2013 SEC Coaches
The Building Factor, Part 2
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SEC Coaching Rebuild Rankings
Coach You Want To Build Around - Part
7. Butch Jones, Tennessee
Career Record: 50-27
Can he do for Tennessee what Brian Kelly is doing for Notre Dame? Jones is following the same career path going from Central Michigan head man to Cincinnati’s guy to a big-time gig restoring a premier program, but he has a ton of work to do for a school that’s not all that far removed from being a superpower. Just 45, he’s taking over at just the right time after Derek Dooley didn’t make enough noise and Lane Kiffin made too much. He won four conference championships in his last six seasons as the head man of CMU and UC, and now he’s expected to make the Vols shine again.
Hot Seat Status: Set a couch on fire flaming. He’ll get one year to rebuild, but there had better be a bowl game at the end of the rainbow. Fair or not, Year Two ahs to rock.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in more than five years. He’s a good one. He’ll get the offense going and should make Tennessee a consistent power again, but five years from now he’ll have to get the Vols in range of a national title. No pressure.
8. Mark Richt, Georgia
Career Record: 118-40
It’s not fair, but being a nice guy doesn’t necessarily translate into production. However, it does buy time, and if he was a jerkweed he would’ve been launched after the 6-7 2010 season. By almost any standard he has been one of college football’s premier head coaches over the last decade, but there’s one giant, glaring empty national title space that needs to be filled. Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Alabama and Auburn have all won national championships in the BCS era, and Georgia is the only superstar program that hasn’t been able to get it done. Again, it’s not fair that 118 wins, six East titles and two SEC championships in 12 seasons isn’t enough, but it’s not enough.
Hot Seat Status: Always hot. The school has committed to him and he was one tipped pass away from probably winning the 2012 national title, but close in the SEC gets you the Capital One Bowl.
The Coaching Change Will Come … within five years. He’ll either have one bad year or he’ll get one mega-offer and will leave in a time-for-a-change-of-scenery mode. Just 53, he has more than a decade of high-end college coaching left to do, and with his track record, personality and talent, someone at Georgia level – Richt was born in Omaha - is going to offer him the world.
9. Bret Bielema, Arkansas
Career Record: 68-24
Barry Alvarez saw it very, very clearly. Among the underground coaching circles, Bielema was considered to possibly the next Urban Meyer in terms of mindset, attitude and talent, and Wisconsin made absolutely sure the next superstar was going to stay in Madison in a nearly-flawless transition of power. After starting out 12-1 with a top five finish, he sputtered a bit two years later before coming back roaring with four straight ten-win seasons with three Big Ten titles and three Rose Bowls. However, as Alvarez liked to point out a bit too openly, the 43-year-old didn’t win in his two trips to Pasadena. Brash, bullish and very, very confident, he suddenly and shockingly took off to try to crank things up at Arkansas.
Hot Seat Status: Blazing. He has to win and win right away, even with all the problems the program had last season. Part of the idea of bringing him aboard was to be able to beat the top teams without the five-star talent – like he did at Wisconsin. It might take a little while to get everything in place like he did in Madison, and he’ll get about a year of grace period, but Arkansas went big game hunting for a coach and got Bielema for a reason.
The Coaching Change Will Come … faster than you think. Here’s the problem. While Bielema did great things at UW, and he came up with two wins in the first two Big Ten championships and a few times against Ohio State, Wisconsin didn’t exactly play in the SEC West. Alabama and LSU aren’t going away.
10. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Career Record: 29-22
Known as the offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer’s reign at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida – and known as the guy who helped make Tebow, Tebow – he’s doing a good job with a tough situation. If Mississippi State was in any other division in college football and in any other conference, it wouldn’t be 13-19 over the last four seasons in league play. While he has put together three straight winning seasons highlighted by a strong 2010, all of a sudden, a really, really big win has to come soon.
Hot Seat Status: Not bad - yet. It’s not fair that he’s putting together strong recruiting classes and doing a nice overall job, but can’t make a dent in the SEC West world. However, while no one will blame him for losing to Alabama, he can’t lose 41-24 to Ole Miss.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in more than five years. Only 41 this season, he’s young and has a bright future ahead. At the very least he’ll be a big-time offensive coordinator, but more than likely he’ll fight the good fight in Starkville and will do an amazing job only to have little in the win-loss record to show for it.
11. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Career Record: 9-3
Everyone wondered what he was doing at Arkansas State for a year when the Arkansas gig was there for the taking, along with several other high-profile jobs. He was getting a year under his belt running a college program after years of doing big things as a legendary high school coach before serving as a top-shelf coordinator. He’s more than ready to handle the big-time, and while he has to show that he’s more than just an offensive whiz, he’s a big-time talent who’ll get the woeful offense moving again.
Hot Seat Status: Non-existent, for now. After last season’s disaster, any improvement will be a plus, and if it’s another awful year, it’ll be blamed on Gene Chizik. He’ll get two years to turn things back around, and then he needs to beat Alabama.
The Coaching Change Will Come … if the NCAA dives into the latest mess and finds something. The controversy isn’t going to fizzle any time soon, and Malzahn will have to deal with a slew of outside distractions while also needing to improve even though everyone else in the division has gotten better.
12. Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Career Record: 90-61
He deserves a world of credit for making Missouri football relevant, taking the program to No. 1 in the nation in 2007 and three Big 12 North titles in four seasons before slipping a bit in 2011 and struggling in the first year in the SEC. Phenomenal at Toledo, it took him a few years to finally get things going in Columbia, and now it might take a little while to make it all work in the new league. However, it’s going to take a big of a philosophy change on the lines and vastly improved play at the skill spots to get back to the level of a few years ago.
Hot Seat Status: Medium. With the change to the SEC, one more bad year will bring the belief that the program has to go another direction to handle the different style of play. At 61 this season, he’s starting to get up there in years, even though his energy and fire haven’t appeared to diminish one bit.
The Coaching Change Will Come … further down the road than it might appear. If he can get a steady season out of quarterback James Franklin, and if the passing game starts to click again, the team will start to turn back around.
13. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Career Record: 0-0
Bob Stoops – legend. Mike Stoops – working again for his brother after struggling at Arizona. Mark Stoops - ? There’s no questioning his lineage and he has the chops as a defensive coach to field a team that can bang around with the SEC big boys, but he’s an X factor. He has never run his own show spending his career as a top assistant, but he’ll get a long change to finally make UK a consistent winner.
Hot Seat Status: Zip. Kentucky was miserable over the last few seasons, and while there was mild success under Rich Brooks, and Guy Morriss and Hal Mumme did some nice things, it’s going to be a big rebuilding process.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in more than five years. Joker Phillips got three seasons, but things were trending downward. Stoops won’t win the East right away, but there should be steady improvement as he gets more and more time to work.
14. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Career Record: 208-77-2
Age is the only thing keeping him down the list. While he’ll always be known for what he did at Florida, a reasonable argument could be made that he’s doing some of his best work with the Gamecocks. Remember, even with a nice few years under Lou Holtz, and a little bit of success here and there, South Carolina had no real history of success and little consistency. Spurrier has not only won, he has been able to bring in the top-shelf talents to keep the program just on the national title fringe. Still one of football’s premier ball coaches, he’d be near the top of the list of guys you’d want in a one game shot.
Hot Seat Status: Ice cold. South Carolina won its first division title under his watch and the program is showing no signs of slowing down. He’ll always be a Gator, but he’ll get a statue in South Carolina.
The Coaching Change Will Come … in the next few years. 68 this season, he might be one of the top coaches right now, but there’s a golf course with his name on it.
Coach You Want To Build Around - Part