While it’s certainly unusual that Jen Flynn Oldenburg had never been a head coach and was hired at the Big Ten’s Ohio State directly from a girls club program, it’s hardly unprecedented for Power Five conferences to hire coaches with no previous women’s head-coaching experience.
For that matter, in the Big Ten alone, seven of the league’s 14 head coaches had never been women’s head coaches when they got their respective jobs.
Here’s a rundown of all 14 B1G head coaches and where they were before getting hired, and then a look at the other four Power Five conferences:
Illinois — Chris Tamas came from Nebraska, where he spent one year as an assistant. He’d never been a head coach.
Indiana — Steve Aird was the head coach at Maryland when he moved to Indiana, but when he got the Maryland job the former Penn State assistant had never been a head coach.
Iowa — Vicki Brown was already on staff and promoted to head coach last season when Bond Shymansky was fired. Brown spent one year as head coach at San Francisco before going to Iowa as an assistant.
Maryland — Adam Hughes was an assistant who got the job after Steve Aird left for Indiana. He had never been a head coach.
Michigan — Mark Rosen had been the head coach at three different programs when he got the job in 1999.
Michigan State — Cathy George became the first woman to coach a team to the national semifinals when she did that with Texas-Arlington in 1989. She was previously the head coach at North Dakota State and then Western Michigan when she got the Michigan State job in 2005.
Minnesota — Hugh McCutcheon had never been a college head coach when he took over in 2012. Of course, he coached the USA men to 2008 Olympic gold and the 2012 USA women to Olympic silver.
Nebraska — John Cook had been the head coach at Wisconsin when he returned to Nebraska, spending one year as an assistant before being promoted in 2000 upon the retirement of Terry Pettit.
Northwestern — Shane Davis had never been a women’s head coach, but when he got the job he was coming off back-to-back NCAA men’s championships at Loyola, also in Chicago.
Ohio State — Jen Flynn Oldenburg came directly from the Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Association club and has never been a head coach.
Penn State — Russ Rose starts his 42nd year, but when he took over in 1979 he’d been an assistant at his alma mater, George Williams, and Nebraska. He’d also been the head coach of a men’s pro team in Puerto Rico.
Purdue — Dave Shondell got the job in 2003, coming straight from Muncie Central High School and the Munciana club.
Rutgers — New coach Caitlin Schweihofer was the head coach at LaSalle for five years and then last year was at Northeastern.
Wisconsin — Kelly Sheffield was the head coach at Albany and then Dayton when he got the job in 2013.
There are more coaches in the Power Five who were not head coaches when they were hired at their respective jobs than you might think. Here’s a list:
SEC — There are five coaches who, when hired, had never been a women’s head coach. Kentucky’s Craig Skinner was an assistant at Nebraska when he was hired in 2004, Texas A&M’s Bird Kuhn was an assistant at Kansas, Missouri’s Josh Taylor was promoted from within last summer, Tennessee’s Eve Rackham was a longtime assistant at North Carolina, and new Ole Miss coach Kayla Banwarth was an assistant at Nebraska.
Big 12 — There are three. Oklahoma’s Lindsey Gray-Walton was an assistant at Kentucky, when Iowa State’s Christy Johnson-Lynch was was hired in 2004 she had been an assistant at Nebraska and Wisconsin, and Kansas State’s Suzie Fritz was promoted from within in 2001.
Pac-12 — There are six, including the dean of league coaches Beth Launiere, who was an assistant at Illinois when she was hired at Utah in 1990. Washington’s Keegan Cook was an assistant at the school when he was promoted in 2015, Arizona State’s Sanja Tomasevic was promoted from within in 2016, UCLA’s Mike Sealy was an assistant at Hawai’i when he was hired in 2010, Oregon State’s Mark Barnard spent five years as head coach of the Australian women’s national team and then was a longtime assistant in the OSU program when he was promoted in 2016, and Oregon’s Matt Ulmer was the head coach when Long Beach State won the national beach title in 2013 but had never been a women’s indoors head coach when he was promoted at Oregon in 2017.
ACC — There are now six after NC State announced Monday that it hired Luka Slabe, an assistant coach for the USA national team and former men’s assistant at BYU. Louisville’s Dani Busboom Kelly was an assistant at Nebraska, Boston College’s Jason Kennedy was an assistant at USC, Miami’s Jose “Keno” Gandara was an assistant at Washington, Virginia’s Aaron Smith was promoted from within, and Clemson’s Michaela Franklin was an assistant at Iowa.
If I missed any or have any errors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.