Most people that are interested in coaching football at the college level start off as a graduate assistant and work up the ladder with one end goal in mind: become a head coach. It’s safe to assume at least, for obvious reasons – more control, notoriety, and, of course, a bigger paycheck, among other perks.
That’s not the case for former Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos, who voluntarily stepped down from his position with the Chippewas in late January, only to almost immediately accept the vacant offensive coordinator job with Bret Bielema’s staff at Arkansas.
“At one point in my career, I wanted to be a head coach, and that was the whole thing I dreamed about and talked about,” Enos told Bo Mattingly on his SportsTalk show the other day. “I’ve been a head coach. The one thing I’ll say about a head coach: It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I had a coach tell me one that, one time, a very successful NFL head coach told him that. ‘Remember, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.’ That hit home with me.”
Some would probably call leaving a head coaching position to offensive coordinator a downgrade, but in terms of compensation, Arkansas is the better option; Enos was making $350,000 per year with Central Michigan (the lowest number for an FBS HC) and is now making $550,000 annually in Fayetteville.
“To be honest with you, my family and I left for this opportunity. I really haven’t thought too much beyond,” said Enos. “I just would like to be here and be at Arkansas and be the coordinator for many years. Beyond that, I don’t have any other further aspirations, other than to help this program get better and do my part to help our team win a championship.”
In comparison to recent Central Michigan coaches, Enos was among the program’s best. The Chippewas went 26-36 during his five years – 20-18 over the last three – and were bowl eligible three times, winning the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl.
CMU won seven games twice during Enos’ tenure – something that, before his arrival, the program had only achieved six times since 1989.
“I’ve always been on the field, even when I wasn’t a head coach. I was on the field when I coordinated,” said Enos. “I like to be able to look the quarterback in the eye and talk to him. I played that position and coached it for a long time. Sometimes, it’s good to have a buddy down there. Have a guy to look at you and say, ‘It’s OK. I’ve been there, done that.’ I’ve been through those good days and bad days as a quarterback myself.
“As a coach, I like to be hands-on with them on game day, have the ability to look them in the eye and pat them on the back, encourage them and help them through the day.”
Enos has spent time in the coordinator role several times throughout his coaching career, but never at an FBS school, yet alone a Power Five member in arguably the most challenging division in college football: the SEC West.
Central Michigan’s offense ranked no higher than No. 64 in the country during Enos’ time as the head coach/offensive play-caller, falling as low as No. 96. His red zone offense was one of the best in 2014, however, as the Chippewas finished with the 28th-ranked touchdown success rate (67.3 percent).
Arkansas ended the 2014 season with the No. 45 scoring offense (31.9 points per game) and is No. 20 in my Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 Rankings posted after the College Football Playoff Championship Game.