Thirty-one FBS programs made a change at head coach last year. After week seven, just seven of these coaches have led their team to a winning record. Overall, programs with new coaches have a winning percentage of just 40% this season. Let's take a look at some coaches who are having an immediate impact on their programs....
Gary Anderson, Wisconsin (4-2)
Wisconsin has gone to the Rose Bowl three straight times so this wasn't exactly a sinking ship that Anderson took over, but Wisconsin did have their worst season since 2008 last year as they won just eight games. Anderson came up on the defensive side of the football and at Utah State he really turned that program around. At Wisconsin, that's the biggest difference he's made as the Badgers are giving up a Big Ten leading 13.2 ppg and have surrendered just nine TDs in six games (they rank sixth in the Nation in scoring defense). The Badgers have started off with a controversial two point loss to Arizona State and a seven point loss to a top-five Ohio State team. This past weekend they took Northwestern to the woodshed. The schedule shapes up nicely for the Badgers for the rest of the year and while they will likely miss out on a BCS bowl game they could slip back to the Rose Bowl if Ohio State plays it's way into the National Championship Game.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn (5-1)
Malzahn was at Auburn from 2009 to 2011 as the Offensive Coordinator so he stepped into a familiar situation coaching a lot of players that he helped recruit. Since the 2010 National Championship season, the Tigers slowly began to quit on Gene Chizik and it culminated in the Tigers going 3-9 (and 0-8 in the SEC) last year. Like Anderson, Malzahn didn't inherit a team void of talent but he had to do a lot to change the culture of this team and get them to believe that they can compete. One big change was bringing in Ellis Johnson, after a disastrous year as head coach at Southern Mississippi, to run the defense and right now Auburn is allowing just 18.8 ppg. Malzahn has the Tigers winning the games they are supposed to win and they've even beat a top 25 team in Ole Miss. The schedule still has A&M, Georgia and Alabama but Malzahn has Auburn headed in the right direction and back to a bowl.
Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech (6-0)
In one of the strangest coaching changes of the off-season, Texas Tech's Tommy Tuberville reportedly left in the middle of a recruiting dinner and headed for Cincinnati. The Red Raiders grabbed Texas A&M Offensive Coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, just 34, and so far it's worked out very well. Kingsbury played for Texas Tech and he coached under Kevin Sumlin so he seemed like a naturally fit of a local guy who runs the type of offense that's been successful in Lubbock. Through six games, it's worked out perfectly. With conference victories over TCU (ranked #24 at the time), Kansas and Iowa State, the tough part of the schedule lies ahead of the Red Raiders but Kingsbury has them playing some good football and the future looks bright.
Mark Helfrich, Oregon (6-0)
With Chip Kelly gone many thought that the glue that held this Oregon team together would go with it. Helfrich worked under Kelly as his Offensive Coordinator from 2009 to 2012 and he hasn't tried to reinvent the wheel since Kelly left. Helfrich has made some tweaks to the offense and it will be interesting to see how it plays out when the schedule ramps up. Helfrich has passed an early test at Washington but still has several tough games coming up before the end of the year. So far, staying in house for this hire looks like a great decision. Will Helfrich help Oregon get to heights that Kelly was unable to reach before he left for the lure of the NFL?
Steve Addazio, Boston College (3-3)
As the Offensive Coordinator for Florida, Addazio was the butt of many jokes. Then he was hired at Temple to be their head coach and many scratched their heads. He went 13-11 at Temple although struggling when they made the jump to the now defunct Big East in 2012. This year, he's at Boston College and so far he's making a very positive impact. Under Frank Spaziani, the Eagles win total decreased every year. With Addazio, he's already surpassed last years win total in just half the season. He's also played FSU and Clemson tight losing by an average of just 12 points to those two teams (last year they lost to FSU by 44). The offense is scoring six more points per game this season and two of those reasons are improved execution in the red zone and a much better turnover margin. Addazio brings a lot of enthusiasm, a great recruiting acumen and accountability for his players. It will be interesting to watch and see how BC does with Addazio over the next few years, especially given that they are in the tougher Atlantic division of the ACC.