Stolen Gem. Can College Coaches Make Good Pro Coaches

Let me start off by saying some of you might of read this already if you clicked on the "Solid Debut Year for 2012" sub article "NFL Coaching Rumors". If you did not a poster by the name of dacj501 posted a history of coaches to coach in the SB. I'm sure it took him hours of research and I know it took me moments to poach for your enjoyment. It really is good stuff. Without further ado:

I just like this line of investigation. What qualifies someone as a “college coach?”

Bill Parcells began his coaching career in 1964 as LB coach for Hastings College. Over the next 15 years he was LB coach, Def coordinator or both and finally in 1978 HC at Air Force for 1 season before taking the D Coordinator job with the Giants (his college jobs were at Hastings, Wichita St, Army, FSU, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech and Air Force). Doesn’t that make him a college coach first?

What about Bill Walsh whose first coaching job was at Washington HS in Fremont, CA? From there he became an assistant coach for 3 seasons at UC, Berkeley (under Marv Levy, who, see next) and then 2 more seasons as an assistant at Stanford before getting his first Pro coaching gig with the Raiders.

Marv Levy spent his first 2 seasons coaching basketball and football at St. Louis Country Day School (winning a championship in hoops btw) before taking a job coaching at his Alma Mater, Coe College. Levy joined the Coe staff in 1953 as an assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach and head track coach. In 1955 Levy became HC and he won his 2nd basketball championship. He spent another 15 years as assistant or HC at Coe, New Mexico, UCB and William and Mary before taking the kicking team coach position with the Eagles in 1969.

Maybe its lately that guys come more from within the pro ranks – that could be I suppose (I’ll grant you these guys all started a long time ago and I guess there really wasn’t much pro football back them for them to get their starts in).

If those guys are too old, look at Dennis Green who spent from 1973-1991 coaching college (except for 2 different brief stints with the 49ers, 1st as ST coach in 1979 and then as WR coach from 1986-1988) before finally moving to the pros for good in 1992 when he got the Vikings HC job.

Packers HC Mike McCarthy coached in college to start his career from 87-92.

Mike Tomlin was an assistant VMI, Arkansas St, Memphis and Cincinnati from 95-2000 before joining the Bucs.

Jim Caldwall was a college coach from 1977-2000.

Sean Payton was a college coach from 1988-1997.

Lovie Smith coached HS and college for 15 years before joining the Bucs in 1996.

Andy Reid coached college from 1982-1991.

John Fox was a college coach from 1978-1989 (save a stint with the LA Express in 1985)

John Gruden’s career began with 4 years at various assistant positions before he joined the 49ers in 1990 (in 1991 he returned to college for another season before landing in the NFL full time)

From 1980 to 1994 Bill Callahan was a college assistant.

Mike Martz went from 1973 (HS assistant) to 1991 before getting his pro debut.

Jim Fassel was an assistant and HC in college (and the USFL) from 79-89.

Brian Billick started in college from 1978-1991.

All those guys coached in at least 1 Superbowl.

Of course, most of them were never even college HCs and they all became NFL assistants at some point before getting NFL HC gigs. (So, really I’ve strayed from the origins here a bit, but I still find it interesting that so many of these guys spent a good deal of time coaching college.) But so did Doug Marrone. From 1992-2000 Marrone was a college assistant with Cortland St, Coast Guard, Northeastern, Georgia Tech and Georgia. He went on to the next step along a route like most of those guys above and became an NFL assistant. Some of those other coaches above took detours back to college for a couple seasons, although not as HC typically, so that sets HCDM apart I suppose, but if Marrone is a “college guy” so were all those other coaches…

This is way longer than I intended, and I don’t mean it to be negative towards Phunk who I enjoy. I started this when a few names immediately came to mind, and then I just checked the last bunch of HCs in the Superbowl out of curiosity…

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