You might recall last December that the Pac-12 got raided hard by other conferences looking for new coaches.
In a few short weeks, the league said goodbye to: ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell (Memphis), Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost (UCF), Oregon State defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake (BYU), and Washington defensive line coach and special-teams coordinator Jeff Choate (Montana State).
Plus, USC offensive coordinator Clay Helton was officially elevated to head coach, making it six coaches/coordinators to take head coaching positions between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The last coordinator to leave the conference was Derek Mason in 2014 (Vanderbilt), so the league was due for a good poaching.
Could we see it again? It probably won’t happen after 2016 -- at least not at the scale we saw before. But here are a few coordinators to keep an eye on. Because the rest of the college football world is doing just that.
Lance Anderson, defensive coordinator, Stanford
His roots in Stanford’s philosophies run deep -- dating back to his time with Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw at the University of San Diego. Both followed Harbaugh to Stanford and, you know the rest of the story. He was widely rumored (if you believe such things) to be the favorite for the BYU job but (depending on who you believe) was either offered and turned it down, or was never offered … or was never a serious candidate. No team in the FBS has more sacks over the past four seasons than Stanford (181) and Anderson was the defensive coordinator for two of those and coached the outside linebackers the other two. He’s got Power 5 credentials if the right job comes around.
Mike Bloomgren, offensive coordinator, Stanford
Would it surprise you to know that Stanford has the nation’s longest streak of games with 30-plus points? Sure, having Christian McCaffrey helps. But it goes beyond “power right” 50 times to No. 5. He helped groom Kevin Hogan, has shaped multiple 1,000-yard backs and has overseen offensive lines that generally rate among the best in the country. He has NFL pedigree (New York Jets from 2007-10) and strong recruiting ties in Florida, Georgia, and Southern California. He won't make a lateral move. But like Anderson, for the right Power 5 program, he’d get a hard look.
Alex Grinch, defensive coordinator, Washington State
The one-year turnaround with the Cougars' defense was staggering. Under Grinch's watch, they shaved nearly 11 points per game off their scoring defense (38.6 in 2014 vs. 27.7 last season) and went from the league’s No. 10 red zone defense to No. 2. They also forced 13 more turnovers in 2015 (24) than the previous year (11). He’s already had some success in the SEC. Add stopping Pac-12 offenses to his resume and teams will come calling sooner than later.
Pete Kwiatkowski, defensive coordinator, Washington
He cut his teeth in two stints at Boise State and for a few years at the FCS level. Most recently, he helped dethrone Stanford -- which had been the league’s No. 1 scoring defense for three straight seasons -- and put the Huskies atop the conference by yielding an average of 18.8 points per game. Oh yeah, he did that after losing five starters to the NFL. He may have hitched his wagon to Chris Petersen for the long haul. And who could blame him? The pair have enjoyed a great deal of success between Boise State and Washington. But should he opt to test the waters, his resume would draw a fair amount of suitors.
Chip Lindsey, offensive coordinator, Arizona State
We’re basing this more on precedent than anything. The chances of Lindsay being one-and-done in Tempe are slim. He’s got a pretty big rebuilding job, breaking in a new quarterback and offensive line. But we’re pegging him early as a guy to watch because head coach Todd Graham has a very strong history of sending coordinators off to run their own program. Among those formerly working for Graham: Gus Malzhan (Auburn), Chad Morris (SMU), Norvell (Memphis), David Beaty (Kansas), and Bill Blankenship (Tulsa). That’s five former assistants in 11 years for Graham who are now head coaches. The odds are in Lindsey’s favor.
Tee Martin, offensive coordinator, USC
He’s finally getting a chance to run his own offense. And he’s got some pretty good weapons to work with. Martin had tremendous success with the Trojans’ wide receivers -- coaching Marqise Lee to the Biletnikoff Award and Nelson Agholor to becoming a first-round NFL draft pick. Also, Robert Woods was a second-round draft pick under Martin’s watch. AD’s will probably give him a couple of seasons as a coordinator before diving all-in. But if he replicates that production on a grander scale, don’t be surprised to see him emerge as one of the hottest names in coaching.