The Coach You Want To Take Over ... Bottom 15
Florida Atlantic head coach Howard Schnellenberger
Florida Atlantic head coach Howard Schnellenberger
Posted Apr 21, 2011

What coach would you want to run your program for the next five years and beyond? Who's on the hot seat? As part of the 2011 Spring Preview, CFN ranks all the coaches based on the future and not necessarily on how good they are right now. Here are the bottom 15 picks.

2011 Spring Preview 
The Coaches You'd Want - Bottom 15

Here's the drill. You have to hire a head coach right now to lead your program for the next several years from among the 120 current coaches. Forget about what happened in the past and forget about legendary status - you wouldn't hire Joe Paterno to build a franchise - you want a guy who can be the head man for a long, long time. Okay, so maybe you just want a coach to win right away, but you need a guy who can go on the recruiting trail tomorrow, bring in the talent, and then be there to win with the players brought in. That's why age is a factor and why so many big names are down low.

This is NOT a list of the best head coaches in college football. This is a ranking of the coaches you'd want to lead the program for the next five years or more.

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 
- 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 
120. Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic
Career Record: 157-140-3

He came up with one of the all-timer of building jobs making Miami into a superpower in the 1980s thanks to his famously putting a fence around the "State of Miami" to keep most of the top talent at home. He wasn't able to come up with the same success at Louisville or Oklahoma, but not done, he created the Florida Atlantic program from scratch and came up with four winning seasons in six years highlighted by a Sun Belt title in 2007. He has never lost a bowl game, going 6-0 including the 1984 Orange Bowl victory for the national title, and he'll go down as one of the most successful, most interesting characters in college football history. However, he's 77.
Hot Seat Status: None. This is his program. He's the president, emperor, creator, head coach, and everything else. He can stay until he's 90 if he wants to.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within the next few years. His recruiting classes aren't strong and the success isn't there. At his age, his great run is finally winding down.

119. Joe Paterno, Penn State
Career Record: 401-135-3

A reasonable case could be made that he's the greatest college football coach of all-time. To put his success into perspective, Wisconsin's Bret Bielema, only 41, would have to win ten games a season FOR THE NEXT 36 YEARS to surpass Paterno's record. The Penn State players still have nothing but respect for Paterno, and no matter how it's happening, the program is still succeeding. But, of course, age is the issue. He'll be 85 at the end of the regular season and he's not exactly the one you want to take over a program for the next five years.
Hot Seat Status: It's relative. There's a faction of the Penn State world that's ready to push him out and move on with the succession plan, but at this point there's no way, no how he'll get fired.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2012. It's one of the big jobs that several coaches would love, LOVE to get hold of. As resurgent as Penn State might have been over the last few years, in a way, the program is a dozing giant. The next head coach might have some giant shoes to fill, but he'll also inherit a program with everything in place.

118. Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Career Record: 2-22

After doing a phenomenal job of helping Ron Zook recruit the base of talent that would eventually win a national title at Florida, and after bringing in some of the stars that took Illinois to a Rose Bowl, the thought was that Locksley would instantly upgrade the talent level. Instead, New Mexico went from good under former head coach Rocky Long to a disaster, and the only thing memorable about the last two years was when Locksley hit an assistant.
Hot Seat Status: Fa-laming. He survived a scandal in 2009, but he's not going to be able to last another year without a huge turnaround. The only reason he's around is because the school doesn't want to eat the rest of the contract.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2012. One more year will be enough of the fun.

117. Todd Berry, ULM
Career Record: 34-67

He did a good job turning Illinois State into a power in the late 1990s with his high octane offense, and he parlayed the success into the Army job going a disastrous 5-36. He landed on his feet at ULM, working as the offensive coordinator before moving to Miami and UNLV as an assistant. He came back to ULM as the head man last year and went 5-7. Turning 51 this year, he has to quickly prove he can produce a winner.
Hot Seat Status: Not as much as it should be. He hasn't come up with a winning season as a head coach since the 1990s and has a 10-43 record since leaving Illinois State. On the plus side, the five wins last year were as many as had in close to four years at Army.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In a while. ULM hasn't had a winning season since moving up to the D-I/FBS ranks, and Berry will get at least a few years to try to make something happen.

116. 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.

115. Frank Solich, Ohio
Career Record: 98-55

Unceremoniously dumped by Nebraska despite getting the program to the national title game, he has carved out a nice second act at Ohio winning 40 games and making the Bobcats a regular in the MAC title game. He hasn't won a conference championship and his teams aren't exactly thrilling, but they're steadily good. The only reason he's this low on the lists is because of his age.
Hot Seat Status: Outside of an off-the-field issue with a DUI in 2005, there haven't been any problems. With two East titles and a second place finish in six years, and three bowl appearances, his job is safe. The Coaching Change Will Come … 2013. Turning 67 when the season starts, he won't want to stick around too much longer. His contract runs out in 2013.

114. Rob Ianello, Akron
Career Record: 1-11

A long-time assistant at a high level, he did enough as the tight ends coach at Wisconsin to become a key part of the Charlie Weis staff at Notre Dame. The interim head coach after Weis was canned, he never got a chance to be the head man. Snapped up by Akron, he was supposed make the Zip offense shine right away. Instead, Akron was one of the nation's most miserable teams.
Hot Seat Status: Red hot, even after one year. You lose to Gardner-Webb; you're on a hot seat. The team was so bad that another horrendous year would give him just one more shot. The team has got to be better after finished among the nation's worst teams in almost every major category. The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. He'll get his chances to turn things around, and it's not fair to judge a MAC team on just one year – remember, Miami was miserable in 2009 – but he's got a lot of work to do to merely get the program to average.

113. Bob Toledo, Tulane
Career Record: 91-103

A star at UCLA over a decade ago, he hasn't been able to bring the same offensive firepower or the same success to Tulane. In one of the toughest situations in college football, he hasn't been able to rebuild a program that hasn't been the same since the Hurricane Katrina disaster. While Toledo knows offenses, he has only four winning seasons in 16 years of coaching at the D-I/FBS level.
Hot Seat Status: High. He's in a tough situation trying to rebuild the program, but 13-35 in four years is a problem. Another dud year will mean a change.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2012. The Green Wave will have to shock to pull off a winning season, and at 65, Toledo's career is slowing down. He still has a great offensive mind and could be a good offensive coordinator.

112. Ron English, Eastern Michigan
Career Record: 2-22

A terrific defensive coordinator at Michigan and Louisville, English appeared to be ready to get his own program when he took over Eastern Michigan in 2009. He might actually be a good head coach, but EMU is one of the toughest situations in college football and nothing has gone right over the last few years. Only 43 in May, there's still time to turn his career, and maybe even EMU, around.
Hot Seat Status: Blazing. Not winning is bad enough, but English is supposed to be great at putting together defenses, and EMU was 113th in the nation in yards allowed, 118th in scoring D, 118th in sacks, and 119th in pass efficiency D. The Coaching Change Will Come … In 2012. EMU simply doesn't have the horses to come up with the year needed to think that things are on the right track. English will get a good assistant's job right away.

111. Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Career Record: 12-10

Age. He'd be higher up for what he's doing with the BC linebackers alone, but he just turned 64. The Eagles gets their share of top-shelf pro talents, but there aren't enough of them to do more than be extremely competitive. Extremely popular and a personable, hard-nosed coach, his teams will always run well and will always be physical.
Hot Seat Status: Little. After the Jeff Jagodzinski fiasco, BC apparently puts a premium on loyalty. It'll take a few disastrous years for him to be in any trouble.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years because of age.

110. DeWayne Walker, New Mexico State
Career Record: 5-21
It's almost impossible to win at NMSU and he had to start from below scratch after the Hal Mumme era. A great motivator and a one-time hot prospect, he was in the hunt for bigger jobs before going to Las Cruces. He hasn't helped himself with a rough start, and he'll end up being someone's great defensive coordinator again before getting another shot at a head gig … maybe. Turning 51 this year, there isn't a whole bunch of time to go through the cycle.
Hot Seat Status: Blazing. He has to win more than three games to have any shot of sticking around for 2012. It's Year Three and now the program and the problems are his.
The Coaching Change Will Come … December of 2011. The team doesn't look like it's going to make a big splash and could go winless.

109. Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Career Record: 3-11

Quinn won the 2006 Motor City Bowl when Brian Kelly took off for Cincinnati, and then soon followed to be the Bearcat offensive coordinator. He got the chance to take over for Turner Gill and then … pfffft. The Bulls were a disaster last year, and considering Quinn's talent at cranking out good offenses, finishing dead last in America in scoring and dead last in passing efficiency isn't a positive. Now the pressure will be on to show he can produce.
Hot Seat Status: Warm. It's Buffalo, so the expectations are very, very low. He can suffer another bad season, but he'll stick around as long as there's a little bit of improvement in the near future. The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. He really is a good coaching prospect, but the MAC Championship under Gill was a perfect storm; the program is one of the toughest in America to produce a consistent winner.

108. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Career Record: 33-30

The former Florida State quarterback has done a good job with the Blue Raiders finishing in the Sun Belt's top two three times in five years. A strong offensive coach, he has been able to get big numbers on a regular basis, but he only has two winning seasons and is mostly known for not being able to win the big one needed to take over the Sun Belt.
Hot Seat Status: A little warm. It's not like he has been bad, but it would be nice if there was an outright Sun Belt title. Just two years removed from a ten-win season, he'll get another few seasons to show what he can do.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In ten years. He's not exactly a hot prospect, and turning 54 this year, Middle Tennessee might be his destination. He'll be good enough to not get canned.

107. Mike Price, UTEP
Career Record: 169-167

Tremendously successful at Washington State, he overcame the Alabama fiasco to carve out a decent closing act to his career at UTEP. While his teams have been interesting, he hasn't come up with a winning season in five years and has just one bowl win as a head coach since 1994. His teams die in the second half of seasons and they haven't been close to a Conference USA title game in several years.
Hot Seat Status: Warm. He has been fine at UTEP, but not great, but he got the team to a bowl game last season. Bowl games are good enough, but he likely can't last if there's a disaster of a campaign.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2012. The Miners are in for a tough year with a slew of big replacements to make and a tough schedule to deal with. At 65, this is his last stop.

106. Neil Callaway, UAB
Career Record: 15-33

Callaway hasn't had a whole bunch of luck. UAB is a tough, tough gig with Alabama, Auburn, and even Troy to deal with for attention, and while he's done a decent job of making the program competitive, he hasn't had a winning season. He's still relatively young at 56 come November and could still be a strong offensive coordinator at an SEC school, but it'll take a minor miracle to turn the program into a winner this year.
Hot Seat Status: Up to 11. It's been four years and the Blazers haven't been able to turn a corner. It might be a win-or-else situation this season.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2012. The schedule is nasty and the team will be entertaining, but not great. A fifth straight winning season will bring a change, but Callaway will get an assistant job immediately.

- 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