Coaching Hot Seat Rankings - Mountain West
New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley
New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley
Posted Apr 5, 2010

Which coaches are on the hottest seats? Beyond just the idea of a coach possibly being fired for not winning, the rankings are also based on who's under the most pressure. Ranking all the Mountain West coaches and how much pressure they're under.

2010 Spring Preview
Coaching Hot Seats - M-West

2010 Spring Preview 
- No. 20 Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50)  
- No. 19 Is this it for the Big 12? 
- No. 18 Just how close the Big East has come to a BCS title?
- No. 17 Did ACC expansion work?
- No. 16 Why does the Pac 10 need USC to be good?
- No. 15 Just how hot is the Big Ten for expansion? 
- No. 14 Does the SEC title = BCS title? 
- No. 13 What's going to make you grouchy? 
- No. 12 The new superstars 
- No. 11 Ranking all 120 coaches and their hot seat status 

- ACC CoachesBig East Coaches | Big Ten Coaches | Big East Coaches
- Big 12 Coaches | C-USA Coaches | Ind CoachesMAC Coaches | M-West Coaches
- Pac 10 Coaches | SEC Coaches | Sun Belt Coaches | WAC Coaches 

By Pete Fiutak  

A hot seat isn't always what the media makes it out to be. When a coach is on the proverbial hot seat, usually it means he needs to win now or he'll be fired, but it could also mean a lot more. It could mean a coach needs to start winning because he's under pressure (Mark Richt), but isn't under real threat of being fired. It could mean he's winning, but is in an impossible situation and can't afford a slip (Jim Tressel after last year's loss to Purdue). Or it could mean he needs to win big just because he does (Urban Meyer).

So keeping in mind that for this, Hot Seat doesn't necessarily mean win-or-get-fired and it's more about who's under a lot of pressure (and yeah, in some cases it is a win-or-else situation), here's the ranking of the all 120 coaches and where they fit in on the warm butt scale.

Ranked from highest to lowest on the pressure scale

Mike Locksley, New Mexico
New Mexico might not have been a superpower under Rocky Long, but at least it was solid and went to bowls. Locksley's first year was awful, controversial, and didn't provide much hope.
Status: After an embarrassing first year, Locksley has to prove he can actually coach.

Steve Fairchild, Colorado State
A good offensive coordinator with a pro background, Fairchild appeared to be the one worthy of taking what Sonny Lubick started and running with it. A winning season and a bowl victory in 2008 set the tone, and then the balloon popped with a disastrous losing streak and a 3-9 2009.
Status: He could survive another 3-9 season, but after a winless conference season he had better turn the team around with a more consistent offense or 2011 will be tense.

Brady Hoke, San Diego State
The former Ball State star took the money and the weather by jumping ship to San Diego State. His first year was interesting and there's reason to be excited after the team became competitive with sparks of life.
Status: San Diego State has been an unwinnable place to coach. He doesn't have to win the Mountain West this year, but another 4-8 season will get the fan base worrying about another Chuck Long situation.

Bobby Hauck, UNLV
If Hauck can't win at UNLV, no one can. All the guy did was go to two straight FCS Championship Games with Montana and three in six years (but lost all three). There's a chance the Rebels are getting a rent-a-coach as several big name programs have had their eyes on him for years.
Status: After the mega-disappointment of the Mike Sanford era, Hauck could own the town with a little bit of success. Vegas is starved for a sports winner.

Dave Christensen, Wyoming
Christensen came in and took Wyoming to a great year and a bowl win, and now the expectations are starting to soar. If he could do that with a team that couldn't do anything on offense and had no talent on defense, what can he do going forward?
Status: It wasn't all that long ago that Joe Glenn was the hot coach, and then UW went back to losing. Christensen has a job for at least another three years based on his first season, but he has to prove to be a consistent winner in Laramie.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Yeah, Urban Meyer took Utah from Point A to Point B, but Whittingham has kept the program there going 47-17 with five bowl wins in five years. He has been able to keep the momentum rolling with a rock-solid team year after year and a great 28-12 conference record with a 2008 championship.
Status: He's getting paid like a good head coach (making a base of $1.2 million a year), but soon he could start getting paid like an elite one. Utah will try to do what it takes to keep him around.

Bronco Mendenhall, BYU
Mendenhall might not have gone to BYU (he played for Oregon State), but he might as well have with the way he understood the traditions of the football program and honored them from the start. Going 49-15 in five years with two Mountain West titles has endeared him to the faithful.
Status: He appears to be there for the long haul. Four straight seasons of ten wins or more (with three 11-win seasons) and three bowl wins in the last four will buy him at least three years if his teams start to struggle.

Troy Calhoun, Air Force
The former Air Force quarterback knows what it takes to succeed at a school with so many limitations. Three straight winning seasons and three bowl appearances with a team that doesn't have nearly as much talent as the top teams in the Mountain West is impressive.
Status: Fisher DeBerry might be Air Force football, but Calhoun is quickly forging a legacy for himself. It'll be tough to keep him around for too much longer.

Gary Patterson, TCU
Remember, it was a big deal when Dennis Franchione had left. All Patterson has done was go 85-27 in his nine years in the program including a Conference USA title, two Mountain West championships, a BCS bowl appearance and six ten-plus win seasons in the last eight.
Status: TCU has a proud, rich tradition, and Patterson is quickly growing into a legend to top anyone but Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien. He could've left for a bigger gig long ago, and didn't.