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Most influential coaching trees

Khris Hale/Icon SMI

This season, there are approximately 1,300 assistant coaches in major college football.

A majority of them probably would like to become a head coach one day, and a few want to be a head coach again, but getting there is much easier said than done. The best opportunities don't always come with the greatest job security, and vice versa, which causes most coaches to be quite nomadic as they try to build a résumé that ultimately will impress an athletic director or search committee.

Although many coaches will acknowledge one primary mentor, it's rare that someone reaches the top rung of the coaching ladder without having been influenced by at least a couple of his previous employers. From offensive and defensive schemes to recruiting strategies to organizational philosophies, there are many aspects for an aspiring coach to absorb.

For this reason, schools that are hiring a head coach often will target candidates who have been a part of successful programs. The hope, obviously, is that they can bring that "winning formula" with them, as if it's something that can be packaged and redistributed.

I studied the backgrounds of this season's FBS head coaches, looking at whom they worked under as assistants and for how long. Using that as a guide, these are the five coaches who have the greatest impact on the FBS coaching ranks in 2012.

1. Urban Meyer

Head-coaching history: Florida (2005-2010), Utah ('03-04), Bowling Green ('01-02)