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The college football coaching carousel took a few dizzying late turns following the 2024 season after Nick Saban's retirement and Jim Harbaugh's departure for the NFL rocked the sport. Those moves and other coaching swaps generated plenty of headlines, but they weren't the only significant changes.

The coordinator carousel was wild, too. Look no further than Ohio State as an example. Buckeyes coach Ryan Day made a splash by landing Bill O'Brien as his offensive coordinator, only to see O'Brien leave to take the Boston College job. Undeterred, Day plucked away UCLA coach Chip Kelly

Kelly's move is unquestionably the most significant coordinator hiring of the offseason, but it was just one of many impactful coordinator changes that will shape the sport in 2024. Here, we break down the most consequential of them.

The list is comprised mostly of coordinators who are working for returning head coaches. At Alabama, it's hard to argue that the new coordinators are among the most consequential hires in the country when they aren't even the most consequential coaching hires on their own campus.

However, Michigan defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and UCLA offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy are exceptions. Martindale will be working under a new coach in Sherrone Moore, who is already well-established within a Michigan program that is coming off a national title. Bieniemy is a blockbuster name who will be tasked with helping first-time head coach DeShaun Foster transition the Bruins into the Big Ten.

With that, here are the 10 most significant coordinator changes in college football.

1. Chip Kelly, Ohio State offensive coordinator

Day looked at his cards, read the table and decided this is the time. He is all in on 2024, and he's banking on Chip Kelly being the ace to make this hand a winner. The Buckeyes are loaded defensively and have arguably the nation's best running back tandem in TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins. All signs point to a physical approach that should be more defense and run-oriented than Day's past Ohio State teams. Kelly's final four UCLA squads all ranked among the top 20 rushing offenses in the country, which could make him the right man at the right time to help Ohio State return to its championship ways.

2. D'Anton Lynn, USC defensive coordinator

USC coach Lincoln Riley finally moved on from Alex Grinch after employing him as defensive coordinator for three seasons at Oklahoma and two at USC. Now, the task of turning the Trojans' defense into something respectable falls on Lynn, who was the defensive coordinator for UCLA in 2023 when the Bruins beat the Trojans 38-20. Lynn, 34, is a former Penn State cornerback who spent time on several NFL staffs before entering the college game. There is nowhere to go but up for USC's unit after it ranked 116th nationally in total defense last season. How far up Lynn can take it will determine whether Riley can reestablish a positive trajectory as the Trojans enter the Big Ten.

3. Wink Martindale, Michigan defensive coordinator

With defensive coordinator Jesse Minter joining Jim Harbaugh with the Los Angeles Chargers, there is a lot riding on this hire. Moore is a first-time head coach with an offensive background, which means Martindale should have plenty of latitude to direct things as he sees fit. Martindale presumably comes with the Harbaugh family seal of approval after spending 10 years on John Harbaugh's staff with the Baltimore Ravens. Most recently, he spent two seasons working as defensive coordinator for the Giants. He hasn't worked in college football in more than two decades and has massive shoes to fill after Minter directed one of the nastiest college football defenses of the 21st century.

4. Blake Baker, LSU defensive coordinator

Brian Kelly is a solid but unspectacular 20-7 through two seasons on the job. With Saban retired and the SEC undergoing expansion, this is the time for LSU to strike and for Kelly to establish the Tigers as a realistic competitor to Georgia in the league. But breaking through to win an SEC championship will require a massive defensive improvement. That's where Baker comes in. Missouri ranked No. 105 nationally in total defense in 2021 before he arrived. Mizzou rose to No. 33 nationally each of the past two seasons under Baker's watch. Now, he faces a similar task at LSU, which coincidentally ranked No. 105 nationally in total defense last season. 

5. Eric Bieniemy, UCLA offensive coordinator

Bieniemy will be tasked with helping first-time head coach Foster lead a program that is transitioning from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten amid Kelly's departure to lead Ohio State's offense. A highly respected offensive mind, Bieniemy played a key role on the Kansas City Chiefs staff for a decade as the franchise rose to prominence under Andy Reid. After spending last season as offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders, he is returning to college football for the first time since a two-year stint as Colorado's offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012. Bieniemy, who was a UCLA assistant from 2003-05, will be a key resource for Foster, who comes from an offensive background but does not have play-calling experience.

6. Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame offensive coordinator

Marcus Freeman went 9-4 in Year 1 and 10-3 in Year 2. If the Fighting Irish are going to take another step and qualify for the 12-team CFP in his third season as coach, it will require Denbrock to click with quarterback Riley Leonard. Denbrock coached 2023 Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels at LSU for two seasons, successfully unlocking the best from a dangerous dual-threat playmaker. When fully healthy, Leonard is another dynamic QB with All-American potential. How Denbrock meshes with him could determine the Fighting Irish's ceiling in 2024.

7. Andy Kotelnicki, Penn State offensive coordinator

After more than a decade of working exclusively with Lance Leipold, Kotelnicki will be asked to mesh with 11th-year Penn State coach James Franklin and unlock the Nittany Lions' offensive potential. Penn State is replacing both coordinators -- Tom Allen is also stepping in for DC Manny Diaz, who accepted the Duke job -- but the offense will be more closely scrutinized after a lack of explosiveness kept it from reaching its full potential in 2023. The Nittany Lions tied for 116th in plays of 25-plus yards last season with just 26. Kotelnicki's offense at Kansas ranked No. 23 nationally with 50 plays of 25-plus yards, even while running the football far more often than throwing it. In theory, hiring Kotelnicki will allow Penn State to get more offensively dynamic while keeping its defensive identity and run-first ethos.

8. Tim Lester, Iowa offensive coordinator

The Hawkeyes could survive as steady winners in the old Big Ten West by relying on a nasty defense and special teams to mitigate their offensive ineptitude. But in an expanded league that has scrapped divisions, Iowa may need to occasionally complete a pass if it wants to keep winning 10 games every other year. Tim Lester is making more than $1 million annually to lead the daunting reclamation project after spending last season as an analyst with the Packers. Lester previously took Western Michigan to three bowl games in six seasons after cutting his teeth in the Division I ranks as an assistant for Syracuse and Purdue. It's a daunting task. But the good news is that it literally can't get worse. Iowa ranked dead last in the FBS in total offense last season amid a horrible run with injuries and unimaginative schematics. Lester could call plays blindfolded and things would improve. If he thrives in the role, it could elevate Iowa to contention for a spot in the 12-team playoff.

9. Andy Avalos, TCU defensive coordinator

A team coached by Sonny Dykes is never going to be known for defense, but Andy Avalos is the type of coordinator who could elevate the Horned Frogs on that side of the ball. He coordinated solid units at Boise State and Oregon in the past and will be relied upon to restore some life to a unit that surrendered 69 points and 607 yards to Oklahoma to conclude a disappointing 2023 season.

10. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas offensive coordinator

There is obvious shock value here with Petrino returning to a school that once fired him amid unceremonious circumstances in 2012. But even if Petrino had never coached at Arkansas, this would still be one of the coordinator carousel's most consequential moves. Sam Pittman is coaching for his job after a 4-8 season and longtime quarterback K.J. Jefferson transferred to UCF. If Petrino can somehow mold this group into a winner, he could save Pittman's job and reclaim his own reputation as an offensive mastermind after a middling stint as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator last season. It seems like a long shot, but so did the idea of Petrino ever coaching at Arkansas again.