The CFSL’s Coaching Trees: Season 20

Ryan Moreland · March 20, 2024


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

The CFSL saw fewer AD changes than last season, but there was still plenty of movement. That means it is time to see how that impacted the coaching trees. We still have the same eight trees we had last season, but there have been plenty of new names added to them.

A few notes before we start: The goal of this was to travel back only using active and current members. There are other branches one could draw to connect others to certain trees, but if it wasn’t a live branch (so to speak) then it could not be grown off of.

Also, there were a few disputes about where people should belong. For this article, the last AD you worked under before you became an AD or MAC head coach is the tree you belong under. The idea was to try to put people where they deserve to be, not necessarily where they want to be.

Interim ADs or ADs that are no longer in the league were not included.

Total wins and losses may not be completely accurate (people vacating leadership roles midseason makes it difficult to count), but they are as close as I could reasonably get them.

The Frosty Tree

Frosty Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .558 (286-227)
National Championships: 5
Conference Championships: 9

The largest and most decorated tree was one of only four trees that didn’t add a new branch. However, that doesn’t mean this tree didn’t go through plenty of changes. This tree saw Vennom step down from his AD spot this season. It also earned two conference championships and a National Championship thanks to 14rdavis and 850Cane.

This tree saw a significant jump in its win percentage this season thanks to many of its active branches having successful seasons. The combined win percentage went up from .541 last season.

This tree is in good health as always. While it did lose a key member from the active ranks, there are still plenty of live branches to carry on in the future. It wouldn’t be shocking to see this tree grow as soon as next season.

The Clutch Tree

Clutch Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .534 (220-192)
National Championships: 3
Conference Championships: 8

The Clutch Tree saw plenty of change this offseason. First off, its founding member and namesake stepped down from the coaching ranks this season. After 13 seasons as the AD of Clemson and Boise State, Clutch decided to take a well-earned break. However, the number of live branches stayed the same as it was last season. This is thanks to the addition of Drake to the AD Ranks.

The Clutch Tree earned another conference title (and its newest member) thanks to the excellent season Stephens had at Illinois. However, his season wasn’t enough to keep the combined win percentage from dropping ever so slightly. Last season this tree’s win percentage was .536.

The future of this tree still looks very good. They have four active branches that are looking to add future branches and there is no ruling out a comeback from any of the former ADs above.

The Grin Tree

Grin Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .532 (151-133)
National Championships: 1
Conference Championships: 4

The are only two trees in the CFSL that have only active branches and only one that has over three members. The Grin Tree is remarkable for the fact that all eight members are active ADs. There was no loss in its membership (of course), but it did add a new branch, with KadePadgett bringing back Texas A&M.

This tree earned its fourth conference title thanks to BeardonBlast’s run with Texas this season. This was the first conference title won by someone other than Grin in the tree. Beard is also making the move over to Auburn this season.

There is no tree with a better chance to grow than this one. Eight active members are by far the most of any tree. This tree is sure to continue to grow and may one day overtake Clutch and Frosty’s trees in size.

The Houston Tree

Houston Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .563 (103-80)
National Championships: 2
Conference Championships: 5

Last season this tree had only one active branch and its future looked to be in question. However, a lot can change in a single season. LoganM rejoins the AD ranks as he takes over Oklahoma State, as ThatGuy heads to Florida. Logan is the third member of this tree to be the AD of the Cowboys. Also, Ryan Moreland becomes an AD for the first time, taking over Texas.

This tree’s win percentage dropped slightly from .569 last season, but it is still the best win percentage of any tree. However, the three active members need to be pretty great to maintain this high win percentage if they want to keep that title. The Frosty Tree is getting close to taking the title.

The future of this tree looks good, especially compared to last season. ThatGuy has proven himself capable of producing AD candidates. Ryan and Logan will try to do the same. And you can never rule out a comeback from the other members of this tree. What an impact a season can make!

The Mears Tree

MearsTree S20

Total Win Percentage: .441 (41-52)
National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 1

The Mears Tree had no active branches before last season. Then Smittytj returned to the AD ranks. And what a return it was. Penn State returned to the league for the first time since Season 5 and TJ led them to a six-win season in the best conference in the league. The future looks bright for him and the Nittany Lions.

This tree saw a significant increase in its win percentage thanks to Penn State’s success. Last season they had a win percentage of .422. There is a good chance it will increase again this season, assuming TJ can keep the same level of success.

The future of this tree is completely dependent on TJ unless Mears or Rev returned to the AD ranks. Pinning all your hopes to one guy is a dangerous prospect, but given his experience and recent success, there are few ADs better suited to be the sole living branch of a tree.

The Konvict Tree

Konvict Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .431 (22-29)
National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 2

Not long ago I dubbed the Konvict Tree “The LSU Tree.” However, it would be more accurate to call it the Oregon Tree now. Triipz was forced into the interim AD role this season with the Ducks and flourished. Oregon’s unexpected success was one of the best storylines of Season 20.

Thanks to that success, this tree saw a large jump in win percentage, from .405 to .431. If Triipz can build off his first season’s momentum, he can easily grow this number.

Just like the Mears Tree, all of this tree’s hopes are dependent on the success of one coach. Unlike the Mears Tree, that coach has one season of AD experience. However, Triipz proved he could compete last season. If he can continue to grow and develop as an AD, perhaps this tree can grow with him. ‘

The Murph Tree

Murph Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .324 (23-48)
National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 0

Last season Muprh grew the first branch of his tree. This season that branch proved to be an impressive gameplanner. Jacobb02 took his team to the semifinals. This small tree looks like it could have an exciting future.

Thanks in large part to USC’s success, the Murph Tree saw a nice boost in win percentage. They held a .308 win percentage last season. Continued growth in that number seems almost guaranteed.

The future of this tree is decent. They have two guys to build off of. One has proven he can develop great, young coaches and the other proved himself to be a great team builder. If I was a gambling man, I would bet that this tree would grow again in the next few seasons.

The Cole Tree

Cole Tree S20

Total Win Percentage: .300 (15-35)
National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 0

The Clutch Tree isn’t the only one to lose its namesake this season. Cole stepped down from his position at Auburn. While Cole is guaranteed to still be a big part of the league in the future, his tree is in a precarious position.

Both ADs led their teams to a 3-5 record in Season 20, which was enough to push the win percentage in the right direction. The win percentage last season was .265. Braden and his Baylor Bears did well in their debut season. If he can build off that momentum then this number is sure to grow.

Much like the Konvict Tree, the future of this tree depends on the success of an AD with one season of experience. This is certainly not a death sentence, but it isn’t a comfortable position either. It will be up to Braden to ensure this tree doesn’t go the way of the Dodo.

The Treeless

There are two ADs whose trees would just be themselves. That is Clemson’s Loki Gunderson and Colorado’s Skyballr. This was the same group we had last season for the Treeless pack.

Both of these ADs are one developed coach away from growing their tree. Time will tell if they can give the CFSL its ninth coaching tree.


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