College football first-year coach grades: Ohio State's Ryan Day aces test, Miami's Manny Diaz fails
How did the FBS college football coaches that took new jobs perform in 2019?
The 2019 regular season is in the books, and several rookie coaches made their first impressions on the college football world. From Ryan Day at Ohio State to Manny Diaz at Miami and everyone in between, coaches laid the groundwork for the future of their respective programs throughout the fall.
Some were successful ... and others were not. Some led their teams to bowl games ... and others fell just short. But the process is still ongoing, potentially with better days on the horizon for some. Others could be a flash in the pan at their programs with the bottom set to fall out by the time Year 2 rolls around next summer.
Let's grade the first-year coaches from 2019 based solely on their performance this season.
|Mel Tucker||5-7||Tucker couldn't lead the Buffaloes to a winning record despite having quarterback Steven Montez and wide receiver Laviska Shenault. That shouldn't happen.||C+|
|Geoff Collins||3-9||Collins gets graded on a curve since he's transitioning from the triple option. That win over Miami was a good sign.||C|
|Les Miles||3-9||Three wins at Kansas including a dismantling of Boston College is nice. But Miles hasn't proven that he can dig the Jayhawks out of the hole they were in.||C|
|Chris Klieman||8-4||It's hard to replace a legend, but Klieman picked up right where Bill Snyder left off.||A-|
|Scott Satterfield||7-5||This program was in shambles after Bobby Petrino, and Satterfield made it competitive. That's a minor miracle.||A-|
|Mike Locksley||3-9||Things started out with a bang, but the fireworks flamed out shortly thereafter. Locksley has a lot of work to do.||D|
|Manny Diaz||6-6||A bowl is nice, but you can't lose to FIU and a transitioning Georgia Tech team. Not at Miami.||F|
|Mack Brown||6-6||Brown got a broken program back to a bowl and made true freshman quarterback Max Howell a star. That'll work.||B+|
|Ryan Day||12-0||Day aced his first test. If we could give out something more than an A+, he would get it.||A+|
|Matt Wells||4-8||Wells came to town with a proven track record but posted a worse record than Kliff Kingsbury did last year. That won't cut it.||D+|
|Neal Brown||5-7||Brown didn't have a lot to work with, but the program took a pretty significant step back. This team should be able to stumble its way to a bowl.||C-|
|Tom Arth||0-12||It's a difficult job ... but it shouldn't be that difficult.||F|
|Eliah Drinkwitz||11-1||The Mountaineers are in the thick of the New Year's Six discussion. That'll work.||A|
|Scot Loeffler||3-9||The offense struggled under the offensive-minded first-year coach. That's not a good sign.||C-|
|Jim McElwain||8-4||This team won one game last year and will play in the MAC Championship Game. That speaks volumes.||A|
|Will Healy||7-5||After turning around Austin Peay, Healy led the 49ers to their first-ever bowl game in Year 1.||A-|
|Jamey Chadwell||5-7||Things looked promising with the Kansas win in September, but conference play grabbed the Chanticleers.||B-|
|Mike Houston||4-8||The defense was brutal late in the season, which should concern Pirates fans moving forward.||C-|
|Dana Holgorsen||4-8||The record coupled with the midseason redshirt controversy of quarterback D'Eriq Kings makes this first year a total failure.||F|
|Hugh Freeze||7-5||The Flames should go to their first-ever bowl, and Freeze made a star out of Antonio Gandy-Golden.||A-|
|Thomas Hammock||5-7||The defense took a step back, and the offense was stale. Not a good start for Hammock.||C-|
|Rod Carey||8-4||Carey kept the Owls cooking at their normal level in a tough AAC.||B|
|Jake Spavital||3-9||The Bobcats didn't show any signs of improvement despite returning virtually every starter from a year ago.||D-|
|Chip Lindsey||5-7||Troy had double-digit wins in three straight seasons before Lindsey drove it into a ditch. This type of season should never happen.||D-|
|Walt Bell||1-11||The Minutemen allowed 52.7 points per game. That's unacceptable.||F|
|Gary Andersen||7-5||Quarterback Jordan Love didn't exactly have a ton of weapons, but Andersen should have at least put them in division title contention.||C+|
|Tyson Helton||8-4||From three wins to eight wins and a win at an SEC school will work ... even if that SEC school is Arkansas.||A-|
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