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The Coach You Want To Take Over ... 31 to 45
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. 31 to 45.

2011 Spring Preview 
The Coaches You'd Want - 31-45

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.

- 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 

45. Bill Stewart/Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia
Career Record:
Is the coaching situation going to screw up a team good enough to win the Big East title, or will the transfer of power by seamless and effective? Holgorsen is the head coach-in-waiting as Stewart gets one more year, and things will be very, very interesting. Holgorsen is a phenomenal offensive coordinator, but can he run the entire team? Can he recruit at a high level? He has star potential and the expectations are high.
Hot Seat Status: Medium-high. Mountaineer fans might hate Rich Rodriguez, but they loved his offense and Stewart couldn’t fill the shoes. Holgorsen will be expected to win and get the offense to blow up and do it with pizzazz to make the Mountaineers a national power.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. Either Holgorsen will be great and he’ll take over at Iowa whenever Kirk Ferentz is done, or it won’t work, the Mountaineers won’t win big, and he’ll be back to being a special offensive coordinator.

44. Kevin Sumlin, Houston
Career Record: 23-16

After rising through the ranks and shining as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator, now he’s up for every job under the sun whenever a stepping-stone opening comes up. Everyone wants a piece of the high-octane passing game he helped create, and while his defenses haven’t exactly shown up, he’s still a hot prospect.
Hot Seat Status: None. Houston wants to keep him from making the next move up in the progression. However, if he doesn’t come up with a big season with all the parts returning, like Case Keenum, there will be a little bit of grouchiness.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within three years. At 47 when the season starts, the time is now for the move up to a midrange BCS program.

43. Jeff Tedford, California
Career Record: 72-42

Has the window closed? There was a time about five years ago when it seemed like Tedford was about to make Cal a yearly Pac-10 powerhouse worthy of challenging USC for championships, Rose Bowl appearances, and more. But for all the great things he has done to take a program that did next to nothing before he arrived, he only has two ten-win seasons in his ten seasons, has tied for one Pac-10 title, has only one top ten finish and four finishes in the top 25 – ranking 25th in two of those years - and has yet to coach in a BCS game. Even so, his teams crank out speedy talents for the NFL, boasts a Super Bowl winning quarterback, and continues to be dangerous even with last year’s clunker of a losing season, his first since taking over the job. Now Tedford is at a crossroads. Going 13-12 over the last two years, and with Washington getting better and Oregon starting to rock at a level Cal was hoping to get to a few seasons ago, it’s time to come up with a big, splashy season.
Hot Seat Status: It’s not a hot seat as much as it is a stale seat. Tedford and Cal used to be able to get their share of top recruits, but now Stanford is starting to get more and more good players, Washington is back on track, and Oregon is the star of the new Pac-12 North. The Mark Richt of the Pac-12, Tedford can survive one more bad year with everyone around the program rooting for him to succeed.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In the next five years. It might be a case of all sides needing a fresh start. Tedford got Cal to Point B, but there might need to be a new energy and new ideas to change things up a bit. Tedford is only going to be 50 in November and could pick any offensive coordinator job he wanted and could be a natural at, say, Fresno State. With the Bulldogs soon to join the Mountain West and looking to make another step up in national attention, Tedfod, a former FSU quarterback and offensive coordinator, could be a great fit down the road.

42. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Career Record: 19-15

William Christopher Swinney took the Tigers to the ACC title game in 2009, but the bloom was off the rose last year in a disappointing follow up. Just when it seemed like the ultra-energetic head man might be in a little bit of trouble, he came up with a whale of a recruiting class to get everyone fired up about the future. Now he has to start winning more big games.
Hot Seat Status: Warm. Clemson coaches always have to deal with insane pressure, and the rise of South Carolina hasn’t helped. The 2011 recruiting class bought him another year no matter what happens this year.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. Welcome to Tommy Bowden part two.

41. George O’Leary, Georgia Tech
Career Record: 97-77

It’s okay to say it now; Notre Dame sort of screwed up. O’Leary resurrected his career by making UCF special with two Conference USA titles in 2007 and 2010 thanks to a hard-nosed formula that made him great at Georgia Tech and made the Irish want him a decade ago. His age, turning 65 just before the season, will keep him from getting a shot at a bigger-name job, but his reputation has more than been restored and he should have at least one more title in the run.
Hot Seat Status: Zero. He’s the best coach in the league and has been for several years.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In five years. He built a nice program and he gets to live in Orlando. Why would he leave? He’ll pass the torch after a few more successful seasons.

40. Randy Edsall, Maryland
Career Record: 74-70

After making Connecticut into a football school – at least somewhat – and after taking the team to the BCS last year, it’ll be his job to improve upon what Ralph Friedgen accomplished by making Maryland relevant. Now that he can get players he couldn’t get to Storrs, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do.
Hot Seat Status: High. Friedgen went 9-4 last year, won a bowl game, and it still wasn’t enough to stick around. Edsall will have to get the Terps into ACC title contention soon.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Five years. It’s Maryland. It’ll be impossible to have consistent success like everyone wanted to see under Friedgen.

39. Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Career Record: 12-13

It didn’t seem like a whole bunch of progress was being made considering Sarkisian had Jake Locker to work with and more athletes than the program was getting credit for. The Huskies were 8-13 in Sarkisian’s first 21 games and coming off a brutal stretch of three losses to Arizona, Stanford, and Oregon by a combined score of 138-30. And then came the streak. UW won its final three games to get bowl eligible before pulling off the shocker of the bowl season with a dominant 19-7 win over Nebraska, and now Sarkisian is being seen as the guy who can finally turn the former superpower back around. He has to deal with a burgeoning giant in Oregon in the new Pac-12 North, but he’s bringing in some good recruits and appears to be the man for the job over the long haul.
Hot Seat Status: More than it might appear. He’s only 37, bright, and has the personality you want in a head man, but he has to make Washington a consistent winner. There are too many positives about the program to excuse mediocrity, and if it wasn’t for the great final month of last year this would be a make-or-break season.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. The problem will be Oregon. Sarkisian might get Washington back on track and will make it a winner, but Dawg fans want to get back to the days of being in the national title discussion. With the way Oregon is rolling, it’s going to be tough to simply win the North.

38. Mark Richt, Georgia
Career Record: 96-34

The guy has won 74% of his games despite playing in the toughest conference in America, he has won two SEC titles, and he’s 7-3 in bowl games. His Bulldogs have finished in the top two in the East in seven of his ten years at the helm, he has been great at cranking out pro talent, and he’s one of the good guys in the game. Unfortunately, after ten years, the music has stopped in the game of SEC national title musical chairs and Richt is still standing. Not winning BCS championships is one thing, but going 14-12 over the last two years is another. No one at Georgia has any real desire to see him go, but he has to come up with a whale of a bounceback season or else it might be best for all sides to get a fresh start.
Hot Seat Status: He’s on the sun. Actually, he was on the hot seat three years ago when the Matthew Stafford-led team was supposed to be the star of the SEC and came up short; if Richt couldn’t win it all then, when was it going to happen? Nine wins keeps him around. Eight wins probably gets the job done. Seven wins will usher in a new era.
The Coaching Change Will Come … At the end of the year. This 2011 Bulldogs aren’t good enough to make the huge splash needed. Only 51, Richt will have his choice of mid-level head coaching jobs and can call his shot if he wants to be an assistant.

37. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
Career Record: 27-13

It’s not longer fair to say that Niumatalolo is only carrying on what Paul Johnson started; the program is now his. While he’s 1-3 in bowl games, he continues to do a strong job of getting his teams up for the big games – like Notre Dame – and he has done enough to be on the verge of getting some strong job offers. The former Hawaii quarterback is a no-nonsense coach who could succeed anywhere.
Hot Seat Status: Zero. He’s doing a brilliant job of cranking out winner after winner.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In the next five years. Only 46, he still has time to take the Navy attack elsewhere, but that could be on hold if Paul Johnson starts struggling at Georgia Tech.

36. Greg Schiano, Rutgers
Career Record: 59-63

Alright, so the bloom is off the rose with a disastrous 4-8 season after five straight strong years. Even so, Schiano is still doing a decent job on the recruiting trail and he’s still doing things the right way keeping the academic side of things up. With the way he made a miserable program good, he’ll have his pick of any mid-range BCS-league jobs if he ever wants to move.
Hot Seat Status: Little. He has been around for ten years, but what he did taking one of college football’s worst programs and making it relevant has been nothing short of miraculous.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Within five years. He was strangely quiet in when Miami was looking for a head man, but the former Penn State assistant could be the main target for the Nittany Lions very, very soon.

35. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Career Record: 51-36

The heart concerns are always going to be there after what happened after the Notre Dame win. At 55, he might not want to be doing this for another 15 years if the stress and strain are too much, but he’s feisty and doesn’t appear to want to go anywhere. He has done a great job of making Michigan State strong again taking a flaky program and making it rock solid, and even though he has been in East Lansing for four years and he won a piece of the Big Ten title last year, there’s a sense that things are just starting to take off.
Hot Seat Status: None. After the success of last year, MSU would love to keep him around for another decade.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2016. Dantonio might have been given a clean bill of health, but after the health scare, will be willing and able to keep up with the intensity of being a college football head coach into his 60s?

34. Danny Hope, Purdue
Career Record: 44-34

It would be great to see what he could do with a fully healthy team and with a few more talented players. He has had no luck whatsoever since taking over the program from Joe Tiller a few years ago, but he has managed to make chicken salad despite all the issues. He was a major success at Eastern Kentucky, he knows how to motivate a team, and he has nothing but respect around the Big Ten.
Hot Seat Status: None, but at some point the wins need to start coming. All the injury problems of last year made it a lost season, and he did what he could to rebuild in 2009. Even so, it would be nice if he could get the Boilermakers to a bowl soon.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Five years. He might be a great coach, but Purdue isn’t able to get the top talents and he’ll have a hard time making the program consistently competitive. Only 52, he’ll end up becoming a whale of a coordinator again.

33. Al Golden, Miami
Career Record: 27-34

After doing the near-impossible and making Temple a real, live football program, he’s going to try to restore the glory at Miami. However, he didn’t actually win anything at Temple, and now he has to 1) win championships and 2) do it all squeaky-clean and with the discipline that Randy Shannon provided. Young, energetic, and confident, he should be the right man for the job.
Hot Seat Status: Big time. Considering that Shannon did a solid job and got canned despite doing everything the right way, it’s ACC title or bust for Golden. He’ll get a year of grace period … maybe.
The Coaching Change Will Come … Five years. The expectations are unrealistic; it’s not 1984. Golden won’t be able to put a fence around the “State of Miami” with Florida, Florida State, USF, UCF, and all the big-name national programs taking players away from the talent-rich area.

32. Mario Cristobal, FIU
Career Record: 16-33

Talk about your builder of teams, Cristobal made Florida International into a real, live player in the Sun Belt chase taking the program from scratch and making it work. It took a few years, but he got the Golden Panthers to a bowl game with his tireless energy and ability to know the Miami area. The overall record might not look great, but he’s doing a terrific job.
Hot Seat Status: Zero. FIU is lucky to still have him. He would’ve been the better choice over Al Golden for the Miami gig.
The Coaching Change Will Come … 2012. FIU was able to get him for one more year, but at only 41 in October, he’s young, talented, and rising.

31. June Jones, SMU
Career Record: 92-64

His high octane passing game hasn’t exactly taken off at SMU like it did at Hawaii, but he restored some of the glory to the once-proud program. He’s getting paid well to do it, and he’s coming through with two good seasons after a rebuilding start. The Conference USA championships need to start flowing, but at 58 and with his tremendous résumé he’s proving to be as good as anyone in the league.
Hot Seat Status: None. Jones is taking the Mustangs to bowl games. With the Death Penalty still a part of the program’s identity, he’s changing that and now SMU is just a decent mid-level football program.
The Coaching Change Will Come … In ten years. He’s 58 and still has time left in the coaching world, but he’s not going to get a shot at a big-time job. With his $2 million salary, he’s not going anywhere.

- 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