This compilation was pretty popular and created a lot of discussion last year, so I thought I’d bring it back again. Keep in mind that I’m not necessarily saying these guys are bad coaches (though in some cases it is true). I’m just highlighting the coaches who, in my opinion, do not currently live up to the hype:
1. Steve Spurrier–Look at early season previews and South Carolina is on the list of potential breakout teams…again. Hasn’t it been five or six years in a row now that the Gamecocks were supposed to be a big deal? No doubt, much of this is residual respect for Spurrier, an offensive guy who hasn’t had very good offenses for SC. The media loves him because he is a good quote and grimaces on the sideline, but what’s he done lately?
2. Les Miles–He is living proof that pretty much any coach can win a national title if given the right situation. His 2007 LSU team was loaded but still lost twice and needed some crazy circumstances to win it all. He’s a questionable game manager and seems to do less with more every year. His teams appear able to beat anyone, or lose to anyone. Yet, he is somehow considered an asset in the SEC coaching fraternity because he won that one title. Well, so did Phil Fulmer….and what’s he doing now?
3. Lane Kiffin–Rarely has more been written about someone who has done so little. His bio from USC’s website reads like a North Korean propaganda pamphlet: “First-year USC head football coach Lane Kiffin is regarded as one of the game’s brightest young coaches…He is known for his high football IQ, as well as for being a vibrant leader and a master recruiter.” Who, exactly, regards him as one of the game’s bright young coaches? I’ll reserve that title for guys like Chris Peterson, Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin, thanks.
4. Rich Rodriguez–Here’s a coach who used to be in the ‘underrated’ category. But his tenure so far at Michigan feels like it has been completely bungled. Did he suddenly forget how to coach, or did the Michigan ‘culture’ push back too hard when he came to Ann Arbor? Whatever the case, he may not get out of this one with his reputation intact.
5. Jim Tressel–Oh, calm down. I know he’s a solid coach who sometimes finds the groove and gets his team to elite levels. But that stubborn belief in his way of doing things–especially his lack of imagination on offense–has probably cost him a chance at one or two more national titles.
6. Pat Hill–His early-decade swagger about playing anyone, anywhere, anytime hasn’t resulted in this program actually winning many of those ‘prove it’ games. But Hill still gets credit for being a balls-out coach. Scheduling against elite teams and losing to them doesn’t mean a whole lot in my book.
7. Jeff Tedford–He’s done very well by Cal standards, but at one time the idea was that he was a genius who would be a thorn in the side of USC. Instead, his program has been passed up by Oregon as the Pac-10’s No. 2, with Oregon State and Stanford nipping at his heels for No. 3. If only he could recruit and develop quarterbacks, he wouldn’t be in this situation.
8. Mark Richt–He seems like a nice guy, but Georgia fans must wonder how the Bulldogs could have the first pick in the draft (Matt Stafford) and the first running back taken (Knowshon Moreno) on the same team in 2007 and 2008 and come away without a national title. If he can’t win it all with those guys, when will he win it?
9. Ralph Friedgen–Things have been rough for the Terps since winning 31 games from 2001-2003. I’m not sure he would be so respected these days if he were thin…we seem to like our portly coaches, don’t we?
10. Joe Paterno–JoePa makes the list again only because he’s not really coaching this team anymore. He’s a figure head who gets most of the credit for the program’s success, but it is his assistants (primarily Tom Bradley) who get the job done.