Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Intra-league job hopping at all-time high
By ESPN.com staff
I don't keep statistics of every assistant coach move in the Big Ten in the past few decades, but I'd be surprised if we've seen an offseason quite like this one.
Although college football assistants change jobs every year in every league, the Big Ten has had an unusually high number of coaches make moves within the conference. Some changes were voluntary, some were out of necessity, and two coaches spent just days at one Big Ten school (Indiana) before jumping elsewhere within the league. New Big Ten member Nebraska played a role in several of these moves.
Here's the rundown:
- Purdue linebackers coach Mark Hagen left to become defensive tackles coach/special teams coordinator at Indiana.
- Northwestern receivers coach Kevin Johns left to become Indiana's receivers coach/pass game coordinator. He later was elevated to Hoosiers' co-offensive coordinator.
- Former Michigan assistants Rod Smith and Greg Frey, out of work following Rich Rodriguez's firing, joined Kevin Wilson's staff at Indiana. Smith will serve as co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, while Frey will coach the offensive line.
- Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler left to become co-defensive coordinator at Indiana.
- Former Indiana assistant head coach/running backs coach Dennis Springer, out of work following Bill Lynch's firing, was hired by Northwestern as Johns' replacement (wide receivers coach).
- Jerry Montgomery and Corey Raymond both took jobs on Wilson's staff at Indiana but soon left for positions elsewhere in the league. Montgomery will coach defensive line at Michigan, while Raymond is expected to be announced as secondary coach at Nebraska. Indiana also brought in a Nebraska defensive staffer, Brett Diersen, to help replace Montgomery and coach the defensive ends.
All in all, nine assistant have spent time at multiple Big Ten programs in recent months.
And we might not be done yet. There are several remaining Big Ten assistant coach vacancies -- Wisconsin's running backs coach, Illinois' linebackers coach, two potential openings at Nebraska -- that could be filled from within the league.
What does this mean? Perhaps not much, but the familiarity factor isn't something to overlook when some of these coaches reunite with their former teams on fall Saturdays. Johns knows Northwestern and vice versa. Same goes for Hagen and Purdue, Ekeler and Nebraska and, to a lesser degree because of head-coaching changes, Springer at Indiana and Smith/Frey at Michigan.
Indiana hosts both Northwestern (Oct. 29) and Purdue (Nov. 26) this season, but doesn't play Nebraska or Michigan.