Might as well call it the best of the next generation. A few years ago, CBS Sports had the idea of ranking the best coaches under the age of 45. The age seemed like a good place to draw the line. The average of age of the 130 coaches coming into the 2022 season is about 50 years old. In other words, the guys you see below are just coming into their prime.
The top 10 winningest coaches in college football average 50.5 years of age. The next 10 are 49.7 years. So, behold that next generation. Of the 29 new coaches hired this offseason, the average age is 43. Twelve of the 29 new head coaches are first-timers in the position, while eight of those 12 are under 45.
Through these hallowed column inches have passed the likes of Kirby Smart and Lane Kiffin. Both are now 46, aging out of consideration in 2021. This year, it’s Auburn’s Bryan Harsin and Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell (both 45) who no longer qualify.
Replacing them are Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz and Toledo’s Jason Candle, the latter of whom is the only Group of Five coach on the list.
The top two remain unchanged, though one is in a new job. Both missed the College Football Playoff after creating an annual expectation that their teams will play for the national championship. However, the No. 1 name on the list didn’t miss the brass ring, becoming reportedly the highest paid coach after a shocking move across the country.
Records listed below are at their current coaching stop unless otherwise indicated.
1. Lincoln Riley (38), USC
55-10 (.846) in five seasons at Oklahoma: Only Riley could make Oklahoma a steppingstone job. (Just kidding … I think.) After four Big 12 titles and three College Football Playoff appearances in five seasons, Riley sought a new challenge in Southern…