampa Bay could almost be considered a retirement.
Doug Marrone was at Syracuse, in upstate New York, just a few hours from Buffalo.
Tom Coughlin went from Boston College to Jacksonville - another trip from a big city to Florida. He eventually ended up at New York, and has not done too shabby.

Now the Eagles have tabbed Oregon's Chip Kelly as their new coach. Where does he fit in? Oregon is a Pac-12 school, and those coaches have had recent success in the NFL. However, Eugene is a college town. Portland is nearly two hours away. And the nearest pro team is 4.5 hours away. The Ducks are the "big boys" of football in the state of Oregon. They have Nike's money showering down on them. It seems more like an SEC school than the schools everybody else is coming from.

And the destination? Philadelphia is a much bigger city than Eugene. He will also be going to the opposite side of the country. However, prior to Oregon all his coaching experience was in the northeast, so it could be considered a homecoming. We will see how it pans out. However, there are a number of question marks now.

And there is also the question of why he decided to leave now. Not many days ago, he seemed ready to accept an NFL offer, but then decided to stay in Oregon. Perhaps during the few days he saw some major NCAA penalties coming to Oregon. Could he be pulling a Carroll and bolting before everything falls apart? Carroll and Caughlin saw their college teams regress after they left for the NFL. However, Stanford and Rutgers both continued to do well after Harbaugh and Schiano left. (They also both promoted from within.) We will see how things turn out.

Records at college and NFL (from ESPN)
Chip Kelly, PHI .868 ?
Pete Carroll, SEA .836 .518
Tom Coughlin, NYG .614 .555
Jim Harbaugh, SF .580 .750
Greg Schiano, TB .504 .438
Doug Marrone, BUF .500 ?

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