- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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“A Memorial for Joe” will honor the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno on Thursday, 29 years to the day that former Alabama coach Bear Bryant died only four weeks after his final game. The fact that both coaching icons died so soon after they left coaching has been noted time and again this week. The coincidences continue to pile up. Both Bryant and Paterno won their last victory against Illinois. Paterno’s last loss ever came to Alabama in September.
You can’t quibble with the success of Boise State coach Chris Petersen. The Broncos went 50-3 the last four seasons with Kellen Moore at quarterback, and is 73-6 overall. But now comes Petersen’s biggest test. According to PhilSteele.com, Boise State is dead last among FBS schools in returning starters with six. Depth is usually the last thing that mid-majors can count on. Then again, with the Big East on the horizon, we won’t be able to call Boise State a mid-major for much longer.
You know that a head coach has made it when he keeps winning even as his assistants depart. With that in mind, keep an eye on Wisconsin next fall. Head coach Bret Bielema is in the process of replacing six of his nine assistant coaches in this offseason. Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst became head coach at Pitt and took three coaches with him. Bielema may be young – he turned 42 this month – but he’s developing a coaching tree. Dave Doeren left his staff last year to become head coach at Northern Illinois.