2013 Pac-12 Coaches
The Building Factor, Part 2
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Pac-12 Coaching Rebuild Rankings
Coach You Want To Build Around - Part
7. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
Career Record: 134-93-2
It might have been a painful and ugly divorce from West Virginia, but he came within a hiccup of playing for the national title. He might never have fit in at Michigan, but he created the foundation that Brady Hoke used to win a Sugar Bowl. In just one year at Arizona, his offense clicked at every level, but like his Michigan era, his defense didn’t show up. He appears to have found a home in Tucson, and at the very least it should be a fun ride with this attack putting up huge numbers.
Hot Seat Status: Little. It’s been years since Arizona football had made any noise, and as long as he’s going to bowls and coming up with some nice wins here and there, everything will be fine for now.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in more than five years. This should be interesting to watch. He’s not a pro coach and he won’t move on to the next level, and the Michigan stint was such a disaster that the bigger programs will be gunshy. 50 this season, he still has a long way to go, but he’s in a good spot and a good conference for his offense.
8. Todd Graham, Arizona State
Career Record: 57-34
It’s been an interesting run so far, doing a great job at Rice and Tulsa to lead to the Pittsburgh job, where a 6-6 season and a fourth-place Big East finish was enough to get the open Arizona State job. In a slight shocker, his Sun Devils were fantastic going 8-5 with a dominant bowl win over Navy. A defensive coach by nature, it was his offense that took center stage at ASU, but with his style he might be the right coach to counterbalance all the high-octane Pac-12 attacks.
Hot Seat Status: None. After all the drama with Arizona State coaches over the last several years, he can afford a rebuilding year or two as long as there’s hope for big things down the road.
The Coaching Change Will Come … it all depends on his success. Arizona State isn’t going to be his longtime home if he has any major success – plenty of people at Pitt have problems with his loyalty – but the 48-year-old has never coached in the NFL and he was a high school coach up until 2001. Without strong ties to any one place, he could be a wild-card.
9. Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Career Record: 71-32
The bloom is a bit off the rose after the clunky way 2011’s regular season ended and with last year’s 5-7 disappointment. Everything was fine in the Mountain West with 42 wins in his last four seasons, and then came the move to the Pac-12 and then came the problems. While he’s still considered a top defensive coach and he’s only going to be 54 in November, he’s not the hot prospect he was after his team ripped up Alabama to finish 13-0 in 2008.
Hot Seat Status: Mild. He’s only a few years removed from when he made the program rock, and he’ll get more time to show what he can do – a little more time. Another losing season would be a big problem.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in the next two years. The program has to deal with a division with UCLA, USC, Arizona and Arizona State, who are all improving at the same time, not to mention Colorado under Mike MacIntyre. It’s going to be hard to work up to ten wins again like in the Mountain West days.
10. Mike Riley, Oregon State
Career Record: 81-67
It’s been an interesting career with a stint with the San Diego Chargers and success in his first run at Oregon State, and now, after it looked like things were about to come to close after a 3-9 2011, he came up with a fantastic 9-4 campaign with a win over Wisconsin. It’s hard to get the top talents to Corvallis, and life is even harder with Oregon, Stanford and others doing so well in the North. Even with the limitations, he’s still a winner who has managed to do a lot with relatively little.
Hot Seat Status: Mild. After two straight losing seasons he was starting to get into a little trouble, but he bounced back strong. He’s a strong coach who should be there for a while as long as there isn’t another 3-9 clunker in the near future.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in more than five years. Can he really be turning 60?! He looks and works like a much younger coach, but he has found his niche. He’ll be at OSU for the next several years.
11. Mike Leach, Washington State
Career Record: 87-52
Is he worth all the trouble? He didn’t leave Texas Tech under the best of circumstances, and he struggled in every way in his first year with Wazzu. There was controversy, big losses and a lack of consistent production as the team finished last in the Pac-12 North. The thing to remember is that for all the high-powered offensive wizardry, he hasn’t really won anything. The best he was able to do at Texas Tech is tie for the division title in 2008, and then managed to go on and lose the Cotton Bowl. Only 52, he has a long coaching life ahead of him.
Hot Seat Status: Medium. The controversy with receiver Marquess Wilson, even though it was determined that Leach wasn’t being abusive, combined with the poor record wasn’t the way to kick things off. He has to start winning and make the Cougars a player in the North, but he’ll get a few years to do it.
The Coaching Change Will Come … within five years. Either he’ll be great and will quickly move back up the coaching ranks, or his act and personality will wear thin in a huge hurry.
12. Sonny Dykes, California
Career Record: 22-15
Offense, good. Defense, bad. While he managed to win a WAC title at Louisiana Tech in 2011, his team couldn’t get by Utah State and San Jose State in a better 2012, even if the team finished third and didn’t go bowling. He has yet to prove himself at a high level and hasn’t come up with nearly enough big wins, but still, Cal thought enough of him as a prospect to make him the new head man to try to hang punch-for-punch with the top Pac-12 offenses. 44 this year, this is the step-up job he’s been ready for.
Hot Seat Status: Medium. He needs to prove early on that he can actually coach at a high level. His Louisiana Tech team was full of veteran offensive playmakers and a young superstar running back in Kenneth Dixon; at the very least, the Cal O has to work right away.
The Coaching Change Will Come … within five years. The defense won’t do anything and the offense won’t be consistent enough to win the North, much less the Pac-12.
Coach You Want To Build Around - Part