Why trend of college football coaches bolting to NFL, taking lesser job titles has no end in sight

At the end of his sixth season as a head coach, Mike Locksley had dutifully led Maryland to a third consecutive bowl game. His quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, had become the Big Ten’s all-time passing leader. The last time the Terrapins had won more Big Ten games in a season was 2010.

Locksley had delivered on some level making Maryland relevant again, and yet, he questioned whether he could continue coaching.

“I’ve been doing this 33, 34 years, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I have the energy for this,'” he told CBS Sports. “… I felt burned out.”

Locksley, 54, is in the prime of his coaching career, yet the conclusion he nearly reached this offseason is a sentiment shared by a growing number of FBS coaches.

Evidence came in droves this offseason amid the latest turn of the coaching carousel. Among the 31 FBS head coaching changes this offseason, some of the moves are unprecedented, and really, hard to explain.

Coaches leave for the NFL. Head coaches leave for better college head coaching opportunities. They do not leave at this rate, in this fashion across a single offseason.

Coaches are more frequently making lateral moves and taking lesser job titles, sometimes leaving millions of dollars on the table either to escape college football or take less-stressful roles.

“The most difficult job in all team sports is being head football coach at a major university,” long-time agent Leigh Steinberg told CBS Sports. “Think about how they have to recruit 17-year-old talent, project where they’re going to be. There is NIL to deal with. … You have to deal with administration, alums, the press. There are whole levels of complication a pro coach doesn’t have to deal with.”

That only begins to explain how the job has changed three years…


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