Only 4 schools enter 2017 with the same staff for the 3rd straight season

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday May 08, 2017

Every head coach would like staff continuity, but it’s difficult, and staff turnover is as frequent as ever.

Heading into the 2017 season, only four FBS schools will have the same staff of nine assistants for at least the third straight year. Among those four, Northwestern is entering its seventh straight (since 2011). Here are those staffs:

- Northwestern: Pat Fitzgerald (head coach), Mick McCall (OC / QB), Mike Hankwitz (DC), Matt MacPherson (RB), Bob Heffner (superbacks), Dennis Springer (WR), Adam Cushing (OL), Marty Long (DL), Randy Bates (LB), Jerry Brown (DB / assistant HC)

- Florida State: Jimbo Fisher (head coach), Randy Sanders (co-OC / QB), Lawrence Dawsey (co-OC / WR), Charles Kelly (DC / DB), Jay Graham (RB / ST coordinator), Tim Brewster (TE), Rick Trickett (OL / assistant HC), Brad Lawing (DE / OLB), Odell Haggins (DT), Bill Miller (LB)

- Miami (OH): Chuck Martin (head coach), Eric Koehler (co-OC / QB), George Barnett (co-OC / OL / associate HC), Matt Pawlowski (co-DC / LB), John Hauser (co-DC / CB), Israel Woolfork (RB), Bill Brechin (WR), Pat Welsh (TE), Corey Brown (DL), Joe Palcic (safeties)

- Michigan State: Mark Dantonio (head coach), Dave Warner (co-OC / RB), Jim Bollman (co-OC / TE), Harlon Barnett (co-DC / DB), Mike Tressel (co-DC / LB), Brad Salem (QB), Terrence Samuel (WR), Mark Staten (OL), Ron Burton (DT), Mark Snyder (DE / ST coordinator)

In March, Fisher said he didn’t see a reason to make a change at FSU, and his veteran staff isn’t just looking for the next job.

“It lets you know what’s going on, it’s stability, guys get relationships,” Fisher said. “People don’t realize, ‘Change this, change that,’ well that’s all great. Everybody wants change in this world now, but you’re breaking relationships, how a guy’s coached, how a guy’s told what to do, how he knows what the coach wants and all that. It helps when you keep continuity.”

Along with these schools, there are 17 more bringing back the same staff for the second year in a row.

Akron, Appalachian State, BYU, Colorado State, Duke, Iowa State, Miami (FL), Penn State, Old Dominion, San Diego State, Troy, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF, Virginia Tech

Last year, only 14 schools returned their entire staff for 2016, down from 23 in 2015. This year, it’s 21, which is just 16 percent of the 130 FBS programs.

Sometimes, assistants leave for promotions at other schools. Sometimes, they’re replaced to improve a position. Sometimes, they retire. There can be a lot of factors, but coaching turnover is more frequent than ever. The odds of a player having the same position coach for all four years are not very high.

But every single FBS staff will change in 2018, with the addition of a 10th full-time assistant set to begin in January 2018.

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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