More than 30 FBS head coaches will call plays in 2017

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday July 17, 2017

This fall, more than 30 FBS head coaches will call plays.

For every head coach, it comes down to personal preference. Some say they need to focus on the whole team. Others say calling plays is what got them the job and want the hands-on feel.

Here are the (at least) 35 head coaches who will call plays in 2017:

Rich Rodriguez (Arizona)
Blake Anderson (Arkansas state)
Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State)
Mike Jinks (Bowling Green)
Mike Bobo (Colorado State)
Jimbo Fisher (Florida State)
Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech)*
Paul Petrino (Idaho)
Tom Allen (Indiana)* (D)
Skip Holtz (Louisiana Tech)
Bobby Petrino (Louisville)
Mark Whipple (UMass)*
Mark Richt (Miami FL)
Chuck Martin (Miami OH)
Dan Mullen (Mississippi State)
Barry Odom (Missouri) (D)
Doug Martin (New Mexico State)*
Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma)
Willie Taggart (Oregon)
Jeff Brohm (Purdue)
Rocky Long (San Diego State) (D)*
Chad Morris (SMU)
David Shaw (Stanford)
Dino Babers (Syracuse)
Gary Patterson (TCU) (D)
Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech)
Jason Candle (Toledo)
Neal Brown (Troy)
Philip Montgomery (Tulsa)*
Scott Frost (UCF)
Matt Wells (Utah State)
Derek Mason (Vanderbilt) (D)*
Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia) (D)
Mike Leach (Washington State)*
Paul Chryst (Wisconsin)
*Also serves as coordinator

There are also two unknowns among new head coaches at the moment: Jeff Tedford at Fresno State and Geoff Collins at Temple. It’s likely Tedford will call plays, as he’s done it at other stops.

This is slightly fewer than the 40 head coaches who called plays last year, mostly because several notable coaches gave up play-calling.

Coaches who will no longer call plays in 2017 include Arizona State’s Todd Graham (D), Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, Kansas’ David Beaty, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen. All six hired new offensive coordinators.

“I thought the timing was right,” Holgorsen said in May. “Getting a new five-year contract, having a quarterback that could use some individual attention from another guy, bringing Jake (Spavital) in. Letting him call the plays, which allows me to do this other head coaching stuff, it’s been interesting. I’m a little bit more relaxed now. You probably won’t see me going crazy on the sidelines as much.”

Arkansas State has won two straight Sun Belt titles, but head coach Blake Anderson is taking over the role after their scoring dropped from No. 12 to No. 74.

“I’ve been in this offense for 15 years, so my best way to help us improve offensively is to get involved,” Anderson said. “Running the offense and collaborating with those guys, play-calling and organizing quarterbacks, I thought, was the right move for now. Maybe not forever, but for now.

See CoachingSearch’s 2017 offseason studies here

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to