New NFL coaches come with much college experience

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 17, 2013

Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 17, 2013

The NFL is considered the highest level of football coaching.

But coaches didn't get there overnight. Seven new NFL head coaches have been hired this offseason, and six of them started as college coaches covering the four corners of the United States.

Two of them have taken these NFL jobs directly from college, while one has never coaches student-athletes.

Here are the seven new coaches and their college coaching experience.

Doug Marrone (Buffalo Bills): Marrone comes back to the NFL directly from Syracuse, but has much more college experience. After his playing career ended in 1992, he spent a year each at Cortland State, the Coast Guard and Northeastern before getting the tight ends job at Georgia Tech in 1996. The following year, he was promoted to offensive line coach. He moved to the SEC in 2000 when he became Georgia's offensive line coach and then the tight ends / offensive line job at Tennessee in 2001. After spending time as an NFL assistant from 2002-08, he returned to Syracuse, his alma mater, for his first head coaching job.

Marc Trestman (Chicago Bears): Trestman's background in the Canadian Football League has been the focus, but he does have years of NFL experience and a few in college. He was a quarterbacks coach at Miami (FL.) from 1981-84 as the Hurricanes first rose to prominence. He returned to college football as the offensive coordinator at NC State from 2005-06. From there, he moved to Montreal to be head coach of the Alouettes.

Rob Chudzinski (Cleveland Browns): The former Miami (FL.) tight end became a graduate assistant at the school from 1994-95 before being moved to tight ends coach from 1996-2000. He was promoted to offensive coordinator from 2001-03, as the Hurricanes won a national championship and competed for another. He left for his first of three stints with the Cleveland Browns.

Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars): A graduate of North Dakota State, Bradley was a graduate assistant at the school from 1990-91. From there, he went to Fort Lewis College in Colorado, where he was the defensive coordinator / linebackers coach for four years. He was he head coach for four months before returning to NDSU as an assistant for 10 years. During that time, he worked as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. He moved to the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2006 and has been in the NFL since.

Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): A BYU graduate, Reid was a GA in 1982 before spending time as an offensive line coach at four different schools: San Francisco State (1983-85), Northern Arizona (1986), UTEP (1987-88) and Missouri (1989-91). He moved on to the Green Bay Packers in 1992.

Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles): Six years ago, Kelly was an FCS assistant. He began as a defensive assistant at Columbia from 1990-91. He spent one year as the running backs coach at New Hampshire (1992) and one year as the defensive coordinator at John Hopkins (1993) before returning to UNH. There, he spent time as running backs coach (1994-96), offensive line coach (1997-98) and offensive coordinator (1999-06). He moved up a level and across the country to be Oregon's offensive coordinator from 2007-08 before being named head coach to replace Mike Belotti.

Mike McCoy (San Diego Chargers): McCoy has no collegiate coaching experience. After his CFL career ended in 1999, the Utah graduate became an offensive assistant for the Carolina Panthers and was with the team through 2008, when he moved to the Denver Broncos.



Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

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

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