Ranking The Top Ten Offensive Coaches in College Football

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Bob Stitt

Head Coach, Montana

The only coach on our top ten list that isn’t currently an FBS coach, Bob Stitt has never coached in FBS or the NFL and has spent a grand total of one season at the FCS level (as the offensive coordinator at Harvard in 1999) prior to becoming the head coach at the University of Montana this winter.

However, if you were to ask college coaches to give you a short list of the brightest offensive minds in the game, Stitt would probably be mentioned more often than not.  As Hal Mumme noted in a 2012 interview with USA Today:

“It’s hard to flip through the channels on a Saturday and not see his influence some place,” said Hal Mumme, who came from a small college background and shocked the SEC with his Kentucky “Air Raid” offense in the late 1990s. “He’s a really bright guy, and people are becoming aware of what he’s doing. I promise you, he’s going to get a big job somewhere. He’s going to get his chance if he wants it.”

A prime example of Stitt’s impact came during the 2012 Orange Bowl when Dana Holgerson’s West Virginia Mountaineers gashed Clemson for 595 yards, including 407 passing yards, in a 70-33 victory. In the on-field post-game interview, Holgorsen gave Stitt a shout out for showing him the shovel pass-like fly sweep that carved up the Tigers defense in Miami.

Another example is the “Rub” tunnel screen Texas A&M (and Holgerson protégé Jake Spavital) used last season.

Like Mumme said, Stitt will get a “big job” one day, and though Montana doesn’t play at the highest level, it’s one of the most prestigious football programs in FCS. It will also provide more exposure: the Griz open the 2015 season at home against four-time defending national champion North Dakota State. The August 29 contest will be broadcast to a national audience on ESPN.

Of course, exposure isn’t exactly on the top of Stitt’s mind and he has been happy taking his time climbing the coaching ladder. He spent the last 15 years as the head coach at Division II Colorado School of Mines, where he compiled a 108-62 overall record, three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships, and three trips to the Division II playoffs.

That may sound modest, but the football players at Colorado School of Mines are regularly enrolled in the school’s top-notch petroleum engineering program, which has some of the strictest admission standards in the nation and an average ACT score of 29.

In other words, the recruiting pool is considerably smaller there than it was when he was an assistant in the Ivy League, making it extremely difficult to put a consistent winner on the field.

Yet Stitt has done it with a spread, no-huddle attack using a series of plays that are easy to teach and execute. Stitt has designed an offense that is designed to both make life easy for his quarterback and wear opponents down over the course of a 60-minute game, all the while utilizing a bunch of guys that run “4.8 and 4.9’s” in the 40-yard dash.

It certainly worked well less year – his squad averaged 39 points and 520 yards on 90 plays per game last season – and you’re sure to hear more about #StittHappens in the years to come.

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