Most veteran Big East coach: Doug Marrone

July, 12, 2012
7/12/12
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The Big East has traditionally been a league that loses some of its best and brightest coaches to bigger opportunities.

But never before has the league has looked this green.

When Greg Schiano departed Rutgers for the Tampa Bay Bucs, the title of "most veteran coach in the Big East" fell to Doug Marrone of Syracuse. Entering Year 4. With one bowl appearance.

In addition to Marrone, the Big East has three third-year coaches (Skip Holtz, Butch Jones, Charlie Strong), two second-year coaches (Steve Addazio, Paul Pasqualoni) and two first-year coaches (Paul Chryst, Kyle Flood).

While Big East watchers are used to turnover, there is no way they are used to seeing zero coaches in the league with more than five years on the job. There was a time when coaching veterans left their mark. Back in 2009, the Big East had Schiano going into his ninth season; Jim Leavitt at USF going into his 13th season; and Randy Edsall going into his 11th season at UConn.

Those men endured even after hot shots like Bobby Petrino left Louisville (2006), Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia (2007) and Brian Kelly left Cincinnati (2009). Rodriguez was the only one of the three that lasted longer than five years at his school.

But as Big East fans know, even the veteran coaches leave. Edsall seemed to make a lateral move to Maryland in 2010 after 12 seasons with the Huskies. The lure of the NFL called Schiano after 11 seasons with the Scarlet Knights. Leavitt was fired after the school's internal investigation found he hit one of his players and then lied about it.

As it stands today, the Big East is the only FBS conference that does not have a head coach with more than five years at his current school. The average coaching tenure in the Big East is also the lowest of all FBS conferences, at 2.4 years. That also is the lowest average since the Big East began in 1991.

Remember, at that time, the Big East had coaching stalwarts Frank Beamer, Don Nehlen and Pasqualoni. Each won at least one Big East championship. Those three coaches also are the top three all-time winningest coaches in league history. Pasqualoni is back in, but entering Year 2 at UConn.

Where veterans once roamed the Big East, one now wonders whether stability like that will ever exist in this conference. There has been some good news, with recent contract extensions for Holtz, Jones and Strong. If Chris Petersen sticks around Boise State, he will be going into Year 8 with the Broncos when they join the Big East in 2013. UCF coach George O'Leary would be going into Year 10 if he is there to lead the Knights into the Big East next year.

But for now, the Big East is pretty raw when it comes to veteran coaches.

Average head-coaching tenure for each conference:

Big 12: 8.5 years

ACC: 6.2 years

MWC: 5.4 years

Sun Belt: 5.1 years

SEC: 4.8 years

Big Ten: 4.3 years

Pac-12: 4.2 years

WAC: 3.7 years

C-USA: 3.5 years

MAC: 3.2 years

Big East: 2.4 years

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