2013 C-USA Coaches
The Building Factor, Part 2
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C-USA Coaching Rebuild Rankings
Coach You Want To Build Around - Part
8. Carl Pelini, Florida Atlantic
Career Record: 3-9
The former Nebraska defensive coordinator gets to be a part of the big move from the Sun Belt up to Conference USA. The problem is the talent level – there isn’t one. Former head coach Howard Schnellenberger struggled during his later years with the program to bring in good prospects, and now Pelini has to try to do more with less. At just 47, he’ll have plenty of time and room to grow into the program.
Hot Seat Status: None. No one’s expecting anything less than this being a work in progress for a long time.
The Coaching Change Will Come … as soon as he has one decent season. Just the second head coach in the young program’s history, he’s not exactly getting the big-time paper. If the Owls start to succeed he’ll be offered a bigger deal, but this is still just a first job.
9. Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina
Career Record: 19-19
Just when it seemed like he was on his way out, he came up with the season he needed to have with a share of the Conference USA East title and his second bowl appearance with the Pirates. His offenses haven’t taken off like they were supposed to and the defense wasn’t anything special last season, but with a 7-1 conference record and a good team returning, it’s there to take the next step and win championship.
Hot Seat Status: Medium. Conference USA is significantly worse now than it was last season, and while he doesn’t have to win the title to keep his job, a losing season could be a problem.
The Coaching Change Will Come … within three seasons. The program’s hope is to get snapped up by a bigger conference, and if McNeill can’t deliver a league title soon, it might be time to go a different direction.
10. Curtis Johnson, Tulane
Career Record: 2-10
It was a bit of a curious hire at the time, getting the job after being a part of the coaching staff that made the New Orleans Saints’ offense rock, but he didn’t have any head coaching experience. He spent his career as an assistant, doing a great job with the Miami Hurricane receivers in the late 1990s, but his Green Wave attack didn’t blow up finishing 109th in the nation in total yards.
Hot Seat Status: None. The program has been down for so long that he’ll get plenty of time to get his players in place. Eventually the offense should start to work – it’s just a question of whether or not he can recruit.
The Coaching Change Will Come … longer than you might think. With the move over to the Big East, this is a long term rebuilding project. Just 51, Johnson will get the chance to build things up.
11. Ron Turner, FIU
Career Record: 41-61
Uhhhhhh, okay. While he has a long and interesting résumé, his time as a pro assistant was spotty and his college career wasn’t exactly special with just two winning seasons in his eight years with Illinois. He hasn’t been a head coach since 2004, fired after going 4-19 in his final two seasons. Even so, he has been around the block long enough to get a decent perspective; he’ll bring plenty of experience.
Hot Seat Status: Slight. Mario Cristobal was a terrific coach for FIU up until last season. With the move up to Conference USA, Turner has to be a winner – fast.
The Coaching Change Will Come … within three seasons. If the program was fickle enough to can Cristobal after his one downer, it’s not going to be patient with Turner for too long.
12. Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Career Record: 43-44
The former Florida State quarterback hasn’t been able to parlay his mild success into a bigger job. His Blue Raiders won a share of the Sun Belt title in his first season in 2006, and while they’ve been on the preseason radar to get the job done year after year, they haven’t been able to get above second. However, ha has had three good seasons in the last four and is coming off an 8-4 2012.
Hot Seat Status: Mild. Life in Conference USA is going to be more difficult, and if there’s another 2-10-like campaign like the 2011 disaster, it could make for a toasty 2013.
The Coaching Change Will Come … longer than it might seem. He had his chances at other Conference USA jobs over the years and stuck around. His Blue Raiders should be more than just competitive in the new league, but at 55 he isn’t a hot enough prospect to move on.
13. Dan McCarney, North Texas
Career Record: 65-100
He hasn’t been bad during his second head coaching stint, doing a decent job with a rebuilding North Texas program going 9-15 and helping to usher the big move up into Conference USA. He did wonders with Iowa State, getting canned just one year after winning seven games or more in five of his previous six years. A premier defensive line coach, he knows how to get a defense working.
Hot Seat Status: None. The program is still trying to build back up and he’s going to be given his chance to keep things going forward. North Texas was lucky to get him.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in less than three seasons. Between his age – turning 60 this summer – and the frightening stroke he suffered last year, he isn’t exactly the perfect fit to build a program around. However, he should make North Texas a tough out in Conference USA play.
14. Larry Coker, UTSA
Career Record: 72-25
Fun stat: how many current head coaches have won a an FBS national title? Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Mack Brown, Bob Stoops and Larry Coker. The head man for the epic 2001 Miami season and with 53 wins in five years – including a three-season 35-3 run as a Big East program – he had his moments. After being out of the game for a few seasons, he’s building the UTSA football team from the ground up.
Hot Seat Status: Zero. This is his program and he’s not going anywhere after an 8-4 season – even if most of the wins came against the weak and the sad.
The Coaching Change Will Come … within a few seasons. Turning 65 this year, he might be the one who’s creating the Roadrunner program from scratch, but the next head man will be the one to eventually make it rock and roll.