2013 Coaching Rankings - The 5-Year Plan

Posted Apr 9, 2013

Which coach would you want to build your program over the next five years?

2013 Coaching Analysis

The 5-Year Plan, The Elite

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- 2013 New Head Coaches - Kent State to South Florida
- 2012 New Head Coaches - Southern Miss to Wisconsin

2013 5-Year Plan Coaching Rankings
- Part 1 - The Top 20 | Part 2 - 26-50
- Part 3 - 51-75 | Part 4 - 76-100
- Part 5 - The Bottom 26 

We did this two years ago. Take a guess how many of the 120 head coaches in 2011 aren't with their programs anymore? 57. Almost have of the coaches from just two years ago are gone, and it'll probably be close to that many two years from now. So with that in mind, which coaches would you want to bring in to build around?

It's simple: you have to hire a coach for your program with a five-year plan to build it up. Who'd be the best coach to take? No, this isn't a ranking of the best coaches in college football right now; this is a ranking of who'd be best to take over and be in for the relative long haul.

That's why age plays a huge factor - it's not a lock that a coach will still want to do this into his 70s - but it's mostly about who can get the job done. The younger, though, the better. 

It's simple: You have to hire a coach for your program with a five-year plan to build it up. Who'd be the best coach for the task? No, this isn't a ranking of the best coaches in college football right now; this is a ranking of who'd be best to take over for the long haul.

Age plays a huge factor — it's not a lock that a coach will still want to do this in his 70s — but it's mostly about who can get the job done. The younger, though, the better.
1. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Career Record: 46-19
The hot coach at the hot program, his offense is explosive, his teams are fun, and he's doing the impossible by going toe-to-toe with Texas along with the SEC in recruiting and winning. While he had plenty of help from former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and the rest of the coaching staff, he has been a steady and honest hand through the transition to the new league. He knows what he has and he knows his team, and he's able to maximize the flash and dash in a league that lives on power and defense. From Johnny Manziel at A&M to Case Keenum at Houston, his offenses get production out of the quarterback, and all the top recruits are noticing.

2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Career Record: 116-23
The only question mark is his health and well-being. While he didn't leave Florida on the best of terms, he still gave the school two national titles, restoration after the Ron Zook gap-bridger, and Tebow. All he has done at Ohio State is quickly pivot from the controversy and NCAA issues to put the focus on a 12-0 season and a few whopper recruiting classes to show just how good things are about to be. Turning 49 this season, he still has at least another 15 years elite-level coaching in him, as long as he doesn't melt down.

3. Nick Saban, Alabama
Career Record: 154-55-1
The only question mark is his age. While he's still going 100 miles per hour and is coming up with whopper recruiting class after whopping recruiting class, he's going to be 62 on Halloween. Yeah, you still want him to build your program for the next five years, but he became the perfect coach at the perfect place at the perfect time, and now the wheels are motion. With a second straight national title, a third in four years and fourth since 2003, his legendary status is cemented with more championships there for the taking.

4. Les Miles, LSU
Career Record: 113-42
The guy is a damn strong football coach. While he's turning 60 this season, he's still a hot enough coach to be able to use the Arkansas job as leverage for more paper. At the moment, though, he has taken what Nick Saban kickstarted and made LSU into a perennial superpower with national title-or-bust expectations every season. How good are things? Clemson coming up with a last second win in the Chick-fil-A Bowl was a program maker for Dabo Swinney. No, really, how good are things? In his eight years he has won ten or more games six times with an 8-5 2008 and 9-4 2009 the "down" period.

5. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Career Record: 199-68-2
Forget about what happened in the BCS championship fiasco against Alabama; the guy turned around Notre Dame and got it to the national championship. Now it's all about maintaining the success and building on it, and while he might not be quite the superstar as other coaches like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer have become, that's changing. After a dominant era at Grand Valley State, complete with two D-II national championships, he turned a woeful Central Michigan program into a MAC powerhouse before dominating at Cincinnati going 34-6 in his brief time. In 22 years of coaching he has had one losing season – the inaugural campaign at Central Michigan going 4-7 in 2004.

6. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Career Record: 149-37
How good is he? Oklahoma technically won a share of the Big 12 title, and it was still considered a down year. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer might have more national titles – 2000 is a long time ago – but no head coach has been more consistently great over this century winning nine Big 12 championships in 14 seasons and finishing second in the South in three other seasons. Six double digit win seasons in the last seven years 11 in the last 13, he's on a special run that's only losing a little bit of luster because of the big game bombs. The only BCS victory since winning the 2003 Rose came against lightweight UConn in the 2011 Fiesta.

7. Brady Hoke, Michigan
Career Record: 66-57
It's not like Rich Rodriguez was that bad, but he never meshed in Ann Arbor. Hoke was able to build off of the foundation set by RichRod and has been fantastic in his first two years going 19-7 with a Sugar Bowl victory. More than that, with some whopping recruiting classes, he has the program looking like it's going to be a player in the national championship race for a long, long time.

8. Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky
Career Record: 75-26
The controversy at Arkansas really was silly. It was an embarrassing incident, and it was a bit of a shocker when he was actually let go, but the program won't be able to find a better head coach over the next 20 years, including Bret Bielema. After paying his penance, he's working at Western Kentucky as a rental before getting a high-profile job again. However, after the all-timer was he left the Atlanta Falcons, and with the problems at Louisville and at Arkansas, it's a wee bit of an understatement to say he has baggage, but he's a whale of a college football head coach.

9. Chris Petersen, Boise State
Career Record: 84-8
Seriously? 84-8 in seven years? Dirk Koetter might have gotten the ball rolling, and Dan Hawkins did an amazing job, but what Petersen has come up with has been nothing short of miraculous. Talk all you want about being in the WAC and then the Mountain West; the Broncos and Petersen have more than proved themselves worthy with seven double-digit winning seasons out of seven. There might be coaches who have done more and there might be more famous coaches, but any list of who's doing the best job must have "Coach Pete" in the top five.

10. Charlie Strong, Louisville
Career Record: 25-15
One of the hottest prospects in coaching, he signed on to a bigger deal that should keep him around well into Louisville's move to the ACC. Getting through the Big East was nice, but the win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl jacked up his stock that much more. While his defense wasn't a brick wall last year, he's known for being one of the best in the business at cranking up the intensity. Expect big things in the future with his Cardinals coming into the season with tremendous expectations.

11. Gary Patterson, TCU
Career Record: 116-36
It's not a stretch to say that he's the reason TCU is in the Big 12 right now. After turning the program into a powerhouse in both Conference USA and then the Mountain West – with eight double-digit win seasons in ten years – all of a sudden it was worthy of a spot at the big boy table. Considering it was a bit of a retooling season, going 7-6 with a painfully close bowl loss to Michigan State was a great move up, and with some excellent recruiting classes over the last few years, thing s aren't going to slow down.

12. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Career Record: 50-39
The guy really and truly believed he could make Northwestern football a consistent power, and crazy as he might be, he's actually doing it. Only 38 and with the credibility of not just making NU a winner again, but also doing it consistently along with a real, live bowl win – a rarity for the program. The College Football Hall of Fame linebacker has brought the same fire, passion and intensity, and now he's on a run of five straight bowl appearances.

13. David Shaw, Stanford
Career Record: 23-4
Jim Harbaugh might have set the wheels in motion, but it's Shaw who actually did something big taking the Cardinal to two straight BCS games, winning a Pac-12 title and coming up with a Rose Bowl. Even more impressive was the way he pulled it all off last season after Andrew Luck left to become the architect of the Indianapolis Colts. Turning 41 this season, he's among the hottest coaching prospects in all of football.

14. Art Briles, Baylor
Career Record: 67-58
The guy actually did it. It wasn't all that long ago that Baylor couldn't even win a Big 12 game, much less go to a bowl, but all of a sudden the Briles offense worked. A legendary high school coach in the 1980s and 1990s, he stepped up, showed what he could do t Houston, and carried the fireworks over to the Bears. Now, helped by the huge season from RG3 and showing the production could continue without him, Baylor has become cool.

15. Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana
Career Record: 84-29
After doing big things with North Alabama winning two Gulf South championships, he did a nice job as an assistant at Mississippi State before taking over ULL. How good has he been? His 5-5 2004 season is the only campaign with fewer than nine wins, coming up with two straight 9-4 seasons and two straight New Orleans Bowl wins for the Ragin' Cajuns. Throw in the 25-1 run as the Winston Academy head coach, and he's 109-30 as a head man.

16. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
Career Record: 67-35
He's a man, he'll be 46 this football season. Still extremely young, he's on the verge of pulling a Les Miles and taking a step up to a mega-program in the next few years, even though he's being paid extremely well and is making Oklahoma State into a power. His program has become a factory for terrific offensive coordinators, but it all starts at the top. A year after getting within a whisper of playing for the national title, the rebuilding and reloading job wasn't that bad going 8-5 with a bowl victory. After winning nine games or more in four straight campaigns before last year, more big seasons are on the horizon.

17. James Franklin, Vanderbilt
Career Record: 15-11
Who steps into the SEC and says that Vanderbilt - Vanderbilt? - can be a real, live player in the SEC? The precocious 41-year-old has limitless energy, fire and excitement, coming out with every play and every facial expression. The ultimate player's coach, he's a hugger, a screamer and a salesman. The recruits and current players buy what he's pitching with two straight bowl wins and a nice 9-4 2012 season and top 20 finish. While he's doing a great job in Nashville, he has NFL potential.

18. Larry Fedora, North Carolina
Career Record: 42-23
Quickly growing into a red-hot coaching commodity, he worked through a rough situation at North Carolina and managed to put the pieces together for an 8-4 season. Southern Miss went 12-2 in 2011 under his watch, he left, and went 0-12 in 2012. Only 50, he's young, a good recruiter, and a great offensive mind.

19. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Career Record: 40-21
He's a little kooky and wacky, but it all works. With unbridled enthusiasm, he's a breath of fresh air in the world of stodgy jerkweed coaches who treat their jobs like they're curing cancer. Just when it seemed like he was in trouble after a rocky 2010, he won the ACC title in 2011 and has the program hotter than it's been in decades with an 11-2 campaign with the win over LSU. With great recruiting classes coming in, he's doing big things with a pressure-packed program.

20. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU
Career Record: 74-29
An elite talent who has done a fantastic job with the Cougars, he worked his way up as a defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Oregon State, to go along with stints at New Mexico and BYU before taking over in 2005. With seven straight winning seasons after starting out with a 6-6 campaign, he has put together some phenomenal defenses and the success keeps on coming. After winning ten or more games in four straight seasons, he has dipped under the nine-win mark in two of the last three years, but he's still cranking out great teams.

2013 5-Year Plan Coaching Rankings
- Part 1 - The Top 20 | Part 2 - 26-50
- Part 3 - 51-75 | Part 4 - 76-100
- Part 5 - The Bottom 26