The MAC has a long and proud history of sending its head coaches on to bigger jobs. But even this season is a bit unusual in its attrition rate.
Three of the top coaches in the league have left for jobs at automatic qualifying conferences in the past few weeks, more than at any time in the past five seasons. Miami (Ohio) coach Mike Haywood became the latest to leave Wednesday, moving on to Pittsburgh. Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill (Minnesota) and former Temple coach Al Golden (Miami) have also left.
Last season, the league lost two coaches to AQ jobs -- Butch Jones went from Central Michigan to Cincinnati, while Turner Gill went from Buffalo to Kansas. That means former MAC coaches are in the Big East, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12.
There will be at least five new head coaches in the league once again. Kent State is looking to replace Doug Martin, who resigned, while Ball State fired Stan Parrish. There were also five new coaches to start the 2009 season. But only one coach went on to a job at a bigger school -- Brady Hoke left Ball State at the end of 2008 for San Diego State.
In fact, the last four winners of the MAC Coach of the Year Award are now gone: Gill in 2007, Hoke in 2008, Golden in 2009 and Haywood in 2010.
Several other coaches have left the MAC in recent years for bigger schools -- the late Terry Hoeppner left Miami (Ohio) in 2005 for Indiana, Urban Meyer coached at Bowling Green, Brian Kelly coached at Central Michigan and Gary Pinkel and Nick Saban both were head coaches at Toledo. Miami (Ohio) is, of course, known as the Cradle of Coaches.
With all the movement, Ohio coach Frank Solich and Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit will be the most experienced MAC coaches going into 2011. Both are headed into their seventh seasons.
As for the college football landscape, no other league will have more new head coaches than the MAC. The Sun Belt is the only one that comes close, with three.