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The Coach You Want To Take Over ... 46 to 60

CollegeFootballNews.com
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 coaches No. 46 to 60.


2011 Spring Preview
 
The Coaches You'd Want - 46-60
 

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.

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 

60. Jon Embree, Colorado
Career Record: 0-0

It should’ve worked. Dan Hawkins was one of college football’s hottest coaches after helping to take Boise State to another level, and there was seemingly no better place for the unconventional head man than Boulder. Oops. Embree isn’t exactly the anti-Hawkins, but his no-nonsense, tough guy approach could be just what the program needs to get back to among the elite.
Hot Seat Status: None. The Buffs need to rebuild and it’s going to take a little while to do it. Embree will get a free pass for two years.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2018. Embree will turn 46 in October, he has the energy, and he has the fire to become a strong new name in the coaching world. It’ll take a while, but he’ll turn things around with a more physical approach.

59. David Shaw, Stanford
Career Record: 0-0

It’s not like taking over the Stanford job is the same as stepping in at Florida. There are restrictions, there are the highest of standards, and there are plenty of barriers to keep the team from being special on a consistent basis. Jim Harbaugh might have set the bar at an unattainable level, and now Shaw, a former Cardinal wide receiver, has to prove he’s ready in his first head coaching gig. He’s a great offensive mind and he got a gift thanks to Andrew Luck’s decision to pursue his career in architecture.
Hot Seat Status: It’ll be a little warm right away. Everything he does for the next few years will be compared to the Harbaugh era, and he won’t have Luck around forever. He doesn’t have to go 12-1 this year, but Stanford has to be a player in the Pac-12 North.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. Good head coaches at Stanford don’t stay good head coaches at Stanford for very long. Harbaugh, Ty Willingham, and Dennis Green all left after a little bit of success, while Buddy Teevens (you can win a few bar bets with that name), Walt Harris, and even the late Bill Walsh stunk and were done in three years or fewer.

58. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Career Record: 0-0

Is he another Mike Leach or another Chuck Long? Wilson was part of the reason why the Sam Bradford Oklahoma offenses blew up and set a ton of records, and now he’s going to try to bring the same fun to one of the roughest coaching situations in college football. About to turn 50 this season, he’s finally getting his shot after two decades of being a top offensive coordinator, and he’s ready. Can he make the jump? He has never been a head coach on any level, and now he has to do the impossible and make IU relevant.
Hot Seat Status: None. There’s no pressure whatsoever. All he has to do is take the Hoosiers to a bowl game every three years and he can stay as long as he wants.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Five years. It’s Indiana. 1965 Vince Lombardi would struggle to come up with a consistent winner.

57. Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Career Record: 81-52

For some reason it’s just not working. There might have been scorched earth when he was done at Colorado and Washington, going 3-0 in bowls with the Buffs and winning a Rose Bowl in Seattle, but he was a success at both places. After paying his penance, he was supposed to make UCLA a power again, and now in Year Four and after two eighth place Pac-10 finishes and a ninth, everyone is left scratching their heads. He has recruited well, USC has hit the skids, and the window should be wide open for resurgence in Bruin football. Now he has to show he can really coach and has to come up with a big year to stick around.
Hot Seat Status: The heat shield has been deployed, but it’s not working. 15-22, a bowl win over Temple, and bottom-feeder Pac-10 status isn’t exactly what the Bruins thought they were getting.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Next year. He’s only 50 and he has a great offensive mind, but the results aren’t there. His 2011 team will be good. It won’t be good enough.

56. Butch Jones, Cincinnati
Career Record: 31-21

He followed Brian Kelly at Central Michigan and was wildly successful with MAC titles in 2007 and 2009. He followed Kelly at Cincinnati, and a year after being close to playing for the national title, the team clunked in an ugly 4-8 year. Jones is starting to recruit better, but 2010 was about rebuilding. Now the magic has to come.
Hot Seat Status: High. How can UC fans be kept down after so much success under Kelly? Jones doesn’t have to win the Big East title, but he has to show that things are quickly changing for the Bearcats after the disastrous 2010.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2014. Either he’ll rock and will be snapped up by a bigger name program, like Kelly, or the problems will continue and he’s one. Either way, something will likely happen in the next three seasons.

55. Mike Riley, Oregon State
Career Record: 69-54

Oregon State isn’t Oregon. It doesn’t get the same talent and it doesn’t have the same internal advantage (like Nike) to count on to make it a splashy program. Even so, Riley has kept his teams in the Pac Ten title discussion on a regular basis with the championship puck on its stick in the final weeks of 2008 and 2009. 2010 was a dud, but Riley has managed to come up with six winning campaigns in the eight years since rejoining the program, and he’s a terrific 5-1 in bowl games. To put it another way, he does more with less.
Hot Seat Status: A wee bit, but not really. The pressure isn’t there at Oregon State like there is at other schools, but it won’t be a plus if the Beavers struggle again this year. It’s not going to sit too well with the fan base to have to sit back and groove on Oregon becoming a perennial national title contender.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. Riley is an energetic coach, but he’s also about to turn 58. He won’t get fired any time soon, but in a few years the program will want someone to challenge Oregon for the North title. The pressure will soon be on for Riley to be the one to get it done.

54. Doc Holliday, Marshall
Career Record: 5-7

John Holliday is a fiery, energetic coach who knows West Virginia football and is the perfect fit for Marshall. The days of the Thundering Herd dominating at a national level are over, but there should be a few runs at the Conference USA title soon. His first year was a bit disappointing, but he’ll recruit well and he’ll make the program far better over the next few years.
Hot Seat Status: None. There’s a rebuilding job to be done, and he’ll get a few years to show what he can do.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In ten years. At 54, he’s not exactly going to be too upwardly mobile, and having been born in West Virginia and having gone to school at WVU, he’s in the right position.

53. 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.

52. Rich Ellerson, Army
Career Record: 68-48

As the man said, he can take his'n and beat your'n, and he can take your'n and beat his'n. He was able to take a struggling Army program and get it to a bowl game, and while his offense still needs to find a passing game, to get 12 wins out of the Knights in two seasons is a major success. After a brilliant stint at Cal Poly, with a little bit of luck, he might not be all that far away from taking Army to another level.
Hot Seat Status: Zero. He’s to Army what Paul Johnson was to Navy.
The Coaching Change Will Come … It depends. At 58 there isn’t much time to jump to a bigger gig, but he went to Hawaii and made a name or himself as the defensive coordinator at Arizona in the late 1980s. Even so, he appears to be enjoying turning around Army and he should be in place for the next several seasons.

51. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Career Record: 33-29

Here’s thing about Captain Intensity; his act works at Northwestern because is is Northwestern football, but it might not play anywhere else. Everything about his world revolves around making the program to be special, and it’s believable because he truly loves the program. As one of the greatest linebackers ever to play college football and possibly the greatest player in school history, there’s no better ambassador. On sheer will he’s taking the under-talented program to good bowl games on a regular basis, but there’s a ceiling on what the team can do. Is he a good enough Xs and Os man to outthink teams with far more talent? Yeah, at least more than he gets credit for. He’s a very, very good head coach … for Northwestern.
Hot Seat Status: None. He’s going to be a part of Northwestern football as long as he wants.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Not for a long, long time. His name will start coming up for other jobs after doing the near-impossible and making NU consistently good, but he really does have dreams of being Joe Paterno and being around for another 30 years.

50. Todd Graham, Pitt
Career Record: 33-20

After three ten-win seasons in four at Tulsa, Graham was the fill-in choice after the Mike Haywood fiasco. A winner who kept the Rice offense going in his one year at the helm in 2006, now he has to make Pitt more explosive while proving his teams can play a little bit of defense. They didn’t stop many teams in shootouts at Tulsa. He has to prove he can recruit like Dave Wannstedt did.
Hot Seat Status: High. Wannstedt was successful and was very, very close to going to the BCS. He didn’t get the job done and the program never got over the hump. Graham has to bring a Big East championship yesterday. The program didn’t dump Wanny just to tread water.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Five years. Offense … great. Graham’s defense … uhhhh.

49. 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.

48. Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Career Record: 127-73

This could be one of the more interesting new coaching hires to keep an eye on. Kill might not look the part, and he doesn’t have the innate jerkweed, 25-hour-workday coaching streak that most top ones have, but he’s really, really good. He has the right personality for Minnesota and he should bring the running game back to the program. Only 50 once the season starts, he’s ready for a BCS program after a wildly successful run at both Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois. He’s the right coach at the right program at the right time.
Hot Seat Status: Zero. There’s almost no pressure whatsoever after the Tim Brewster disaster.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 15 years. Kill isn’t going to take Minnesota to the BCS Championship, but he’ll make the program a regular on the bowl circuit and he’ll be able to stick around as long as he wants. He’s not going to get another big gig after this; this is his destination.

47. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Career Record: 12-13

The Syracuse alum has the job he wanted, and he’s trying to restore the glory. Things started to turn last year with a strong year and a thrilling bowl win over Kansas State, but he has to recruit better, learn how to win at home, and use his NFL offensive coordinator talents to make the attack more dangerous.
Hot Seat Status: None. It’s been years since Syracuse was strong, and Marrone will get plenty of room to keep trying to improve things. As long as the Orange is going to bowls, for now, that’s fine.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In ten years. Only 46, Marrone is still young, and at his alma mater, he’s not actively looking to bolt. He’d take a pro gig before going the college route again.

46. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Career Record: 186-73-2

As legendary as they come, the former Heisman winner is a Hall-of-Famer as a player, a superstar as an SEC head man, and one of the league’s great personalities. Truly one of a kind, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down with an SEC East title last year followed up by a loaded recruiting class that ranked among the best in the country. The only question is his commitment over the long haul considering he just turned 66 and notoriously likes his golf and his leisure time. How much longer is he going to want to do this? One thing is for certain, he has to go down as one of the greatest coaches in South Carolina’s mediocre history, and he might be No. 1 on the list with one more big year.
Hot Seat Status: None. That wasn’t the case last year as he failed to get the Gamecocks over the hump, but after last season’s success he can ride off into the sunset wearing a USC visor.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In 2013. He has a loaded team that should be in the hunt for the SEC title this year, he’ll want to see the latest recruiting class mature a bit in 2012, and then he’ll be 68 and ready to kick back while spending his Saturdays as a whale of a studio analyst.

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