Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ranking SEC football coaches

The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart recently ranked the Southeastern Conference football coaches in this order. He makes a number of good points, but I can't help but disagree. Before getting into my list, it's important to establish the criteria for "best" so here's what I considered in making my selections:
  • Success: Do they win?
  • Recruit: Do they bring in the nation's best?
  • Coaching: Who has the best play-calling or makes the best half-time adjustments?
  • Motivation: Do they get their team fired up to play?
  • Resources: Do they do more with less (Bobby Johnson) or simply take advantage of a fertile recruiting area?
  • "It" Factor: If you were a high school senior and this coach came to your home, would you want to play for him?
With that said, here's my list. Don't like it? Leave your own in the comments below.

1. Mark Richt, Georgia. He's one of just six coaches to win two SEC titles in his first five years, and meets pretty much every criteria. Plus, he's not afraid to find creative ways to motivate his team.

2. Urban Meyer, Florida. He's been successful everywhere he's coached and is in the process of building an absolute juggernaut in Gainesville.

3. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn. The Tigers have been a model of consistency under Tuberville, winning at least nine games the past four seasons, earning at least a share of the SEC West title in five of the past 10 and beating Alabama in seven of the past eight.

4. Nick Saban, Alabama. Say what you want about "The Nicktator," not only can the guy recruit, but he can coach.

5. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina. If you're judging by the past, then the Ol' Ball Coach should be higher on this list. If you're judging by the present, then he should probably be lower. We'll compromise and put him here.

6.Les Miles, LSU. Yes, the Tigers won the BCS title, but they did it in spite of Miles rather than because of him. If you don't think LSU would prefer Saban to Miles, you're crazy.

7. Phil Fulmer, Tennessee. You have to respect Fulmer's resume, but facts are facts: the Vols haven't won the SEC since 1998.

8. Rich Brooks, Kentucky. Getting fans in Lexington to care about football is no easy task and Brooks has done just that, leading the Wildcats to two straight bowl games.

9. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State. The first black coach in SEC history has gone about rebuilding the Bulldogs the right way.

10. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt. There's no doubt that Johnson gets more out of less and has significantly increased the talent level in Nashville, but until he leads the Commodores to a bowl game, he doesn't deserve to be any higher on this list.

11. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss. Fairly of unfairly, Nutt was pushed out of Arkansas, so let's see if he can do better than Youtube-favorite Coach O at Ole Miss.

12. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas. Forget wins and losses, I would never, under any circumstances, want my son to play for this coach.


David Shochat said...

Everyone knows i am not a big Bobby guy. I think that is probably the right spot for him though I would argue Nutt ahead of him and Brooks behind him though. I just wish we could keep him as an assistant instead of the head coach. All of our coaches right now are good teachers and are very good at developing players. What we need though are guys who know how to manage a team on game day. If we could keep the assistants and Bobby and get new Coordinators and a new head coach with a big name and some success, I think Vandy would be on its way to competing year in and year out in the SEC and making bowls consistently. Last night, I was lying in bed and started thinking football and how much of a travesty last season was. Georgia, Kentucky, and UT should have all been wins with good game day management and with those wins who knows about Wake. Just really disappointing because until we go to a bowl, we aren't going to get the high profile recruits you need to be consistently successful in the SEC. As we are right now, we will have a decent year where the team has a chance at a bowl and then a three year developing period until the next go round. Bobby and staff are good teachers, but one has to look no further than his hiring of one of his former players from Furman to replace Kenny Carter, who i thought was one of the top 3 position coaches on the team along with Belin and Caldwell, instead of trying to go out and get someone who is proven at the D-1 level as a recruiter and RB coach to realize he is too loyal to Furman and certain players/people to be a really good head coach. He cares about looking out for his own more than doing whatever it takes (within the rules of course) to win which is what is needed at a school as hard to coach at as Vandy. I know this is not true, but it almost seems sometimes as if Coach and the administration here are satisfied with winning 4 or 5 games a season with one big upset a year. I don't know about everyone else, but i am not satisfied with that...

David Shochat said...

My list:
1. Urban Meyer, Florida.
2. Mark Richt, Georgia.
3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
4. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
5. Nick Saban, Alabama.
6. Les Miles, LSU.
7. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State
8. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss.
9. Phil Fulmer, Tennessee.
(this idiot does not know what the heck is going on most of the time. The only reason UT is successful is the athletes they can recruit and his good assistants. Fulmer is a figurehead not a coach. It will be interesting to see how UT does next year with a new QB and two assistants gone esp. Cutcliffe. My money is on UT to not perform that well...)
10. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt
11. Rich Brooks, Kentucky.
12. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

i think the reverse of shocat. bobby runs a good program. the talent has increased, he gets the most out of that talent usually. he runs it in a classy way. the problem is we are still outmanned to some extent, so we need to take a few more chances. ted cain calls the plays, not bobby, and i think he needs to be a bit more ballsy when it comes to calling plays, particularly this year with the o-line potentially being pretty crummy.

David Shochat said...

I am not really sure how you think the reverse of me Anonymous except maybe the fact you think he runs a good, clean program? which i would say is true... a good, clean program (Vanderbilt isn't the easiest place to coach who are we kidding) not great, clean program. I said that Bobby gets the most out of his players (good teacher) just as you did. I think we are outmanned as well as i said that it is sad that we are never going to get top recruits until we get to some bowls. I also called the coordinators out as well who are just as responsible for out failures as Bobby. Your post seems to agree with what i said...just saying. I am just curious on specifically what you disagree with me on for the sake of discussion. Is it that you think we should keep Bobby as our head coach???

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving Bobby Petrino the treatment he deserves. No way in hell would I allow anyone I cared about to go play for him.