We rank 'em. You react. That's how the Daily List rolls.
8/20/2007 11:20:00 AM
Top Five College Football Coaches
Steve Spurrier is the kind of coach you love when he's guiding your team.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
I am a fan of the University of Georgia, meaning I am a supporter of head coach Mark Richt. He handles the media well, recruits hard, has never won less than eight games in a season, has won two SEC titles...but there's always a little doubt in my mind. Georgia's good, but what if it could be better with a different coach? If I were the Athletic Director and could bring in anyone I want, who would I go after? I'm sure this is a shared experience for college fans, chewing over the what-ifs and daydreaming of what things might be like with a different coach on the sideline. So, all emotions and loyalties aside, here are the top five current college football coaches I would want to coach my team.
1. Steve Spurrier: He tormented the Dawgs for years, but that's exactly why I'd hire him: The Head Ball Coach has a killer instinct and desire to not just win but dominate opponents. He tends to be more successful at schools where they let him bend the admissions rules a bit. Wouldn't be a problem if I was hiring him to come to my school.
2. Rich Rodriguez: I don't know what it is exactly, but I like the way Rodriguez goes about his job. Maybe it's the sweatbands and baseball caps, but he just looks like a guy who can coach. Also, he's gone 30-7 the last three seasons, which doesn't hurt.
3. Joe Paterno: OK, so he's 80 years old and probably wouldn't want to put up with the hassle of a new gig, but I'd make it worth his while financially and throw in a case of multi-vitamins. He might be past his prime, but I love his pluck and vigor -- it would be like having Regis Philbin coach your school.
4. Urban Meyer: I don't mean to stay on the East Coast, but it's hard not to select Meyer after what he pulled off last season. There was a certain brilliant audacity to his play-calling: Whenever Tim Tebow entered games, Florida ran quarterback draws. EVERY TIME! And somehow nobody figured it out and Meyer just kept making the plays work.
5. Pete Carroll: There's something about Carroll that strikes me as odd, but it's hard to argue with his success. Or his recruiting.
If you could hire anyone to coach your college, who would it be? Give us your nominations below...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
As Urban Meyer demonstrated last year with Tebow, at some point a coach needs to have the testicular fortitude to tell you exactly what's coming and then do it anyway. Major bonus points if they do it in crunch time and embarrass the other team along the way. That's why Chris Petersen has to be at least considered on the list.
This is such a stupidly bad list it defies understanding. Are you kidding that you would leave off Jim Tressel? He is 62-14 at OSU, 5-1 over Michigan (we all know that beating your rival is all that matters), 4-2 in bowl games, has an 88.9% winning mark at OSU, and has led the Buckeyes to two National Championships in 5 years, winning one. Then look at his stats at Youngstown State: during the 1990s, Youngstown State had a record of 103-27-2, the most wins by any Division I-AA team and fourth most of both Division I-A and I-AA combined. Four National Championships. With his 5 national championships, Tressel is one of only two active coaches with 5 or more national championships in any division (only Larry Kehres of Division III Mount Union College has more with 9). Tressel's overall record at Youngstown was 135-57-2. Urban Meyer? The flavor of the month. Sure, he's been great recently, but lets see how he does at Florida with his own recruits, rather an inherited team. Yes, we all know that he won last year over OSU - after OSU had been off for over two months. Play that game immediately after the season when both teams were in rhythm and the game would have been much better, and a lot closer. Blame that one on the horrible lack of a playoff system in college football. I won't say who would have won, but it would have been a better game. And what about the second winningest coach in history, Bobby Bowden? CNNSi has been bad before, but this one is an embarrassment to you. No wonder you idiots are second to ESPN. Pathetic.
What about Tommy Tuberville? 33-5 in the last 3 seasons in the toughest conference in the country while still being the #2 program based on fans in his own state. Beat Florida and LSU last year and have won 8 of their last 9 games against top 10 opponents. Beat Spurrier and Meyer last season alone.
I cannot argue with your selections, all first rate, but Frank Beamer would be my choice. He arrived at a nothing football school and turned it into a powerhouse using talent from the leftover recruits.
I'm not an Ohio State fan, but you can't argue with Jim Tressel's performance at OSU.
I don't understand the Paterno pick. He is long past his prime. I even wonder if he is truly even actively involved anymore or if his coaches mainly run the team while he's fighting to chew his morning oatmeal.
how can you possibly leave bob stoops off of this list. He won a national championship in his 2nd year as head coach at oklahoma. not to mention the fact that he has made the national championship game a total of 3 times in his short career. Joe Paterno has been nothing more than a figurehead for the last ten years....
PETE CARROLL IS BEST COACH IN FOOTBALL HANDS DOWN... MEYER HAS 1 CHAMPIONSHIP AND 2 BCS BIRTHS... CARROLL HAS 5 IN A ROW AND 2 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS. PATERNO IS GREAT, BUT PAST HIS PRIME, AND WHAT HAVE THE GAMECOCKS REALLY DONE???
I agree with what you said about the coaches posted however I think that there are two more that should be consideredWhat about Bronco Mendenhall at BYU (10-2 last season and owner of one of the 2nd longest winning streak in the country), or Chris Peterson (13-0 in his first year at Boise State.
Charlie Weis took over a program with zero recruits and an underachieving team. The team is building based on great recruiting classes and class. They graduate 99% of their players--both white and African-American--and do not cheat (what happended to USC's pay for representation and free lodging, etc.?)
Spurrier tends to do better at schools that let him bend the admissions rules?
Do some fact checking and you'll find that the University refused to alter their standards when Spurrier wanted them changed during his tenure at Florida. I can understand how a Bulldog couldn't find that information though...it isn't like an article on it appeared in the press last week.
I'm not an Oklahoma fan, but I'm surprised Bob Stoops didn't make the Top Five. They have lost a couple of big games, but he's done a lot with the players he gets. It's tough to draw players to Norman when they can go to sunny California and Florida.
Exactly- how do you leave out Tressel? Accomplishments list: Averages over 10 wins a season, National title win in his 2nd year, National title appearance last year, 5-1 against Michigan (which greatly outweighs his predecessor, Cooper), added another Heisman trophy winner, increased graduation rate and still SUPPLYING the NFL with talent just to name a FEW!!
How can you not consider Mack Brown of Texas? Look at his career in Texas. Replace Paterno or Rodriquez with Brown. And if you add the recruiting portion of being a head coach, Mack Brown has done quite well.
He may not be at the top of the list, but what Paul Johnson has been able to accomplish at the United States Naval Academy deserves recognition. To be able to play and win multiple bowls at a service academy, with all the academic and physical restrictions while recruiting during foreign conflict is an accomplishment worth respect and admiration.
Joe Paterno should not be on the list. No college program would hire him; he is past his prime. He may be one of the best of all time, but as of today he would not even crack the top 25. I hate Ohio State, but think that Jim Tressel should be on the list. I also do not believe rich rodriquez should be on the list; he coaches in a very weak conference, and does not have the competition of other coaches. I like Charlie Weis, but he probably needs to win a bowl game before receiving his due recognition. Where is Bob Stoops, btw.
Steve Spurrier Pete Carroll Jim Tressel Bob Stoops Rich Rodriguez
This list is massively flawed, no matter how you look at it. I personally think it is impossible to narrow it down to 5 without leaving out coaches that are equally as great as the next. You atleast need it to be the top 10. Then you need to clarify what the criteria was (best of all time or best of today's coaches) or atleast have better justification. If this is of all time...Where is Bobby Bowden, Frank Beamer, Chris Ault, Barry Switzer, Jim Johnson, Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler? If this is of today...where is Jim Tressel and Chris Ault? Two of the winningest coaches in college football today only behind Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno and Frank Beamer.
Uncle Charlie in South Bend has a professional resume no one else in college ball has ever or will ever have. Two years at ND with Willingham's players and he turned them into a solid team (mainly offensive). Wait to see what he does in the coming years, he'll rewrite the book on offense in college football.
To this day, I don't understand how a program can release a coaching legend, a proven coach in 'any' sport. I am talking about Lou Holtz. I realize he is not presently coaching in this era, but you asked. Similar to Tom Landry, in the early 80's, Cowboy fans were calling for his head. Funny how fans have such short memory. These men brought championshipd to their respective teams, yet, it's "what have you done for me lately"? Not eyery team can win it all every year, and if these organizations/programs would have stood by their coaches, instead of listening to fair weather fans, they may very well have gotten a few more chamionship from their teams. It's just as much the front office's fault, for letting the alumni, and fans intimidate them them to the point of letting these 2 great coahes go. I know, in Coach Landry's case, it was Jerry Jones call, but in the early 80s when I moved to Dallas, the fan's were ready to hang him in effigy. I would take either man. What more does one have to prove to people?
Rich Rodriguez, Steve Spurrier, and Joe Paterno make your list, but Bob Stoops doesn't. Of the above mentioned, only one of these coaches has been to five BCS games since 2000, and he isn't on the list. Oh, and Spurrier never wins a title without Stoops helming his defense, without a doubt. Also, I hate to admit it, but Mack Brown should be on this list as well.
As for Spurrier and Paterno ahead of Carroll and Meyer, lets check the records. You can't argue with Paterno's success over 42 years, not only with his coaching record but what he has given to his school and college football. Carroll and Meyer have had great success in rcent years, but let's not put them ahead of the all time great just yet. Tressel deserves to be mentioned with Carroll and Meyer, but let's give him a few more years as well. When the dust clears in a few years, Paterno will be recognized as the greatest college football coach ever, not only for his record and achievements on the field, but the people he developed and his contribution to society.
It's just like a Dawgs fan to backhand Georgia with a compliment to its football coach. No group of fans trash talks their own team as well as Georgia fans do. Heck, nobody dogs the Dawgs like their own fans. I didn't know that UGA had any graduates that could write well enough to land a gig with SI, Lance...
Honestly, Joe Pa on this? You are crazy. 1. Carroll 2. Brown 3. Meyer 4. Rodriguez 5. Stoops (you could also consider Tedford here)
Not sure why you could leave off Mack Brown. The guy wins 10+ games, year in and year out, plus has a national title to his credit now. That doesn't even include his recruiting that allows all the above to happen.
Tressell didnt make it becasue they didnt include coaches who run dirty programs. Charlie Weiss? it would be nice to see him win a big gmae before you put him on the list...lets see what you think of him when he wins 5 or 6 games this year
Meyer is the best college football coach in America. His 2nd yr in the best conference in football and he wins a MNC? That is crazy. Let's see how many more NC's he wins before everyone realizes that there is no one better than he in college football. And to the OSU fan that tries to give excuses for the total destruction of Tressel and the Buckeyes, just give it a rest. They got killed, it's over. Oh and newsflash, I think Troy Smith just got sacked AGAIN!
Charlie Weiss Tyrone Willingham Bob Davie (if he returns) Lou Holtz (when he returns again) Frank Solich (b/c who doesn't want a guy who can party).
Alright, I'm kidding. My real list is:
(1) Pete Caroll (2) Bob Stoops (3) Urban Meyer (4) Jim Tressel t(5) Charlie Weis & Rich Rodriguez.
Spurrior has not done anything since his return. Mack Brown every year has the best talent, and cannot win. That is what keeps him off this list. If you want Joe Pa, then you have to have Bobby Bo. But neither really belongs.
Why Charlie Weiss ... why not? The guy has taken a talent depleted ND team to two BCS games. ND cannot yet compete with the SEC teams, but the recruiting has been amazing. The guy can coach, and he belongs on this list.
Jim Tressel ... whoever left him off this list needs to stop smoking dope! I have OSU and am not a Tressel fan, but the guy gets the job done and he is consistent from year to year.
Bob Stoops is a stud.
Urban Meyer ... he has proven his worth.
Rich Rodriguez I struggled with b/c WV plays some weak teams. Pat White is the Major Harris of his time, but he would get his ace handed to him if he played against Florida or LSU.
Clearly those perplexed by your choice of JoePa must only have a superficial understanding of him as a coach and the Penn State football program. You're description of his pluck and vigor are dead on. Anyone that saw him trying to get up and push people away after getting nailed on the sideline at Wisconsin last year would know he's no doddering old fool. As for what he's done lately: Outback Bowl win over a good Tennessee Team and a BCS victory in the Orange Bowl for a 3rd place finish and Big Ten Championship, I think that's something. I would agree with those that bring up Tressel and Bobby Bowden as coaches you'd love to have heading your program.
#1 Coach = Bobby Bowden 14 straight top 5 seasons, 4 National championship appearances, 2 National Titles and most wins of all time and one of the best recruiters in history. Had a couple of subpar seasons but now has the best coaching staff in the nation. He'll be back on top in no time.
#2 Coach = Urban Meyer A year ago I wouldn't even put him in the top 10...you can't deny what he has done at the schools he has coached (BG, Utah, and UF)or his record thus far in the toughest conference in college football.
#3 Coach = Spurrier Can't deny him. He is really turning around the Gamecocks program and used to dominate everyone (except FSU)while he coached at UF.
#4 Coach = Pete Carroll Great recruiter. Wins in an easy conference, but usually wins his bowl games. Get's a little more credit than he deserves...except for recruiting. His team played in 2 National championship games in two years (and was awarded a split championship even though he didn't play for the crystal football!?)Unfortunately, he didn't get to play the correct team in one of the National championships a few years ago... which he would have lost...(Auburn would have crushed SC...but I'll give him credit for getting his team to the game two years in a row.
#5 Coach = Jim Tressel I can't stand Ohio State, but they win...and were lucky enough to squeak by Miami a few years ago for the national title.
Putting Mark Richt in any top five is a joke. Top coaches consistently have the teams in the national title hunt and I don't remember hearing Georgia's name mentioned at all in the last couple of YEARS!!
1. Pete Carroll- hate the guy, hate the program, but you can't argue with their track record. 2. Bob Stoops- hate the sooners but this guy went to a BCS bowl with Thompson as his quarterback! 3. Mack Brown- the guy can recruit and last time i checked, you still need big time players to win big time games if the coach doesn't screw it all up. 4. Jim Tressel- i still think they're cheaters up there in columbus ( academically speaking) but all ohio state has done since he got there is win. 5. (coughing)Frank Beamer- how that man gets players to go to virginia is beyond me ... and he too keeps winning, even with the screwups known as the Vick brothers.
quick note: I would put in Nick Saban, but lets see what he does at Bama first; Les Miles is kicking ass with his players.
Spurrier is an idiot ... how many gators have gone on to great nfl careers? Academics should matter for his players.
Charlie Weis- you replace Notre Dame with any other program in the country with their schedule and record and they NEVER get into any BCS bowl.
Oh, and I took Beamer over Meyer because he's been around a lot longer ... give Meyer two more years to figure out his rightful place. No one year wonders on this list.
One thing, Pete Carroll should be number one on that list, and two, Jim Tressell should be 2. I don't have a clue how you can't put Tressell on the list, leading the Buckeyes to 2 National Championships in the last 5 years, and a 5-1 record against Ohio State's archrival, Michigan. And i don't think he's lost 15 games at Ohio State.
GIve me Urban Meyer. The Gators had great talent under the Zookers reign but the coaching wasn't there. Once the Urban nation came to Gainesville, YOu can see that it takes a great coach to maximize great talent.
Anyone who does not vote Pete Carroll #1 is on some sort of brain eating drug. He took a team that had one of the worst seasons in USC history and in three years won back to back national championships. He has coached USC 6 years - 5 straight conference championships, 5 straight BCS bowl appearences (4-1), 2 national championships (played for a 3rd), 3 Heisman Trophy winners, and is now 2007 preseason #1 .... all of that is with guys he recruited and he coached. And for the guy who said he can't win the close game - I ask him to check his USC scorecard from 2003-2005 there are many, many close games they did win - Cal, Oregon, and the greatest college game ever played vs notre dame (and if that wasn't close I don't know what close is). Sure there were lots of blowouts (SEC fans please remember that 4 of these came against your teams - including Auburn), but that is what makes USC and Pete Carroll Number #1. Save your Joe Pa for a discussion about great coaches of the 1980s. By the way, Tressel should be on that list as well.
As an Arizona State alumn, I may be a little biased with my selection, but you can't make a top coaches list without Dennis Erickson. He has consistently coached his teams to big wins in big games and is unparalleled in his ability to turn around a program.
Excuse me, but you overlooked Jim Tressel of Ohio State. Look what he has accomplished there in just a few years: First national title in 34 years; another team on the verge of a title; decisive winning record against Michigan (home and away; and a huge number of players drafted by the NFL (the 2006 and 2007 drafts had so many OSU first rounders and high round choices), He clearly belongs there ahead of Rodriguez.
RICH RODRIGUEZ? i mean come on he coaches a team in the big east and he only plays 2 decent teams a yr. (louisville and rutgers) And wat about Charlie weis i mean Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija,Maurice Stovall, and Rhema Mckinght wouldnt be anything if it wasnt for Charlie Weis and Weis also inhetited a team from TY WILLINGHAM who made Notre Dame even worse after Bob Davie so thats why Charlie Weis is definitly worthy of being on that list
What is odd about Pete Carroll, Whitaker, is that he is the only one of your 5 best coaches who works West of the Mississippi-and, more importantly, he has been the most successful of those coaches over the last seven years. Perhaps you are the odd one Whitaker.
1. Carroll ( You can't argue this pick. He just gets it done. What a recruiter) 2. Urban Meyer (A young buck. I like his swag and guts). 3. Gary Patterson (TCU) ( A defensive genius who has the majors looking his way. Check out TCU's defensive rankings since the guy took over.) 4.Greg Schiano ( If you can make Rutgers win, you are the man. Period.) 5. Jim Tressel (OSU) & Tedford (Cal)-Tie. Tressel got outcoached by Meyer, true. But, this guy is still an excellent coach. Tedford is a young guy with guts, I like his style.
Bobby Bowden, forty four years after coaching his first college game and after twenty nine years with Florida State, is the winningest coach in NCAA history. His Seminoles were ranked in the Associated Press (AP) Top Five for fourteen consecutive seasons. His 1999 team was the first ever to go from opening game to the championship while maintaining their number one AP ranking the whole time. He is ranked second in most bowl wins. When he took over in 1976, the Seminoles had won a total of only four games in three seasons. His career record with the Seminoles, playing some of the league's toughest teams, is 278-70-4.
Charlie Weis? Are you kidding me??? There is only one FACT you need to know... he has YET to beat a ranked team since coming to ND!!! How in the world can you even utter his name, even if you are an ND fan?! And an even bigger question is how in the world can the BCS select this team 2 years in a row having not beaten a ranked team?!
Jim Tressel, Jim Tressel, Jim Tressel, Jim Tressel, Jim Tressel, Jim Tressel, Jim Tressel, and Jim Tressel.Come on, look at his success at Youngstown State and his tenure so far at THE Ohio State Univerity.
What about Chan Gailey? More consistently than anyone I can think of, he does enough not to get fired. He's such a nice, calm guy. He avoids the confrontations that would surely follow benching a QB for failing to lead. He doesn't like to rub UNC and Duke's mediocrity in their faces by beating them _every_ year. What's not to love?
I think he would be a fine addition to an SEC school.
1. Pete Carrroll-So you'll never lose your coach to the NFL. 2. Jim Tressell- National titles everywhere. 3. Mack Brown- At least you'll recruit well. 4. Tommy Tuberville- You'll know a couple of the first players taken on NFL draft day. 5. Bobby Bowden-Because we can't have Bear Bryant!
Tebow was stopped cold by Auburn in the 2nd half last year. That's one of the reasons Urban Myer got outcoached my Tubberville. No question that Tommy Tubberville has performed better in head to head against two of these guys.
Mark Richt is the only person I would even consider replacing Mark Rickt.
He has been the catalyst for turning UGA's program around and generating a great deal of respect. I've been a diehard Georgia fan my entire life and from what I've gathered, most of us think he's the best thing since Dooley. I wouldn't trade him for anyone.
You have to look at guys that have won for a long time not just flash a in the pan. Spurrier(SC,UF,Duke), Bowden (FSU), Beamer(VT), Paterno(PS), Jeff Bower(Southern Miss), Tressel(OSU,YS). They have all been head coaches for 15 years and except for Spurrier and Tressel at the same school, and they win every year. These guys can coach!
Don't get me wrong: JoePa is a great coach (some would say "was"). However, his Nittany Lions have won "only" two national titles (most recently over 20 years ago) in over FORTY years under JoePa - coaching at the same institution, which has great tradition, resources and fan support. I'm no FSU fan, but Bobby Bowden, who didn't make the list, has done as much ... in ten years less, not all of which was at FSU.
Further, since joining the Big-10, Penn St. has won exactly ONE (solo) conference championship, and that was almost 14 years ago. In 2005, the best season in recent memory, Penn St. MIGHT have been the best team in the Big-10, but no team from that conference made it to the BCS Title Game.
Incidentally, how does Bob Stoops NOT make this list?
jeff tedford i would say because he turned around a program that wasnt winning and a program that hasnt won in a long time. pete carrol because he just gets it done. tyrone willingham because the job he did at washington is amazing. urban myers is also good, bob stoops. I wouldnt put charlie weis in because he did it with willinghams recruits. willinghams recruits were in there jr year when charlie took over and honestly notre dame is not that good. they play a soft schedule that makes them look good. any team they played that was ranked they got destroyed.
Whoever wrote this top 5 article must have just started watching College football this weekend. What exactly has Rich Rodriguez done? His team is in a soft conference and has never even played for a BCS title. And Urban Meyer was blessed with talent that he didn't even recruit. I would have to include Bob Stoops, of course. And as much as I hate to admit it even Mack Brown has a stronger case than Meyer or Rodriguez. This article is a joke!
anonymous... you must be smoking crack with your "charlie weis" and ND was a disaster before he got there. they're still a disaster or haven't you been paying attention. they're 1-7 and last year they didn't win any games against quality teams. when's the last time they won a bowl game, with or without charlie weiss. this ND team is a joke. guess what, they won't win a BCS championship either.
Tressel? Keeping his team in the top 5 the past three years with the only time they were out of it being the beginning of the year before they had a chance to prove how good they were. He is one of the top 3 coachs.
beamer-- anybody who can get people to go to blacksburg and then coach them up to win consistently must be great Tressel carroll stoops ferentz--hasn't made a title game but does more with less talent than any BCS conf. coach
top 5 up and coming
meyer schiano peterson rodriguez tie: kelly (brian)/d'antonio
5 most overrated weiss miles spurrier mack brown saban
5 who should retire for the good of their respective programs Carr (just did) Paterno Bobby Bowden paterno deserves to be on this list twice and did I mention bobby bowden?
lsu won a championship in spite of les miles and mack brown won one because of vince youg. he has, supposedly, the best talent every year but with the exception of vince's last two years at texas, has lost at least two games every year. and he gets the deer in a headlight in every big game texas plays in. les miles is just a clown in a coaches suit
Les Miles did the best coaching job in 2007. The calls he made throughout the season brought home the National Championship. Without those calls, LSU would not have found themselves in position to compete for the Title. I see NO other coach (or safety-oriented commentator) making those calls. He apparently knew what he was doing, and he had the guts to do it. So for 2007, Les Miles IS the best coach in America.