College football has rightfully become a more player-centric sport in recent years, thanks to the transfer portal and NIL. But the spotlight is never far from the coaches, especially as the season winds down and awards week nears.
It's time to recognize the top coaching performances around the sport for 2023. I have always tried to take a holistic approach toward evaluating coaches, especially for end-of-season recognition. Awards shouldn't only go to coaches whose teams overachieved. It's ridiculous that no Ohio State coach won Big Ten coach of the year between Earle Bruce in 1979 and Ryan Day in 2019. Just because Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer oversaw teams packed with talent didn't mean they had little to no influence on the overall performance. Both should have won the award at least once.
Then again, coaches who help teams significantly overcome their preseason outlooks often deserve more credit. Factors such as off-field adversity, injuries and other roster changes, and schedule and conference depth go into evaluating coaches.
Like most, this season created some difficult choices in most leagues, namely the Pac-12. There also were some obvious picks, like UNLV's Barry Odom in the Mountain West.
Below you'll find my coach of the year selections, runners-up and rationale for all 10 conferences. I also included a short section in each Power 5 league to shout out the top coordinators.