College Football's Top Assistant Coach Hires for 2012

Mike Stoops is back at Oklahoma - and that's a good thing for the Sooners.

The college football coaching carousel wasn't just busy among head coaches, as the assistant ranks saw plenty of changes as well. Changing coordinators or hiring a key positional coach can have a big impact on any team.

Athlon takes a look at the top coordinator hires for 2012:

Chuck Amato 
Defensive Coordinator, Akron

It’s not often that a school like Akron has an opportunity to bring in a coach with as much experience as Amato. The long-time Florida State defensive coordinator and one-time head coach at NC State has been out of coaching the past two seasons.

Matt Canada 
Offensive Coordinator, Wisconsin

Highly respected offensive coach returns to the Big Ten after spending the 2011 season as the coordinator at Northern Illinois. Prior to that, he was at Indiana, his alma mater, for seven seasons.

Jeff Casteel 
Defensive Coordinator, Arizona

Casteel heads out West after 11 years at West Virginia, the last 10 as the Mountaineers’ defensive coordinator. He worked for new Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez at WVU from 2001-07.

Billy Gonzales 
Co-Offensive Coordinator, Illinois

Regarded as a great recruiter, Gonzales spent the previous seven seasons in the SEC, two at LSU and five at Florida. He has nine years of experience working for Urban Meyer.

Tom Herman 
Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State

Rising star in the coaching world comes to Ohio State after a three-year stop as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Iowa State. Urban Meyer likely will call the plays, but Herman will be a key part of the Buckeyes’ staff.

Kliff Kingsbury 
Offensive Coordinator, Texas A&M

The first of Mike Leach’s record-setting quarterbacks at Texas Tech is one of the top young assistants in the game. He comes to College Station after a three-year stop at Houston.

Vic Koenning 
Defensive Coordinator, North Carolina

Well-traveled coordinator (and one-time head coach at Wyoming) lands at North Carolina after a two-year stop at Illinois. Has also been the defensive coordinator at Kansas State, Clemson, Troy and Wyoming.

Doug Martin 
Offensive Coordinator, Boston College

Martin, the former head coach at Kent State, did a tremendous job in his only season as the offensive coordinator at New Mexico State. The Aggies’ production improved from 15.7 points and 296.5 yards in 2010 to 24.5 and 398.1 in ’11.

Tyrone Nix
Defensive Coordinator, Middle Tennessee

Nix, a former defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, South Carolina and Ole Miss, is charged with turning around a defense that gave up 441.1 yards and 36.8 points per game in 2011.

Mike Nesbitt
Offensive Coordinator, Houston

A former punter at New Mexico, Nesbitt spent the 2011 season as the offensive coordinator at Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks ranked ninth in the FCS in total offense and 10th in scoring offense.

Paul Petrino 
Offensive Coordinator, Arkansas

Petrino returns to Fayetteville after a two-year stop as the offensive coordinator at Illinois. And now that his brother is no longer the boss at Arkansas, Petrino will have an opportunity to call the plays.

Nick Rolovich 
Offensive Coordinator, Nevada

Rolovich, a former quarterback at Hawaii (2000-01), had been on the staff at his alma mater since 2008, the last three years as the offensive coordinator. He is now in the charge of the Wolf Pack’s Pistol offense.

Mark Snyder 
Defensive Coordinator, Texas A&M

Snyder’s run as the head coach at Marshall didn’t go too well (22–37, 2005-09), but he is a quality defensive coordinator who was on Jim Tressel’s staff at Ohio State from 2001-04.

Mike Stoops 
Defensive Coordinator, Oklahoma

Stoops returns to Oklahoma to serve on his brother’s staff after an eight-year run as the head coach at Arizona. The Sooners were 33–7 in the Big 12 during his first go-round in Norman, when he shared coordinator duties with Brent Venables. 

Chris Tormey 
Defensive Coordinator, Wyoming

Most recently the linebackers coach at Washington State, Tormey has nine years of experience as a head coach — Idaho (1995-99) and Nevada (2000-03). He is a perfect fit in Laramie.

Brian VanGorder
Defensive Coordinator, Auburn

VanGorder returns to the SEC after a seven-year absence. The former Georgia defensive coordinator spent the past five years with the Atlanta Falcons. He has plenty of talent to work with at Auburn.

Brent Venables 
Defensive Coordinator, Clemson

The Sooners’ defense wasn’t quite as formidable in recent seasons, but Venables has a great track record after more than a decade on Bob Stoops’ staff.

Justin Wilcox 
Defensive Coordinator, Washington

Rising star in the coaching ranks returns to the Pacific Northwest after a two-year stint as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee. Oregon grad previously served on Chris Petersen’s staff at Boise State. He has a big job: The Huskies were brutal on defense in 2011.

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