2013 Coaching 5-Year Plan - No. 26 to 50

Posted Apr 9, 2013

You have to pick a coach to build your program for the next five years.

2013 Coaching Analysis

The 5-Year Plan, Part 2

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Coaching Analysis & Breakdowns By Conference
ACC | Big Ten | Big East | Big 12 | C-USA | Independents
MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt

- 2013 New Head Coaches - Arkansas to Idaho
- 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. 
21. Willie Taggart, South Florida
Career Record: 16-20
One of the hottest young coaches in the game, he went from doing a fantastic job with the Stanford running backs to doing wonders with a Western Kentucky program that needed a big overhaul. While he didn't win any Sun Belt titles, he got the Hilltoppers to a bowl game last season and put together some talented teams and left the cupboard full for Bobby Petrino.

22. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA
Career Record: 9-5
How long will he stick around in Westwood? A solid NFL head coach at Atlanta, despite the 32-34 record, he might be someday headed back to the next level if he has another big season or two. While his first season didn't exactly end on a high note, the future is bright with a slew of tremendous young talents to work around and a coaching staff that seems perfectly equipped to get through life in the improving Pac-12 South.

23. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Career Record: 69-45
Is it possible that he's among the most underappreciated big-time coaches in college football? While he's overshadowed by the Urbans and Bradys of the Big Ten world, he has more than held his own. He hasn't been able to take the Spartans to a Rose Bowl, but he got to the Big Ten championship game last season and has the pieces in place to come up with a huge 2013. At 57, he still has plenty of time left to become further entrenched as the MSU head man with a terrific 51-28 record at the school.

24. Bill O'Brien, Penn State
Career Record: 8-4
No matter what you think of the Penn State football program and the community as a whole, O'Brien did a whale of a job just keeping thing afloat during the most trying first season possible. Forgetting for a moment all he was able to do in the post-Joe Paterno era – at times he was the lone voice of reason when the bluster had to be toned down – he turned quarterback Matt McGloin into one of the Big Ten's most effective passers.

25. Dave Doeren, NC State
Career Record: 23-4
A terrific hire for the Wolfpack, he's considered an up-and-coming coaching superstar after taking Northern Illinois to the BCS. The Huskie program was already good, and Jerry Kill did wonderful things with it, but Doeren took it to a whole other level. 41, he has a huge future and limitless upside. His defense should quickly be among the best in the ACC.

26. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Career Record: 31-10
While he has been good for the Seminoles, he hasn't been able to take them back to the Bobby Bowden level. Fisher had an unfair task of having to replace a living legend, and he has done a nice job of turning the ship back around with a few monstrous recruiting classes and two double-digit win seasons in his first three years. Only 47, he's just getting started.

27. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Career Record: 37-13
At the very least, he has everyone talking about Ole Miss football. Houston Nutt, Ed Orgeron, David Cutcliffe and Tommy Tuberville all made noise to various degrees, but Freeze seems to have the best combination of Orgeron's recruiting ability, Cutcliffe's coaching chops and Nutt's personality. In just one year he has been everything Rebel fans could've asked for with a win over Mississippi State, a bowl victory and a whopper of a recruiting class coming in. Still new to the FBS head coaching world with just one season at Arkansas State before his one season at Ole Miss, and turning 44 this season, he's just getting started.

28. Mark Helfrich, Oregon
Career Record: 0-0
Chip Kelly might be given all the credit for being the genius behind the amazing Oregon offense, but Helfrich was the offensive coordinator since 2009 and should be able to keep the music going without much of a problem. The Oregon native was born for this job, and while he has Shaq-sized shoes to fill, after working with some of the best offensive minds in football at Arizona State and Boise State as well as Oregon, there's a chance he's able to come up with the tweaks needed to finally bring the Ducks a national title.

29. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
Career Record: 16-21
Who turns around San Jose State? MacIntyre didn't just make the Spartans good, in three years he came up with a whopper of a 10-2 season, pushing Stanford hard early and showing off a tremendously efficient passing offense despite the lack of big-time talent to work with. Is turning around Colorado harder? The 48-year-old not only got the offense moving, but a defensive coach by nature, he cranked up the defensive pressure with one of the best pass rushes in college football. It's going to be a process and it's going to take a little while, but this should a piece of cake compared to making the Spartans relevant.

30. Al Golden, Miami
Career Record: 40-45
Who turns around Temple? From 1-11 in 2006 to 9-4 and a bowl appearance in 2009, he did the impossible and recruited several great players, and now he's doing the same at Miami. He took the job with storm clouds brewing, and he has had to try keeping the program rolling even though the school chose not to go to a bowl game in each of the last two seasons and tapped out of playing for the ACC title despite earning the Coastal's spot. Now that Miami appears to be getting out of the problems, he'll get to show what he can do.

31. Lane Kiffin, USC
Career Record: 25-13
He's better than you think. Forget for a moment about how things went down with the Oakland Raiders, and try to forget how rough the Tennessee stint was. He actually turned around USC with the big 10-2 2011 season when there wasn't anything to play for. Okay, so 2012 was a disaster after starting out as the AP No. 1 team, but that was partly due to the NCAA sanctions; the depth wasn't there once injuries struck. 38 this football season, he's still young and still has a long coaching life ahead of him at a high level. A great recruiter, he'll always be fine as a college coach, but he'll eventually end up back in the NFL.

32. Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State
Career Record: 10-4
It's only been one season, but he did wonders at Fresno State and he has a killer of a team coming back. Pat Hill might have done an amazing job, but DeRuyter appears capable of taking things to a whole other level. The former Texas A&M defensive coordinator got his shot, and he's making the most of it with his attacking D doing wonders and his offense ultra-efficient and effective. At just 50, his head coaching career is just getting started.

33. Will Muschamp, Florida
Career Record: 18-8
Just when it seemed like he was able to show all the promise and potential that made him the hottest young head coaching prospect in college football a few years ago, the Gators didn't show up in the Sugar Bowl and got pantsed by an inferior Louisville team. Even so, turning 42 this August, he has a very, very long coaching career ahead of him and is still one of the top recruiters and one of the most brilliant defensive minds in all of football. The expectations might be through the roof for Florida head coaches, but last season – at least over the first 12 games - he showed what the team could potentially do on a regular basis.

34. 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.

35. Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State
Career Record: 0-0
Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn … Bryan Harsin? The former Boise State quarterback and Bronco and Texas offensive coordinator knows how to get an offense moving and he's considered by insiders as the next big thing in the coaching circuit. Turning 36 this season, he's going to have a long career with lots of big opportunities coming his way, but first he has to do a bit of a reloading job. Arkansas State loses several key parts and isn't going to be quite the team Freeze and Malzahn had to work with.

36. 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. 

37. Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Career Record: 49-20
He's better than you think. For all of those looking for Nebraska to avoid sliding into mediocrity, whether it seems like it or not, Pelini has pulled the program out winning nine games or more in each of his five seasons and with three ten-win campaigns in the last four. True, the Huskers haven't exactly shown up in the last three bowl games, and getting hammered by Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship wasn't fun, but he's winning.

38. Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Career Record: 30-31
Utah State was an impossible program to turn around. Mired in a slew of losing seasons with no hope in sight, Andersen stepped in after a 4-7 season at Southern Utah and six years as an assistant at Utah and did pulled it off. It took a few seasons, but last year's fantastic 11-2 run was enough to earn the respect of Barry Alvarez and get the plum Badger gig. At 49, he's still young and has time to grow the program.

39. Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion
Career Record: 38-10
Growing into a red hot prospect, Wilder stepped in and won right away as an FCS independent before finishing tenth in the nation in 2011 and third last season. He has ODU rocking at just the right time with a move to Conference USA coming next season and the best offense in the FCS about to start throwing at will in one year as an independent. The former Maine quarterback and offensive coordinator is going to become very big, very fast.

40. Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Career Record: 26-25
Considering how bad Washington was when Sarkisian took over, the tenure hasn't been too bad, but it's not like he has taken the Pac-12 by storm. The former BYU quarterback cranked out three straight 7-6 seasons after starting out 5-7, but Oregon and Stanford have grown into mega-powers during the stretch and the Dawgs are treading water. Even so, he's doing a decent job and at 39 years old, he's just getting his coaching career started and has a tremendous future ahead.

41. 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.

42. 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.

43. 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.

44. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
Career Record: 149-65
The grand experiment is actually working. It's now Year Six in the Georgia Tech era after doing wonders with a Navy program that wasn't going anywhere, and while he won the ACC title in his second year - vacate, schmacate – and broke the bowl hex by beating a lifeless USC in the Sun, he has to do even more after sputtering a bit. At 55, there's still plenty of time left in his career, but his offensive style isn't for everyone. When teams get time to prepare for the option, things don't go well.

45. Troy Calhoun, Air Force
Career Record: 47-31
While not quite as hot as he was a few years ago, he's still doing a terrific job at his alma mater. Despite all the restrictions and recruiting issues to fight through, he's still getting his Falcons to a bowl game on a yearly basis and he's still keeping the program competitive. However, the Mountain West is improving and the program isn't able to take a huge step forward and get to ten wins once in a while; the horses just aren't there.

46. 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.

47. Kyle Flood, Rutgers
Career Record: 9-4
The 42-year-old is very young and very good. An elite offensive line coach, he did a nice job in his first season after Greg Schiano left coming up with a tie for the Big East title. While he needs to come up with a few more good seasons to become a hotter property, he's got the tools and abilities to build on what Schiano created and do even more with it.

48. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Career Record: 5-19
After a wildly successful stint as the Oklahoma offensive coordinator, he came to Indiana to kick some butt and turn around the impossible program. It hasn't been pretty so far going 5-19, but it's Indiana; it's going to take a while. He's recruiting well and he's bringing in the right guys to make his offense fly, but it's still going to take a little bit. The 51-year-old will get time.

49. Mike London, Virginia
Career Record: 40-26
The bloom is a bit off the rose after a terrific 8-5 2012 season, but the 52-year-old is still among the better coaching prospects after going 24-5 with a national title at Richmond while starting to turn around the Cavaliers. It's not the easiest program to make into a consistent powerhouse, but he's a terrific defensive coach who still might be scratching the surface.

50. Darrell Hazell, Purdue
Career Record: 16-10
Who makes Kent State a winner? In just two years the former star Ohio State assistant made the woebegone program respectable in his first year and then blew up last season with a run to the MAC title game and a near miss for the BCS. 49 this year, he's young, ready, and experienced enough to know exactly what to do to make Purdue relevant again.

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