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A look at the Longhorns coaching staff changes under coach Strong

Finding consistency among the Longhorns coaching staff could be a key to future success.

Sterlin Gilbert

When looking at Texas’ struggles during the first two seasons under head coach Charlie Strong, there’s no question that changes among the coaching staff each season have been part of the problem.

Of the nine assistant coaches (not including strength & condition coach Pat Moorer – who’s been on staff at Texas since coach Strong was hired), five are in their first year at Texas entering the 2016 season.

Below are the staff changes from season to season during coach Strong’s time as the head coach of the Longhorns. Names in bold are staff changes from the previous season.

Staff entering 2014 season - original staff when coach Strong was hired

Offense

Shawn Watson – assistant head coach for offense / quarterbacks

Joe Wickline – offensive coordinator / offensive line

Les Koenning -wide receivers

Tommie Robinson – running backs

Bruce Chambers – tight ends

Defense

Vance Bedford – defensive coordinator / secondary

Chris Rumph – assistant head coach for defense / defensive line

Brian Jean-Mary – linebackers / recruiting coordinator

Chris Vaughn – defensive backs / special teams coordinator

Staff entering the 2015 season

Offense

Shawn Watson - assistant head coach for offense / quarterbacks

Joe Wickline - offensive coordinator/offensive line

Jay Norvell – wide receivers

Les Koenning was not retained after his contract expired.

Tommie Robinson – running backs

Jeff Traylor – tight ends / special teams coordinator

Bruce Chambers, the only staff member originally retained from Mack Brown’s staff at Texas, wasn’t retained after his contract expired.

Defense

Vance Bedford – defensive coordinator / secondary

Brian Jean-Mary - linebackers / recruiting coordinator

Brick Haley – defensive line

Rumph decided to leave Texas for the same job at Florida under his former boss head coach Jim McElwain

Chris Vaughn – defensive backs

Staff entering the 2016 season

Offense

Sterlin Gilbert – offensive coordinator / quarterbacks

Matt Mattox – offensive line / running game coordinator

Jeff Traylor – tight ends / special teams coordinator

Charlie Williams – wide receivers

Anthony Johnson – running backs

Most of us know the reasons why nearly the entire offensive staff was overhauled. Watson was relieved of his offensive coordinator duties after a blowout loss to Notre Dame to open the 2015 season. And it sent a ripple effect throughout the staff.

Once the season was over neither Joe Wickline nor Jay Norvell were retained. And Tommie Robinson bolted back to USC as the running backs coach, the position he had held before coming to Texas.

Defense

Vance Bedford – defensive coordinator / secondary

Brian Jean-Mary - linebackers / recruiting coordinator

Brick Haley – defensive line

Clay Jennings – defensive backs

Chris Vaughn was let go when reports surfaced he was linked to recruiting violations while he was on staff at Ole Miss between 2008-2011.

Given the nature of modern college football, it’s not uncommon for a staff to have some sort of change after each season. For the coaches, this is a business. Sometimes a coach needs to be let go. And other times, a coach welcomes a promotion or an opportunity to better his own situation.

Luckily for coach Strong, he’s been able to weather the staff changes on the recruiting trail. His last two classes have been highly rated. And his most recent hires entering the 2016 season appear to be being received well by the current players.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if Strong will be able to find more consistency among his staff or if he’ll be back to posting open job descriptions like he’s running the sales department of a tech company in Austin. If this Texas offense takes off, it’ll be anyone’s guess at how long coach Strong will be able to hold on to Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox.

For now, though, the current staff has a lot of work to do even get to that point. If this season doesn’t go as well as it needs to, we could be looking at an entirely new staff entering the 2017 season. And that’s not a situation most Longhorns fans want to think about right now.