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Spring 2011 - Ranking The Big 12 Coaches
Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, & Gary Pinkel
Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, & Gary Pinkel
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 19, 2011


If you had to pick a coach right now to lead your program for the next five years and beyond, which one would you want? Who's on the hottest seats? When will each team deal with a coaching change? As part of the 2011 Spring Preview, CFN ranks all the Big 12 coaches based on the future and not necessarily on how good they are right now.


2011 Spring Preview - No. 13
 
Ranking the Big 12 Coaches
 

Here's the drill. You have to hire a head coach right now to lead your program for the next several years; whom would you choose? Forget about what happened in the past and forget about legendary status - you wouldn't hire Joe Paterno to build the franchise - you want a guy who can be the head man for a long, long time.

2011 Spring Preview  

- No. 20 Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50)  

- No. 19 - Is a smaller Big 12 better? 
- No. 18 - Who doesn't want to be Independent?  
- No. 17 - Should the SEC champ play in the BCS Champ?  

- No. 16 Top 50 Conf. Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Conference Games (No. 41-50)  

- No. 15 The Preseason Polls Will Probably Be ...

Schedules and Too-Early Spring Picks
ACC | Big East
Big Ten | Big 12
C-USA | Ind | MAC   
Mountain West | Pac-12
SEC | Sun Belt | WAC 
Age is a factor, being able to recruit helps, and the ability to do big things with mediocre talent doesn't hurt. So with that in mind, this isn't a ranking of the best coaches in the Big 12; this is a ranking of the coaches you'd want to lead the program for the next five years or more.

RANKING THE COACHES YOU'D WANT TO BUILD YOUR PROGRAM
- ACC Coaches | Big East Coaches | Big Ten Coaches
- Big 12 Coaches | C-USA Coaches | Ind Coaches
- MAC Coaches | M-West Coaches | Pac-12 Coaches
- SEC Coaches | Sun Belt Coaches | WAC Coaches

- Top 15 | No. 16 - 30 | No. 31 - 45 | No. 46 - 60
- No. 61 - 75 | No. 76 - 90 | No. 91 - 105 | Bottom 15 
 
1. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Career Record: 129-31

One of college football’s elite head coaches, Stoops has produced winner after winner despite the constant battles with Texas in the nasty Big 12 South, and not helped by a parade of upwardly mobile assistant coaches flowing through the program. No, there hasn’t been a national title in more than a decade, but the Sooners are in the hunt each and every year and are fixtures in BCS games. How good has Stoops been? Since winning it all in 2000, OU has won 11 games or more in nine of 11 seasons while winning or tying for eight South titles. Known as a defensive coach, his teams have been defined by offense, including the 2008 juggernaut that was among the best in college football history. While he might not have the mythic status of Bud Wilkinson (.826 winning percentage) and he might not have the folk hero status of Barry Switzer (.837 winning percentage), an .806 winning percentage puts him among the giants.
Hot Seat Status: Absolute zero. There wasn’t any pressure after a dud of a 2009, and it would take something truly disastrous to get anyone thinking about forcing him out.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In more than 15 years. He has been rumored for several jobs, and it was supposedly a rock-solid lock that he was going to take over at Notre Dame when Charlie Weis was fired, but he has adamantly said he wants to stay. At over $4 million a year, and turning 51 during the season, he’s not going anywhere.

2. Mack Brown, Texas
Career Record: 219-108-1

Much maligned early in his Texas tenure for not being able to win the big game, Brown, helped by Vince Young, validated his career and quieted all the doubters by winning the 2005 national title and going back to the BCS Championship in 2009. However, the 5-7 2010 season quickly took the bloom off the rose … and it’s not fair. Until last year, all Brown has done is win nine games or more in every season, including his final two seasons at North Carolina, since 1995. Before last year he won ten games or more 11 of 14 years, and again, until last year, Brown had Texas on a 1990s-like Florida State run from 2001 to 2009 going 101-14 with five top five finishes. But there was 2010. After his first losing season since going 1-10 at UNC in 1989, now he needs to come up with a big year or things will start to get interesting.
Hot Seat Status: Suddenly a bit toasty. It’ll take another bad year before he’s really, really in trouble, and he would be hired in a heartbeat by another big-time BCS school if he was let go, but with all the talent amassed and all the expectations, 5-7 isn’t acceptable in Austin.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In ten years. Brown will turn 60 in late August, Texas will rebound, and buildings and streets will eventually be named after the coach who turned Texas back into a national superpower. His .802 winning percentage at Texas is better than Darrell Royal’s .774.

3. Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Career Record: 150-86-3

It took a little while, but now he’s turning into one of college football’s top head coaches. While he’s not exactly the kind of guy who’ll put the lampshade on his head at parties, his no-nonsense approach worked through a mediocre start. It’s been forgotten, but Mizzou finished with losing seasons in three of Pinkel’s first four years and lost five games or more in his first six seasons. Just when the program appeared to be mired in mediocrity and the hot seat began to get a little toasty, Chase Daniel and company ripped off a 12-2 2007 season and the Tigers owned the Big 12 North winning at least a piece of the division title in three of the final four seasons. Only 3-4 in bowl games during his Mizzou tenure, Pinkel has to start closing stronger, but the fans will happily take more double-digit win seasons and wins like last year’s classic over No. 1 Oklahoma.
Hot Seat Status: None. Remember, it’s not like Missouri was challenging for anything more than winning seasons before Pinkel arrived. After three ten-win campaigns in the last four, it would take two very, very bad years before he’d be in any real trouble.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In seven years. About to turn 59, he might look like he has another decade in him, but he might not be the type who’ll be coaching into his 70s. Don’t expect him to be fighting for any other gigs

4. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Career Record: 47-29

While he’ll never live down the prefabricated “I’m a man, I’m 40” speech, his teams have started to rock over the last few years as the offense has hit its stride. Oklahoma State through and through, he was a good quarterback, a strong assistant, and now he has turned into a great head coach for the program. The problem has been his inability to get over the hump, even through the Cowboys finished second in the Big 12 South in 2009 and tied for the division title last year. However, a late loss to Oklahoma kept them out of the title game, and now it’ll take winning a ten-team league and not a six-team division to be a champion.
Hot Seat Status: None. T. Boone Pickens isn’t ready to make any sort of a change now that the team is humming offensively.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within ten years. Turning 44 just before the season, he’s very young and will be a hot property with one more successful year. He’ll get a whopper of an offer from someone in the near future and will make a Les Miles-like jump to a program that isn’t second banana in its own state.

5. Art Briles, Baylor
Career Record: 49-50

The guy came to Baylor actually believing he could turn around one of the most woeful BCS programs in America. While the mission isn’t exactly accomplished, he has made the Bears fun, exciting, and successful. He might be just scratching the surface with his best team yet coming back, but the schedule is nasty enough to make in a disappointing 2011. Even so, he has done a tremendous job with the upbeat attitude and the stubborn belief that he can create a consistent winner in Waco. A legendary high school coach who made a name for himself running the wishbone, he showed at Houston and now at Baylor that he could adapt and adjust. While he’s 0-4 in bowls and has a losing record, he has been terrific.
Hot Seat Status: The guy took Baylor to its first bowl game since joining the Big 12. He can stay as long as he wants.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In ten years. He has had offers to at least interview for several big jobs, but instead he has been adamant in his desire to stay at Baylor. Only 55, he’s still young, he’s recruiting well, and he’s making the program his.

6. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
Career Record: 12-13

It might sound crazy now, but Rhoads came in and cleaned up the mess left by the Gene Chizik era. The former Auburn defensive coordinator is trying to generate a winner in Ames, and he came painfully close to pulling off a big season but a loss to Nebraska slipped away. While his first two teams have hardly been world-beaters, he has done a great job making Iowa State competitive while coming up with a win over Texas last year and winning the Insight Bowl over Minnesota two seasons ago.
Hot Seat Status: Little. It might not seem like he’s becoming another Chizik, in a positive way, but he’s starting to get noticed. ISU is paying him relatively well, getting him over a million dollars a year, and is happy to have him.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within the next five years. Only 44, he’s young, talented, and will get offered a shot to run a bigger name program at some point in the next few seasons.

7. Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Career Record: 118-65

The Stanley McClover indictment isn’t a positive, and he didn’t make Texas Tech fans forget about Mike Leach, but Tuberville is an accomplished coach who doesn’t get his due for his success. Unceremoniously booted from Auburn just one losing season after finishing 9-4, and two seasons after going 11-2, he sat out a year before getting another shot at a big program; even if it was under tough circumstances. With six bowl wins in his last seven tries, and with a clean-up-the-mess 8-5 first year in Lubbock, he’s doing a good job. However, if the McClover story has any teeth, and if there isn’t more of a Big 12 splash, he’ll be under tremendous pressure to pull off a big season.
Hot Seat Status: Toasty. It’s not his fault, but he’s not Mike Leach, who’s still missed by many Red Raider fans. He doesn’t just have to come up with winning seasons; he has to do it with a bit of flair.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2013. The McClover accusations will blow over, but dealing with a ten-team Big 12 will be the bigger problem. It’s not going to sit well if Tech doesn’t finish in the conference’s top four on a regular basis.

8. Mike Sherman, Texas A&M
Career Record: 19-19

Thank you, Ryan Tannehill. Lost in the tremendous second half of the 2010 season was how the Sherman era was going nowhere fast. After going 13-18 over the first two-plus years, he made a key quarterback switch, Tannehill pumped life into the program, and A&M rolled to six straight wins before a bowl loss to LSU. Now there’s an excitement around what A&M might be able to do, and he has to capitalize on the momentum to get off to a hot start to prove the run wasn’t a fluke. A top offensive coordinator, his offenses are starting to work as originally hoped for.
Hot Seat Status: To paraphrase the famous Bobby Bowden saying, there’s only about a foot difference between a halo and a noose. Remember, Sherman had a great six weeks. He needs to have a great full season.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within three years. For all the great things the Aggies did, tying for the Big 12 South title, they still didn’t do enough to win the Big 12 title and now things will be tougher. Thanks to a nasty schedule A&M will struggle this year, and the program will have a big decision to make. If he’s done, even at 57 by the end of the year, he can immediately get a big job as a top assistant.

9. Turner Gill, Kansas
Career Record: 22-32

The legendary Nebraska quarterback might be the Bucky Dent of college coaches, coming up with one magical year taking Buffalo to the 2008 MAC title when everything, everything went right. No matter how it happened, he took one of the worst programs in college football and came up with eight wins and a miraculous championship. He didn’t have senior QB Drew Willy in 2009, his defense didn’t come up with a ton of turnovers for a second straight year, and the 5-7 follow up was a disappointment. Still a hot prospect, he was hired by Kansas and was at the helm for a disastrous 3-9 campaign. There’s a lot of work to be done, and he still has to prove he can recruit well enough to turn KU to a winner, but he’s young, smart, and talented. Now he needs some luck.
Hot Seat Status: It’s about to be blazing. It might not be fair to judge a body of coaching work on just two seasons, but if KU doesn’t show a major improvement this year, 2013 will be pressure packed.
The Coaching Change Will Come … After the 2013 season. The talent level isn’t going to be good enough to come up with a winning record over the next two years in the new, tougher Big 12.

10. Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Career Record: 149-80-1

The legendary head man who did one of the greatest jobs in college football history making long-suffering Kansas State into a power in the 1990s. Everything peaked with a stunning upset over Oklahoma in 2003 for the school’s lone Big 12 title, and it turned out to be the end of a run of six 11-win seasons in seven years. Over his last four years, with a gap between 2005 and 2009 when he was retired, he’s a mediocre 22-25. Even with the rough run since 2005, his career hasn’t been diminished in any way.
Hot Seat Status: The stadium is named after the guy.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In the next three years. It’s not back to the good old days, but he has done a decent job since returning to the sidelines. While he’s going strong, he’s also turning 72 this season. 

RANKING THE COACHES YOU'D WANT TO BUILD YOUR PROGRAM
- ACC Coaches | Big East Coaches | Big Ten Coaches
- Big 12 Coaches | C-USA Coaches | Ind Coaches
- MAC Coaches | M-West Coaches | Pac-12 Coaches
- SEC Coaches | Sun Belt Coaches | WAC Coaches

- Top 15 | No. 16 - 30 | No. 31 - 45 | No. 46 - 60
- No. 61 - 75 | No. 76 - 90 | No. 91 - 105 | Bottom 15