Everyone old is new again this season in college football.
That theme, at least, will be a big part of the national coaching dynamic. Career reinvention has become the new wildcat.
• Norm Chow, at 66, finally has decided to be a head coach and went home to Hawaii to launch this new phase of a long career.
Over the years, the former N.C. State offensive coordinator turned down so many job offers that his nickname became “Too Choosy Chow.”
• Charlie Weis, 10 years Chow’s junior, is a head coach for the second time at the college level. He’ll face considerably less pressure to win big at Kansas than was the case at Notre Dame, where his teams went 35-27 from 2005-09.
• Bob Davie, another guy who once wilted in South Bend, accepted the New Mexico job after more than a decade in the television/radio booth.
Few people likely remember that Davie, 57, actually did better (35-25) at Notre Dame than did Weis.
• Mike Leach, 51, is back in – not black, but a very dark shade of red at Washington State.
When last seen on the sidelines, Leach was in the process of getting dismissed at Texas Tech after his 2009 team went 8-4. A charge of ruthless coaching behavior – not his won-loss record of 84-43 – did in the master of the spread & spray offense. Washington State has made its share of interesting hires over the years – Jackie Sherrill, Mike Price, Dennis Erickson and Forest Evashevski to name a few.
• No longer burned out and comfortably removed from direct contact with the SEC factories, Urban Meyer has moved from Florida to Ohio State.
At 48, Meyer has a staggering 104-23 career record but an 8-5 stand at Florida in 2010 was enough to send him to a recharging station.
• Then there’s John L. Smith, 63, who got the call at Arkansas when Bobby Petrino steered from the straight and narrow last spring.
In four seasons at Michigan State, Smith’s teams went 22-26 from 2003-06.
• Rich Rodriguez, 49, is the new thing at Arizona. In three seasons at Michigan, 2008-10, his teams (15-22) went the John L. Smith route.
The severance pay was nice at Michigan, but it’s hard to believe now that this is the same man who went 32-5 in his last three seasons at West Virginia.
• The Terry Bowden comeback moves from North Alabama to Akron. Don’t let the boyish face fool you. He’s 56.
Bowden’s critics have long painted him as a coaching lightweight with a heavyweight pedigree. But whether you like him or not, he went 47-14-1 at Auburn and 29-10 in Division II at North Alabama.
His new defensive coordinator: Former N.C. State head coach Chuck Amato, still feisty at 66.