The Big Ten has featured 21 coordinator changes in the past two years, but only two of them, Paul Chryst and Carl Pelini, left immediately for head-coaching positions elsewhere.
Chryst, the former Wisconsin offensive coordinator, took the Pitt job following the 2011 season, while Pelini, the Nebraska defensive coordinator, left his brother Bo for the lead position at Florida Atlantic. Although nine Big Ten coordinators left or were removed from their posts after the 2012 season, none ended up as head coaches elsewhere.
Who's the next Big Ten coordinator to land a FBS head-coaching job? Colleague Travis Haney surveyed the national landscape in a recent story and listed 13 coordinators who could make the jump to top jobs. Two Big Ten coaches made Haney's top-5: Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman at No. 4 and Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi at No. 5.
Haney writes of Herman:
I was talking recently to a coach in Texas, and he raved about Herman's potential as a head coach. He thinks Herman, who is just 37, is one of the sharpest offensive minds in college football.
"I love being around him," he said. "He puts things in a way that you haven't thought of them before."
Pair that with the fact that he is learning on the job from Urban Meyer, and it shouldn't be too long before Herman has his own program.
Haney writes of Narduzzi:
Michigan State might have been a disappointment this past season, but don't hold that against Narduzzi and the team's defense. The Spartans were first in the Big Ten and fifth in the country in defensive yards per play (4.37). They gave up just 16.3 points a game, also first in the conference. Narduzzi is a charismatic fellow who is more than capable of leading a program.
Both Herman and Narduzzi are good choices to make the jump. Herman is extremely sharp and has the personality to succeed as a head coach. Narduzzi has built Michigan State into a nationally elite defense. While some see his fiery nature as risky in a more public role, he's extremely popular with players and can energize a fan base. I'd be surprised if these two are in their current positions three years from now.
Two other Big Ten coordinators who should soon be head coaches are Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck. Fickell stepped in as Buckeyes coach in 2011 after Jim Tressel's departure, and while there are some lingering questions about his coaching ability, he has an excellent chance to prove himself this year as Ohio State loses most of its front seven, including Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year John Simon. The 39-year-old is an excellent recruiter and a charismatic personality who should be able to be selective about jobs.
Beck has boosted Nebraska's offense in two years as coordinator and received a significant pay raise during the offseason. A former high school head coach in Texas, Beck could transition well to a lead role in several areas of the country.
Who else is on the radar for head-coaching jobs? Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers served as North Carolina's interim coach in 2011 and could be in the mix for a top job at some point. I've heard a lot of great things about Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, a nominee for the Broyles Award in 2012. Penn State defensive coordinator John Butler and Indiana offensive coordinator Seth Littrell are dynamic up-and-coming assistants to watch.
Who do you think is the next Big Ten coordinator to land a head-coaching position?