Every year it seems there is at least one or two head coaching openings in SEC football that come available. The picture of what opportunities specifically will come available tend to become clearer as the season goes on.
Pre-season, there’s always predictions of teams records, and off of that trying to project what teams and coaches will have openings based off of this at the end of the season. These are never 100% accurate, and often times these openings come up at different schools for different reasons than initially projected. Nonetheless, it’s an endless projection that’s always intriguing for many to think about.
Here is the number of head coaching openings by season since 2013 in the SEC:
- 2013 – 4
- 2014 – 1
- 2015 – 1
- 2016 – 3
- 2017 – 5
- 2018 – 4
- 2019 – 1
- 2020 – 4
- 2021 – 4
- 2022 – 3
- 2023 – 2
This averages out to 2.9 head coaching openings per year in the SEC. As we sit through seven weeks of the 2023 season, Arkansas appears to be the most, and may be the only opportunity to change over based on poor performance. Mississippi State has had a weak season thus far under new head coach Zach Arnett, but Arnett is in his first season at the school. So if the Bulldogs do end up not finishing strong, this should buy him some more time.
So on the surface, one could be the number. Keep in mind however, there is the never-ending coaching carousel outside of SEC football, and not limited just to the collegiate level but the NFL as well. These could all altar the number of head coaching opportunities that come available in the SEC as well.
Who are some potential new SEC football head coaches in 2024?
Regardless of the number of openings, there is always an “A-list” of next potential head coaches in the SEC.
HERE IS MY LIST OF TOP FIVE NEW POTENTIAL SEC HEAD COACHES FOR 2024
1. Deion Sanders: Deion’s career began as an All-American defensive back at Florida State in the 80’s. From there Sanders had a hall of fame NFL career and then transitioned into coaching taking over as head coach of Jackson State University in 2020. Sanders led Jackson State for three seasons turning them into a SWAC powerhouse with a combined record of 27-6 in three seasons at the school. This propelled Sanders to his first head coaching job at the FBS level where he’s led the Colorado Buffaloes to a surprising 4-3 record so far this season in a year many had them pegged to have less than two wins after a roster turnover of more than 80 players.
2. Jeff Lebby: Jeff Lebby is the current offensive coordinator for the Oklahoma Sooners, after previous stops with the same role at UCF and then Ole Miss. Lebby is known for his high-powered offenses. That combined with his SEC football experience makes him a viable candidate for an open head coaching job.
3. Liam Coen: Liam Coen is the offensive coordinator for the University of Kentucky. Coen held this role in 2021 where he led the Wildcats to 32.3 points per game which was fifth in the country. Coen took a one year hiatus for the NFL, but has returned to the Wildcats this season and has them clicking on offense again. Coen’s strong reputation and SEC football experience make him a viable candidate.
4. Glenn Schumann: Glenn Schumann has been an assistant coach at the University of Georgia since 2017 under Kirby Smart who brought him along from Alabama when Smart took the job at his alma mater. After the 2019 season, Schumann was recently promoted to co-defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs where he coaches alongside Will Muschamp. The Bulldogs defense is among the nation’s best year in and year out. This combined with Schumann’s experience under Smart makes him a prime candidate for an SEC head coaching position. Click here for even more information on Glenn Schumann’s background and potential future scenarios.
5. Lance Leipold: Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold began his head coaching career at the FCS level as the head coach of the University of Buffalo Bulls. Leipold turned a 5-7 2015 Bulls team in his first season into a MAC contender, leading them to three straight winning seasons between 2018 and 2020. The abrupt exit of previous Jayhawks head coach Les Miles late in the off season elevated Leipold to his next head coaching opportunity at the University of Kansas. The Jayhawks hadn’t seen a six win season since 2009. Leipold changed that quickly leading the Jayhawks to a 6-7 record and a bowl game in his second season at the school in 2022. He’s off to a 5-1 start in 2023 and has the Jayhawks clicking again. Turning around two programs – one at a non-power five and one and a power five level can’t help but impress folks. Most head coaching openings in the SEC would be more prominent than a head coaching position at Kansas, so don’t be surprised if schools seriously consider Leipold.
While the list could go on and on, these are who I see as the top viable options for a head coaching position in the SEC in the near future. Again, many variables here such as school, expectations, salary, etc. Nonetheless, it definitely gives something of intrigue to think about!