- Associated Press - Friday, August 10, 2012

The job has never been more difficult. The rewards have never been greater.

As for job security, let’s just say it’s best to have a real estate agent on speed dial.

But even if it’s only for a few years, the chance to run a major college football program is an opportunity just about any coach would take.

“It’s tougher because we’re being held accountable and responsible for these young men 24 hours a day,” said South Florida’s Skip Holtz, the son of Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz who is entering his 14th year as a head coach.

“We’re held to a higher standard academically. We’re being asked to win. And win now. We’re not quite as patient as we once were. So I think it’s changed a little bit. I don’t think it’s for the bad. I think if you’re the head coach, you should be held responsible for those things.”

This season, 28 of the 124 schools that play in the Football Bowl Subdivision will have a new man being held responsible for the program, including Penn State, where Bill O’Brien takes a job the late Joe Paterno held for 46 years and then lost in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

That list also includes some big names returning to the sideline, such as Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona and Mike Leach at Washington State.

Meyer’s six-year deal with the Buckeyes pays almost $4.5 million annually, the most among the 28 coaches starting new jobs. At the other end is former Notre Dame assistant Charley Molnar, who will make $250,000 to lead Massachusetts in its first season as an FBS program.

Former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is getting a second chance to lead a program at Kansas. Terry Bowden is finally back in major college football 19 years after he was pushed out at Auburn, though Akron is a long way from the Southeastern Conference.

Kevin Sumlin took his rising star from Houston to Texas A&M, where he’ll lead the Aggies into the SEC.

Getting their first crack at leading a program are several well-regarded assistants, including Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State and Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh.

The 46-year-old Chryst, a longtime offensive coordinator who was previously at Wisconsin, said he was never in a rush to become a head coach.

“I never felt like I needed to get that to define me,” he said. “You always want to prepare yourself if that opportunity ever presents itself. But at the same time (it) wasn’t going to create any stress in my life that I’m not getting it.

“Never wanted to be one just to be one.”

Kyle Flood takes over at Rutgers, where Greg Schiano left unexpectedly for the NFL just a few days before signing day in February. The 41-year-old Flood might not have gotten the job under less hectic circumstances, but he says he’s ready.

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