Coaching Staff Rankings

The 2021 coaching staff rankings have been developed using a more advanced formula than past seasons, utilizing the wealth of detail in the proprietary McIllece Sports Coaching Database.

Now, each coach is rated relative to the baseline talent level of his team in a given season. For rating the 2021 coaching staffs, each coach’s current coaching position determines his relevant history for rating. For example, if someone was once a head coach but is now an offensive coordinator (e.g., Bill O’Brien at Alabama), only his past offensive units are included for his 2021 rating, and only that relevant history is included in the overall staff rating for the team.

Roster Development is the staff’s average difference in game-by-game win probability compared to what would be expected given their four-year composite recruiting levels. This metric accounts for talent evaluation compared to recruiting services, roster retention and development, and game-planning and game management.

Staff Percentile is the Roster Development percentage converted to a [0,100] national percentile. Staff Grade is based on national percentile. Due to a slight asymmetry in letter grades, C+ is considered average.

Staff FBS Experience is the number of seasons of combined FBS experience on the 2021 staff over the years 2005 through 2020.

Equal-Talent Win% is the staff’s average (expected) win probability against a team with equal talent (i.e., equal four-year composite recruiting) on a neutral field. This is computed as Roster Development plus 50 percent.

Since this rating system is relative to recruiting levels, it does not give credit to coaching staffs for being historically good recruiters. This is a debatable approach, but we chose it because recruiting rankings are readily available for all teams before a season begins. What a staff does with the talent on hand seems to be a better indicator of their actual coaching/development abilities.

Note: Not all 2021 coaching staffs are complete (or completely listed on official sources) as of this ranking.

To work with the data in spreadsheet form, download the linked spreadsheet. The download is free but requires MS Excel.