Mike Jinks' head should be spinning.
Less than four years ago, Jinx was coaching at a Texas high school on the outskirts of San Antonio. Three-and-half years ago, he was hired to become Texas Tech's running backs coach. Slightly more than 18 months ago, he was named associate head coach for the Red Raiders.
Seven months ago he became a first-time FBS head coach at Bowling Green. Experience? In the big-time world of college football, his amounts to nearly zero. Jinks is believed to be the only FBS head coach without prior head coaching or coordinator experience at the FBS or FCS level.
"I don't have an answer to that," Jinks said. "I'm glad it did [happen]."
That puts the 44-year-old coach on one extreme end of a hiring trend this year. He is one of 19 coaches going into their first full season as an FBS head coach. That's the most in at least 20 years.
On the other end are the likes of Illinois' Lovie Smith, a 20-year NFL coaching veteran, and Kirby Smart, who lugs four championship rings to Georgia.
Jinks? Mostly a high school lifer who caught the brass ring when Bowling Green called.
"It was out of nowhere," he told reporters in the spring. "I didn't have an agent. I wasn't actively pursuing head coaching positions, definitely not 1,500 miles from Texas."
The road to northwestern Ohio wasn't exactly paved for Jinks. In fact, none of it would have happened if not for Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury's father, Tim, a long-time coach at New Braunfels High School in Texas. For seven years, Jinks had coached at nearby Cibolo Steele High School, winning a state title in 2010.
At the time Texas Tech called in 2013, Jinks had coached 104 high school games (winning 79). That basically made him a face in the crowd. The difference was a personality that allowed him to at least introduce himself to every schoolboy coach in the state.
Jinks, after all, had been one of them for 17 years.
"I'm convinced," Jinks said humbly, "Kliff's dad made him do it."
"My dad just kind of followed Mike's career," Kliff Kingsbury said. "When I got to be an assistant coach at Houston, that was my recruiting area. His school was my school.
"I was always so impressed. I would always go in and watch his team, the way they carried themselves, the way they introduced themselves. His personality, I was sold."
Kingsbury made a mental note: If he ever got to be a head coach, Jinks would be on the staff. It happened in 2013 when Kingsbury, then only 33, was hired as the next big thing in Lubbock, Texas, the Big 12 and college football.
"I knew he could have been a head coach anywhere and wanted him to know I recognized that," Kingsbury said. "If there was something I couldn't get to, he would handle it. With the players, he's as genuine as anyone I've seen. He wants to make you go run through a wall."
The road twists further. When Dino Babers left Bowling Green for Syracuse in December, then-Bowling Green athletic direcotr Chris Kingston began searching the internet.
Kingston already had become somewhat of a savant for identifying Babers. The AD hired the up-and-coming coach after he had taken Eastern Illinois to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 1989.
Babers' offenses have never run fewer than 1,000 plays in a season, averaging 82.7 per game. Kingston wanted a clone. Texas Tech has averaged 82.4 plays and finished in the top 10 in total offense each of Kingsbury's three seasons.
"If I hadn't grasped the system or been any help to him the last three years, he would have told me," Jinks said.
Kingston spent Sundays after games reviewing potential coaching candidates. When Babers left, the AD looked up the top 10 offenses and what made them click. He settled on Texas Tech's running backs coach.
"He started reaching out to everybody -- my principal, the AD at [Cibolo Steele]," Jinks recalled. "I had no clue. I'm on the road. Kliff calls me, 'You probably need to get with your wife and talk about Bowling Green. They're really interested in you.'"
Complicating matters, Kingston left for a job out of the profession four months after hiring Jinks.
The Falcons will keep the same philosophy: up-tempo, always moving. As Texas Tech's associate head coach, "I no longer had a recruiting area," Jinks added. "Basically, I was Kliff. The guys that we wanted, I was there."
With only a few days to recruit, Jinks assembled a 15-player class that was ranked in the middle of the MAC, according to the 247Sports Composite.
"We have a good number of [returning] kids on our field right now that could play in the Big 12," Jinks said.
He enters the MAC, a traditional trampoline to the big time. A quarter of the FBS head coaches (32 of 128) have at least assistant coach experience with the current 13 schools that comprise the MAC.
Jinks will immediately find out about that MAC trampoline. He'll call his first college play in the opener on Sept. 3 at Ohio State against former Falcons coach Urban Meyer (2001-02).
There's also an obvious three-way link between Jinks, Kingsbury and former Baylor coach Art Briles. All three are native Texans. Jinks and Briles moved on from being Texas Tech's running backs coach to their first college head coaching jobs.
Kingsbury (2008-11 as an assistant) followed Briles (2003-07, head coach) at Houston.
"I knew it was possible," Jinks said of this moment. "I was in no rush. I felt very loyal to Coach Kingsbury."
Until his head started spinning.