Monday, July 21, 2008

Ranking SEC football coaches

John Adams of the Knoxville News Sentinel spends two columns ranking Southeastern Conference football coaches. First, he breaks down the coaches based on their career accomplishments:

1. Steve Spurrier (South Carolina)
2. Urban Meyer (Florida)
3. Nick Saban (Alabama)
4. Tommy Tuberville (Auburn)
5. Les Miles (LSU)
6. Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee)
7. Mark Richt (Georgia)
8. Bobby Petrino (Arkansas)
9. Houston Nutt (Ole Miss)
10. Rich Brooks (Kentucky)
11. Sylvester Croom (Miss. State)
12. Bobby Johnson (Vanderbilt)

Here's what Adams said about Johnson: "Ask almost any other coach in the SEC and he will tell you Johnson is a good coach. If so, then it's about time someone hired him away from the Commodores. Although Vanderbilt hasn't had a winning season in six years under Johnson, it has been more competitive. Johnson also won 30 games in his last three seasons at Division I-AA Furman."

Then, Adams ranked the coaches based on their value in the open market. For example, if Program X could have any SEC coach for the next five years whom would it take? And then, whom would it take next?

1. Urban Meyer
2. Nick Saban
3. Tommy Tuberville
4. Mark Richt
5. Steve Spurrier
6. Les Miles
7. Bobby Petrino
8. Phillip Fulmer
9. Houston Nutt
10. Sylvester Croom
11. Bobby Johnson
12. Rich Brooks

Here's what Adams said about Johnson: "He has clearly upgraded Vanderbilt's talent level, but apparently that's not enough to get the attention of athletic directors at better programs. Although he hasn't had a winning season at Vanderbilt, other coaches in the league will be the first to tell you Vanderbilt is much tougher to beat now than before Johnson took over. One break-even season at Vanderbilt would do wonders for Johnson on the open market."

What do you guys make of the rankings, particularly the second one? Who should be higher/lower? Any surprises?


Greg Viverito said...

Maybe this is my personal dislike of Nick Saban coming out, but I would hire Mark Richt over Saban in a minute. Saban is a good coach too, but not someone I would want in my athletic department over guys like Richt and Tuberville.

Jarred Amato said...

Greg, I'm with you on that one. Also, there's no way Bobby Petrino should be that high. Under no circumstances would I want my son to play football for that guy.

Tony Arnold said...

I think it is interesting that the writer assumes he knows for a fact that Bobby Johnson has not generated interest. Certainly, he has not generated public spotlight interest, but it could be there regular private inquiries and Bobby has told them, I am not interested in moving at this time. I know he has not considered for a top tier job right now, but I suspect some mid-tier programs have fished some.

I agree whole-heartedly that I would not want my son to play for either Saban or Petrino. Some of the coaches mentioned develop their players as people as well as football stars, some don't. Mark Richt would have to be my number one based on success and overall character.

Aram Hanessian said...

Meyer is number one and it really isn't particularly close. He's easily in the discussion for top coach in the country with guys like Carroll and Mack Brown. Also Petrino isn't really that high, for a guy who took a program from a good C-USA team to a national power in 4 years. The guys behind him have all either been fired or have been about to be fired at various points in the last year. There is nobody lower on that list that I would put ahead of him.

As far as Saban is concerned, why wouldn't he be number two on this list. His career accomplishments are only clearly bested by Spurrier and all of his coaching moves have been understandable and except for his time in the NFL (and Toledo) he's stayed at the school for a decent number of years. Saban gets a bad rap for what happened in Miami, but clearly the NFL just wasn't for him and he left for one of the best jobs in the country and theres no doubt that Alabama will be contending for Nat'l championships at some point in the next few years with Nick Saban on the sidelines.

David Rutz said...

I'm amazed that Adams fails to even mention Bobby Petrino's record of deceit and gold-digging in ranking him seventh in value on the open market.

What's more important in coaching than trust? Petrino has lost any credibility he may have ever had with his cut-and-run last fall that betrayed a good owner like Arthur Blank.

I like those rankings other than that; all I think is that Mark Richt should be higher, he's creative (the Florida TD celebration pump-up idea), he's got class (, and he wins (2 SEC titles, 5-2 in bowls, top 25 every season).

Jarred Amato said...

Fulmer hasn't been fired, nor is he about to be fired, so I think you could definitely put him ahead of Petrino.

This is what's Pat Forde wrote about Petrino: "Even in a profession rife with dishonest posturing, Petrino is singularly mercenary. Loyalty, allegiance, commitment and honesty are foreign concepts to him. It must be a sad existence."

I'm sorry, but there's no way I'd ever hire him, regardless of his success.

As for Saban, your argument is pretty convincing. I just finished reading Michael Lewis' "The Blind Side," which chronicles among other things the recruitment process of left tackle Michael Oher. Oher ended up going to Ole Miss, but was strongly considering LSU before Saban announced he was heading to the NFL.

Oher, and those close to him, were blown away by Saban. At one point, they compared him to the president of the United States, while Fulmer was more like a town mayor. I thought that was pretty funny.

Also, the most underrated coach has to be Tuberville. All the dude does is win and yet hardly anyone seems to notice.

Aram Hanessian said...

There was talk about Fulmer being fired before and even during last season's run to the SEC championship game. Also, unless Forde has some sort of view into Petrino's soul those words seem a little harsh. Vick ruined the Falcons, not Petrino, and when the situation was not what he signed up for he left. Yea, he stabbed Arthur Blank and the Falcons players in the back, but he is certainly not deserving of being talked about like he's the devil or something.

Jarred Amato said...

Aram, read this article and tell me you'd still want to hire Bobby Petrino.

Also, if you've been in the same place as long as Fulmer has, there's going to be rumblings at one point or another. The fact that he just signed a new deal shows that Fulmer will be in Knoxville for the foreseeable future.

David Shochat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Shochat said...

I would have to say that Vandy under Johnson has definitely been more competitive than before him from what I have heard. There is no denying that and with the recruiting class Bobby is shaping up for 2009, it could be the best Vandy recruiting class for football ever. With that said, I would like to see more inventive and bold game day coaching. If we saw that, I think Vandy would be on its way. I do agree that we are a breakthrough season away from having constant 6-6 seasons or better. Look at what one over-achieving season did for the basketball team and recruiting. The same would happen with football.