Now that the Mike Riley era at Nebraska is over, let’s take a look at some of the big hires of that cycle. It’s always interesting to look back and see how the coaches that in theory were available to Nebraska that year have turned out at their schools. In hindsight, the coach that most everyone figured would be in the national championship hunt by now hasn’t even come close (Harbaugh) and a throwaway hire seems to be a perfect fit at his school (Chryst).
Back in the 2015-16 coaching cycle, Herman was hired as the head coach at Houston. He was coming off a successful run as the offensive coordinator for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. You have to count his time at Houston as a success as he went 22-4 overall in his two seasons. Herman parlayed that into one of the best jobs in America and is now the Texas head coach.
There hasn’t been a coach in recent memory with as much fanfare as Harbaugh has received during his time at Michigan. On the surface, his teams have been good and he is 28-10 overall in his three seasons in Ann Arbor. Dig a bit deeper and you will see he hasn’t finished better than third in the Big Ten East. It’s not time to panic about Harbaugh but it’s time to temper expectations.
When Florida hired McElwain away from Colorado State, it envisioned getting a hard-nosed coach who did a great job handling quarterbacks while at Alabama. Instead, they got the same offensive struggles that led to the firing of Will Muschamp. McElwain’s first two years were not bad. The Gators won the SEC East two years in a row before the wheels came off this season, culminating in his allegations that he received death threats. He’s been fired and Florida has turned to Dan Mullen to bring the program back.
Narduzzi came to Pitt after his time at Michigan State as one of the best defensive coordinators in the country. In his time with the Panthers, he led them to back-to-back 8-5 seasons before having a down year in 2017 going 5-7. His star has dulled some, but going to two bowls in three years is no small feat for a rebuilding Pitt program.
It may be controversial but in my mind, Chryst was the best hire in the 2015 coaching cycle. He doesn’t get the attention of fellow Big Ten coach Jim Harbaugh but he’s won bigger than Harbaugh has. Chryst has never won fewer than 10 games in his time at Wisconsin and currently has his team ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Badgers have dominated the Big Ten West during his time, only losing twice in three years within the division with both of those losses coming in year one.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.