Best College Football Assistant Coach Hires 2024 Include Chip Kelly, Eric Bieniemy

    Several of the top assistant football coaches found new homes this offseason, but who are the best college football assistant coach hires for 2024?

    The ever-changing college football landscape saw several top-tier assistant coaches settle into new coordinator positions, with some even turning down head coaching or NFL opportunities to do so. It’s been said that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but that won’t stop these coaches from finding out.

    While they settle into their new surroundings, let’s look at where some of the best college football assistant coaches will impart their wisdom in the upcoming campaign.

    Best College Football Assistant Coach Hires 2024

    Chip Kelly, OC, Ohio State

    Chip Kelly isn’t the only former head coach to volunteer for a demotion elsewhere, but he might be the most high-profile case.

    He’s been a head coach since 2009 with the Oregon Ducks (2009-2012), the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2015), the San Francisco 49ers (2016) and the UCLA Bruins (2018-2023). An orchestrator of many high-powered offenses, Kelly resigned from the Bruins to join Ryan Day’s staff on the Ohio State Buckeyes

    Eric Bieniemy, OC, UCLA

    There are many around football who believe Eric Bieniemy should be the head coach of an NFL team after two Super Bowl wins as the Kansas City Chiefs’ OC (2018-2022).

    He took a one-year stint with the Washington Commanders as OC and assistant head coach last season, but was left looking for work when head coach Ron Rivera was fired. Now the Bruins have one of the sharpest offensive minds at any level in charge of their offense.

    Mike Denbrock, OC, Notre Dame

    Not many coaches would leave a cushy SEC coordinator job in Baton Rouge for the same position outside of the conference, but that’s what Mike Denbrock did when he left for Notre Dame this offseason.

    After guiding Jaydan Daniels to a Heisman Trophy — and the Tigers to the top offense in the country — last season, Denbrock is off to South Bend to try and do the same for Marcus Freeman’s Fighting Irish.

    Wink Martindale, DC, Michigan

    It’s been 20 years since Wink Martindale coached in the college ranks after stints with five NFL teams, most recently the DC for the Baltimore Ravens (2018-2021) and the New York Giants (2022-2023).

    One of two coaches on this list to spurn the NFL for college, Martindale will be in Ann Arbor to guide the National Champion Wolverines’ defense under Sherrone Moore.

    Bobby Petrino, OC, Arkansas

    Bobby Petrino returns to his former stomping ground 11 years after being relieved of his duties as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks (2008-2011) after a motorcycle accident revealed an adulterous affair.

    Following head coaching stops at WKU (2013), Louisville (2014-2018), Missouri State (2020-2022), and a season as OC at Texas A&M (2023), he’s now in charge of the Razorbacks’ offense.

    Kane Wommack, DC, Alabama

    After working his way up the coaching ranks, Kane Wommack got his first head coaching job in 2021 with the South Alabama Jaguars. He turned the Jaguars around with winning records the last two seasons, including a 10-3 campaign last year.

    Even though he made it all the way to head coach and was successful, he couldn’t resist a defensive coordinator offer from Kalen DeBoer and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    Blake Baker, DC, LSU

    LSU head coach Brian Kelly initially passed on retaining Blake Baker’s services in 2021 when he took over the Tigers and Baker was the LB coach.

    After two successful seasons as the DC of the Missouri Tigers, Kelly corrected that mistake this offseason and even made up for it by promoting Baker to defensive coordinator on his return to Baton Rouge. He’ll be needed after LSU had one of the worst defenses in the SEC last season.

    Andy Avalos, DC, TCU

    One season removed from playing in the College Football National Championship, the TCU Horned Frogs fell on hard times last year with a 5-7 record.

    After fielding the 10th-worst total defense in the Big 12, head coach Sonny Dykes made a change at DC from Joe Gillespie to Andy Avalos. A former DC at Oregon (2019-202), Avalos was fired as Boise State’s head coach after a 22-14 record in three years (2021-2021).

    Bush Hamdan, OC, Kentucky

    Bush Hamdan played quarterback at Boise State (2004-2008) and returned to his alma mater for one season as OC last year.

    Hamdan helped navigate turmoil from an in-season head coach change to a Mountain West Championship for the Broncos. When the dust was settled, he parlayed that success to an SEC coordinator job with the Kentucky Wildcats under Mark Stoops.

    Dirk Koetter, OC, Boise State

    Hamdan’s replacement, Dirk Koetter, was the interim OC under Avalos in 2022, but that wasn’t his first stint with the Broncos. Koetter compiled a 26-10 record as the head coach at Boise State (1998-2000) before six seasons in charge at Arizona State (2001-2007).

    He was the OC (2015) and head coach (2016-2018) of the Tampa Buccaneers, with OC stops before and after that with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007-2011) and Atlanta Falcons (2012-2014, 2019-2020).

    KEEP READING: 2024 College Football Realignment

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