clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rutgers really does have a young staff

D.J. Durkin went for a veteran staff around him; Chris Ash leaned towards youth. Take a look at just how young some of them are.

Head Football Coach Chris Ash meeting reporters rvc73

Do you remember what you were doing ten years ago? What job did you hold in 2006?

For arguably the best coach in D1 - OSU’s Urban Meyer - he was head coach at Florida. For arguably the other best coach in D1 - ‘Bama’s Nick Saban - well, he was a head coach in Florida, too. With the Dolphins, the two-year experiment that proved some coaches don’t really want or need to be in the NFL.

How about the rest of the coaches in D1?

CoachingSearch took a look at all 129 FBS coaches and where they all were ten years ago. The findings were, at the very least, enlightening if not curiously intriguing.

About a third were head caches in 2006. Ten - including Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald - are at the same school.

Four - including Rutgers 2016 opponent New Mexico’s Bob Davie - weren’t even coaching. Davie was a TV analyst.

Here’s a point worth noting, especially if you believe in coaching trees and having experience at the highest level:

Five were on the Florida staff that won the national title that year: Urban Meyer, Steve Addazio, Dan Mullen, Charlie Strong and Doc Holliday.

And three were on the Ohio State staff that lost to Florida in that title game: Darrel Hazell, Paul Haynes and P.J. Fleck.

Ten years ago: Where were the Big Ten Head Coaches?

We know where Meyer, Ferentz, and Fitzpatrick were, but how about the rest. In ascending order of significance to us (my choices):

Darrel Hazell, Purdue: Ohio State WR

Tracy Claeys, Minnesota: Southern Illinois, DC

Lovie Smith, Illinois: Chicago Bears Head Coach (one of three NFLers, along with Saban and UCLA’s Jim Mora)

Mike Riley, Nebraska: Oregon State Head Coach

Paul Chryst, Wisconsin: Wisconsin OC

Kevin Wilson, Indiana: Oklahoma OC

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: Cincinnati Head Coach

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: University of San Diego Head Coach

D.J. Durkin, Maryland: Bowling Green LB Coach

James Franklin, Penn State: Kansas State OC

And what about the Rutgers staff?

In 2006, Chris Ash was Iowa State’s DB coach, after spending the prior six years on the Cyclones staff.

We all know that between the two new head coaching hires in the Big Ten, there was a distinct difference in approach, with Durkin at Maryland going for veteran coaches and Ash looking for younger, less experienced coaches. And looking at ten years ago, that point becomes very clear.

Jay Niemann, DC: In 2006, the D3 Simpson College Storm were (was?) coached by Niemann, spending six years in Indianola, IA as the had man. And that would be appropriate: Niemann is one of the older (55) staff members.

Vince Okruch, Special Teams: Illinois DC Okruch, too, is an exception on the youngish staff, coming in at 60 (my kinda guy!). He was Ash’s first hire.

Zak Kuhr, RB: At 28, that means that ten years ago Kuhr was, uhh, graduating high school? His Rutgers bio says he was the WR coach at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville, FL. in 2006.

A.J. Blazek, Offensive Line: Everyone’s favorite tweeting coach, Blazek was the OC and O line coach at Fort Hays State.

Jafar Williams, Running Backs: Working in eastern Pennsylvania at D3 Moravian, Williams was the passing game coordinator and WR coach.

Bill Bosch, Defensive Backs: Bosch had already hit the big time in ‘06. He was at Nebraska coaching safeties and serving as Special Teams Coordinator under Bill Callahan.

Shane Burnham, Defensive Line: Okay, if Blazek isn’t your favorite tweeting coach, then Burnham must be. Ten years ago he was at FCS Elon coaching the linebackers and defensive ends, as well as serving as special teams coordinator.

Drew Mehringer, Offensive Coordinator: I left my two favorites til the end. Like Kuhr, he’s 28. Mehringer worked for seven seasons with Tom Herman’s offense at Houston, Ohio State, Iowa State and Rice, Mehringer’s Alma Mater. Where he graduated in 2010. Which means four years earlier in 2006 he was....graduating from high school.

Aaron Henry, Defensive Backs Assistant: Henry graduated from Wisconsin in 2011. You do the math; in 2006, Aaron Henry was a junior at Immokalee High School in Florida.

Youth will be served.