Max Olson and Bruce Feldman, writing for The Athletic (subscription):
The losers of the 2019 Egg Bowl seemed determined to fire their coach, but ultimately, neither Ole Miss’ Matt Luke nor Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead could save their jobs after that fateful Thanksgiving night in Starkville. The rivals’ offseason coaching changes didn’t just affect the members of their respective staffs. Those firings ended up impacting the jobs of nearly 300 coaches or staffers throughout the country.
Fifty-two FBS schools lost or hired a coach or off-field staffer as a result of the post-Egg Bowl shakeups. FCS, Division II, D-III, junior college, high school and even six NFL staffs were affected. When all of the families involved are taken into account, the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people were changed.
In total, the coaching transition at Ole Miss impacted the jobs of at least 134 coaches and staffers. The new regime at Mississippi State generated even more ripples, affecting the employment of at least 153 people. And that’s a relatively conservative count, considering how support staffs in college football have grown deeper over the past decade.
This counting does not include positions that remain unfilled. Nor does it account for every assistant strength coach, every equipment manager and video coordinator, every student worker and secretary. All of their fates are truly tied to the head coach. And those who ended up at South Carolina and Utah State at the end of last offseason’s shuffle are already facing the prospect of going through this whole process again, as those programs became the first to fire coaches this fall.
The high-paid staffers command the headlines. Head coaches and assistants have multi-year deals, buyouts and money saved away for tough times. Kiffin inked a $16.2 million deal at Ole Miss that guaranteed a salary pool of $5.3 million for his 10 assistants. Leach now makes $5 million annually. It’s the younger staff members, with less experience and fewer connections, who have to fight the hardest to stay in this business.
It’s crazy how many lives are affected by the hiring and firing of football head coaches.