College head coaches with NFL experience

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) When Illinois hired Lovie Smith this spring he became just the sixth current coach at the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision schools to also have been in charge of an NFL team. Some facts and figures about the relatively rare major college coaches who have NFL coaching experience.

- There are only two dozen current Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches with experience on an NFL staff of any kind. That's less than 19 percent of the 128 FBS head coaches.

- NFL experience appears to improve the odds for minority coaches to take over at major colleges. Including Smith, five of the 24 head coaches with pro experience, 21 percent, are minorities (all are black). Among those 128 FBC head coaches, 14 are minorities, or 11 percent.

- Alabama's Nick Saban, with five national titles, is the gold standard among college coaches. But his two years leading the Miami Dolphins ended with a 15-17 record. Saban, in a 2015 interview with the Golf Channel, explained why college football is a better fit for him.

''I like college football better because being a good recruiter, you create an advantage for yourself because you can recruit as many good players as you can get to come, and you're not restricted by free agency or salary cap or draft picks and all that type of stuff.''

- When Steve Spurrier made the move from perennial national title contender at Florida to NFL coach in Washington in 2002, much was made of his relatively laid-back approach. He played golf during the season, unheard of among his new pro colleagues, and he didn't sleep in his office.

''Sometimes you can stay in your office too long,'' he said at the time .

Spurrier went 12-20 in two seasons, then walked away before heading back to college football at South Carolina. He retired last year.

- Among current FBS head coaches with NFL experience only as assistants, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, LSU's Les Miles and Stanford's David Shaw are the most successful. Between them they've won 68 percent of their well over 400 games.

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AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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