A new coaching staff brings added attention and often energizes a college football program, but few head coaches go into the first season by publicly quantifying what would make for a successful win total.

Do all the right things and the wins will follow, they repeat.

The truth is, an improved win total often takes time. That's why the three-, four-, five-year plans for success were invented.

Incredibly, half of the programs on the FCS level (there will be 127 in 2020) have had a change at the top in the last 2½ years. The last two seasons, after volatile change led to 25 new head coaches each year, provided big samples of the mostly wide-ranging results.

Record-wise, improvement was minimal. In 2018, the programs with new coaches had a combined .433 winning percentage (120-157), up from .416 (117-164) a year earlier. Ten programs improved their record, 12 had a worse mark and three remained the same. Four schools won or shared conference titles and made the postseason - ETSU (under Randy Sanders), UIW (Eric Morris), North Carolina A&T (Sam Washington) and Wofford (Josh Conklin).

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

North Dakota State head football coach Matt Entz leads his team onto the field against the University of North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
North Dakota State head football coach Matt Entz leads his team onto the field against the University of North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

The improvement was slightly less last season. The winning percentage at schools with new coaches was .448 (137-169), up from .444 (123-154) in 2018, with a decline in record at 13 schools and a better one at the other 12. Five schools won conference titles and made the postseason - FCS champion North Dakota State (Matt Entz) and runner-up James Madison (Curt Cignetti) plus Austin Peay (Mark Hudspeth), Central Connecticut State (Ryan McCarthy) and Sacramento State (Troy Taylor, the Stats Perform Eddie Robinson Award recipient). Take NDSU and JMU - a combined 30-2 - out of the mix and the winning percentage was .391 (107-167) at the other 23 programs.

The FCS coaching changes dropped to 14 this offseason, but the getting-to-know-you offseason has been hampered by the loss of most spring practices and the shuttering of campuses due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. New coaching staffs have basically been tasked with running their programs remotely.