College coaches who successfully made the leap to the NFL

City Meyer is the newest faculty coach to aim an NFL replication of his earlier success. He wouldn’t be the primary one. The Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame options a number of faculty leaders who made the leap, and the NFL has seen others succeed as effectively. Listed here are the highest coaches who transitioned from the faculty ranks.

 

Paul Brown

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Having established a repute as a successful highschool and faculty coach in Ohio, the latter run at Ohio State, Brown turned one of many NFL’s most essential figures. Launching the Browns as a part of the All-American Soccer Convention in 1946, Brown ushered in superior movie examine, play-calling, and a bunch of different improvements that moved soccer ahead. In Brown’s first 10 years as Cleveland’s coach, the group made 10 championship video games and gained seven titles — together with two wins over Cleveland’s former group (the Rams). After Artwork Modell fired Brown in 1963, he launched the Bengals and coached them for eight seasons (three playoff berths).

 

Pete Carroll

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Carroll loved a notable NFL life earlier than Seattle. He coached the Jets and Patriots for a mixed 4 seasons. However Carroll’s nine-season USC keep immersed him within the faculty sport, offering a rebirth that carried over to his third NFL act. The 2-time nationwide champion has guided the Seahawks to their franchise peak. He and GM John Schneider assembled one of many Twenty first century’s greatest roster nuclei, and the Russell Wilson- and Legion of Increase-driven groups have been one play-calling mistake from back-to-back titles. The defensive guru has saved the Seahawks an upper-echelon outfit, regardless of roster turnover, within the years since.

 

Potsy Clark

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A head coach at Kansas in a 10-plus-year faculty teaching profession, Clark took over the Portsmouth Spartans of their second yr of existence (1931). At 37, Clark guided the Spartans (later the Lions) to an 11-3 season. After dropping to the Bears within the strangest championship sport in NFL historical past — on a makeshift 60-yard discipline inside because of climate — the next yr, the Spartans turned the Lions. Potsy and Corridor of Famer Dutch Clark led the Lions to their first title in 1935, when the group routed the Giants. Potsy Clark went 64-42-12 in 10 professional seasons.

 

Chuck Fairbanks

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Fairbanks’ Patriots tenure didn’t finish effectively, however he elevated the group into an AFC contender by the mid-Nineteen Seventies. Fairbanks left Oklahoma to educate the Pats in 1973. By 1976, they went 11-3. An extended-debated roughing the passer name helped spoil a Pats divisional-round upset over the Raiders, however they returned to the playoffs two seasons later. The 1978 Patriots set a group speeding report that lasted till Lamar Jackson’s MVP yr, however Fairbanks (46-39 within the NFL) dedicated to educate Colorado late that season. That resulted in a Week 16 suspension and authorized squabble between the Pats and the then-Huge 8 faculty.

 

Jim Harbaugh

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The fiery chief’s first teaching job got here with the Raiders underneath Invoice Callahan, however Harbaugh spent seven years as a university head coach in California. The 49ers’ trajectory radically shifted when the Stanford HC took over in 2011. Harbaugh revived Alex Smith’s profession and turned the 49ers from a group that missed the earlier eight playoff brackets into one among this century’s few squads to e book three straight championship-game berths. Some unhealthy breaks — Kyle Williams’ fumbles, Tremendous Bowl XLVII’s go interference no-call — denied the 49ers, and Harbaugh fell out of favor with group brass. However his four-year keep marked the group’s Twenty first-century apex.

 

Jim Lee Howell

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A Giants participant for eight seasons, Howell turned higher identified for his work as their coach within the Fifties. The World Battle II veteran didn’t have a dropping season in New York and assembled a preposterously gifted employees, hiring Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry as coordinators upon arrival in 1954. This crew restored the Giants to an NFL energy. The defense-driven squad routed the Bears for the 1956 title and made two extra championship appearances — losses to the Colts, the primary a fairly well-known sport. Howell’s .663 win proportion is the very best in Giants historical past. He’s not within the Corridor of Fame. 

 

Jimmy Johnson

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Though the Johnson-Jerry Jones period stopped at 5 years, creating a significant what-if, the ex-Miami Hurricanes championship-winning coach with great hair expertise made them depend. The Cowboys, who fell off their 20-year contender perch within the late ’80s, went from 1-15 in 1989 to within the 1990 playoff race — in an period when fast rises have been harder — to assembling a superpower. Johnson’s subsequent three years: 36-12, seven playoff wins, two Tremendous Bowl titles. The heart of the largely Johnson-built group later gained Tremendous Bowl XXX. Johnson’s Dolphins keep lacked dominance, however he took them to a few playoff berths and two divisional rounds in 4 seasons.

 

John McKay

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McKay left a 16-year tenure at USC, main the Trojans to a few nationwide titles, to helm the trendy NFL’s final fixer-upper. McKay began his Buccaneers tenure 0-26, together with his first Bucs group typically considered the worst in league historical past. McKay’s NFL report of 44-88-1 doesn’t scream success story, however the quotable head coach led the 1979 Bucs to the NFC Central crown — behind a No. 1-ranked protection — and convention championship sport. Two extra playoff berths adopted in a nine-year tenure extra remembered for losses, however McKay architecting the preliminary Bucs rebuild was fairly the accomplishment.

 

Greasy Neale

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Neale crafted one of many extra attention-grabbing careers in sports activities historical past, holding an outfield job with the Cincinnati Reds — a starter on their 1919 World Collection group — and moonlighting as a soccer coach. After his baseball profession resulted in 1924, Neale spent practically 20 years as a university coach. The Eagles employed him in 1941 and ascended to their franchise peak. Philly gained back-to-back championships underneath Neal, with Corridor of Famers Steve Van Buren and Pete Pihos main the way in which, and stays the one group to win consecutive titles by shutout — the primary in a legendary blizzard. Neale (63-43-5) additionally turned a Canton inductee. 

 

John Robinson

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One in every of McKay’s assistants additionally tried the NFL after a run at USC. After a profitable eight seasons in his first stint because the Trojans’ head coach, Robinson took a shot at main the NFC’s SoCal group in 1983. Robinson joined the NFC at a tough time, with the 49ers, Bears, Giants and Washington mounting iconic climbs. However his Rams have been within the combine. An offense-minded coach, Robinson guided disparately structured offenses — 1985’s Eric Dickerson-powered assault and 1989’s pass-heavy squad — to NFC championship video games. The Rams made six playoff berths in Robinson’s 9 seasons and gained 4 postseason video games.

 

Bobby Ross

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A brief-tenured Chiefs assistant, Ross was a 10-season faculty head coach from 1982-91. His Georgia Tech group shared the 1990 nationwide title with Colorado (lengthy stay the UPI ballot). Ross instantly reeled in an astray Chargers group. The ’92 Bolts stay the one group to go from 0-4 to the playoffs, and regardless of the group not having an A-lister quarterback (Stan Humphries), Ross had the Chargers of their first Tremendous Bowl two years later. Whereas Ross didn’t supply an identical turnaround in Detroit, his late-’90s Lions groups have been competent; they made the playoffs twice. After his 2001 firing, the Lions turned fairly unhealthy for a very long time.

 

Lou Saban

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Nick Saban’s father gained two AFL championships, steering the Payments to their zenith. After a three-year run at Western Illinois, Lou Saban’s profession detoured by Boston. The Patriots fired him throughout his second season (1961), however he caught on because the Payments’ head coach in 1962. Two years later, Buffalo halted Sid Gillman’s would-be dynasty and beat the Chargers in a championship rematch in 1965. The latter sport represents the newest time an AFL or NFL title occurred by way of shutout. Saban’s Broncos harm his report (95-99-7), however he returned to Buffalo and was there for O.J. Simpson’s run to stardom within the mid-’70s.

 

Buck Shaw

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The Eagles resurfaced as an influence underneath Shaw. Spending 20-plus years at Nevada, Santa Clara, and Cal, Shaw additionally landed at Air Power after being fired by the 49ers in 1954 — regardless of a 71-39-4 report in San Francisco. Shaw made his second likelihood depend, guiding the Eagles to probably the most important win in group historical past. Fifty-seven years earlier than Nick Foles shocked the Belichick-Brady empire, Shaw, Norm Van Brocklin, and Co. turned the one group to defeat Vince Lombardi’s Packers within the playoffs. Shaw solely coached the Eagles for 3 years, retiring on high alongside Van Brocklin. The keep proved eventful.

 

Hank Stram

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Recognized extra for memorable soundbites, Stram made an atypical soar to earn the job that carried him to the Corridor of Fame. By no means a university head coach, Stram parlayed two years at Notre Dame and one season at Miami into being the Dallas Texans’ first HC. Lamar Hunt’s rent led the franchise to the AFL title in 1962, and after they turned the Chiefs quickly after, Stram’s groups featured a storied expertise assortment. A six-Corridor of Famer protection dominated the favored Vikings in Tremendous Bowl IV, which got here after the Chiefs’ Tremendous Bowl I cameo. Stram struggled with the Saints, however his 15-year Texans/Chiefs run proved Corridor-worthy.

 

Barry Switzer

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Answerable for a number of the NFL’s most memorable teaching press conferences, Switzer is thought extra for his wishbone-fueled Oklahoma dominance. However the Cowboys tabbed the three-time Sooners nationwide champion to exchange Jimmy Johnson following his 1994 breakup with Jerry Jones. Whereas credit score for the Cowboys’ Tremendous Bowl XXX title usually eludes Switzer, who inherited a powerful group, the jovial chief went 45-26 in 4 seasons earlier than resigning. Johnson’s coordinators have been passed by 1995, and Switzer steered the Cowboys by some turmoil to assist the group safe its most up-to-date championship.

Sam Robinson is a Kansas Metropolis, Mo.-based author who principally writes concerning the NFL. He has lined sports activities for practically 10 years. Boxing, the Royals and Pandora stations that includes feminine rock protagonists are a few of his go-tos. Often attention-grabbing tweets @SRobinson25.

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