SALT LAKE CITY — It’s always good to go home, right?
That’s the premise of an angle Sports Illustrated took while evaluating the success of college football coaches who returned to lead their alma maters.
“While it can certainly be a valuable asset, alumni status doesn’t always equal success. Entering 2019, 16 FBS schools are coached by an alum; five finished in the AP Top 25 last season,” SI’s Laken Litman wrote. “It’s one of the more high risk/high reward opportunities in the college football coaching carousel.”
BYU’s Kalani Sitake and Utah State’s Mike Wells were among the coaches evaluated in this interesting piece. Others included Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Scott Frost (Nebraska), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Matt Luke (Ole Miss), Kirby Smart (Georgia), David Shaw (Stanford), Barry Odom (Missouri), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Jonathan Smith (Oregon State), Nick Rolovich (Hawaii), Tim Lester (Western Michigan), Jeff Tedford (Fresno State) and Troy Calhoun (Air Force).
Here’s what SI had to sayabout Sitake and Wells (who left USU for Texas Tech):
In his three years as head coach, Sitake has led the Cougars to a 20–19 record and two bowl victories. The 2017 season saw a concerning dip caused in part by a rash of injuries, but last year's impressive victories indicate the program may be moving in the right direction.
Wells, a former Utah State quarterback, said it was always going to take somewhere special for him to leave. After the three straight losing seasons that led to the firing of (Kliff) Kingsbury, Tech is in need of something new and fresh. Wells, meanwhile, just led the Aggies to an 11–2 finish and a bowl win over North Texas to cap a slow build of the program he inherited from Gary Andersen. Now he will get his chance to prove himself at a Power 5 school.
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