I got dressed all by myself today.
Recently my friend and I got into a discussion about college coaches and we soon realized how loaded the SEC is with quality coaches. Every coach in the league with the exception of the above pictured gentlemen have a pretty good track record when it comes to coaching em' up, either at their current school or somewhere in the recent past. Now to be fair, both Ed Orgeron and Sylvester Croom stepped into tough situations at their respective universities. And if you believe what you read, Orgeron is a great recruiter so maybe Ole Miss will rise up in the near future. Croom's teams have improved (at least in regard to point differential) every season so maybe the Bulldog faithful have hope too. However, since those two have the least impressive credentials, I'm leaving them out of the discussion. Below the other ten coaches in the SEC are listed alphabetically along with their resumes.
Record: 106-141-4 .430
Brooks’ winning percentage is not that good, but he has taken Oregon and Kentucky (two programs that were not exactly elite when he got there) to 5 combined bowl games, going 2-3. He also won a conference title at Oregon in 1994, the schools first conference title in 37 years.
Record: 137-41 .770
Fulmer has had only one losing season in his 14+ seasons in Knoxville. He has won a national title (1998) as well as two conference titles and 4 SEC Eastern Division titles. He has taken the Vols to 14 bowl games going 7-7.
Record: 73-77 .487
Johnson has made the Vanderbilt program competitive. His teams were a combined 6-29 his first three seasons, but have made strides the past two seasons going 5-6 (narrowly missing out on a bowl) and 4-8. Two seasons ago they beat Tennessee for the first time since Reconstruction and this past year they upset Georgia in Athens. Johnson was 58-34 (.630) in 8 seasons at Furman. He won one conference title, made 4 playoff appearances, and participated in the national championship game in his final season (2001).
Record: 61-12 .836
Meyer just won the national championship at Florida in only his second year. His teams have never lost more than 3 games in any one season. He has taken his teams to 4 bowl games, never losing a single one. He has 3 conference titles and the first ever BCS bowl appearance by a program outside the BCS leagues.
Record: 50-25 .667
Miles spent 4 years at Oklahoma State rebuilding that program and just finished his second season at LSU maintaining that program’s status as one of college football’s elite. His only losing season was his first in Stillwater. His teams have gone to 5 bowl games, winning 3, and he has an SEC Western Division title.
Record: 102-67 .604
Nutt has taken the Razorbacks to 7 bowl games in 9 years, winning two of them, and also taking two SEC Western Division titles. Prior to coming to Fayetteville, he spent 4 seasons at Murray State amassing two playoff appearances. He also spent one year (1997) at Boise State, coaxing the Broncos to a 4-7 record in only their second year of play in Division IA.
Record: 61-17 .782
Richt has never had a losing season at Georgia nor has he lost more than 4 games in any one season. The Dawgs have gone to 6 bowl games (4-2 record), and have 3 SEC Eastern Division tiles to go along with 2 wins in the SEC Championship Game.
Record: 91-42-1 .683
Little Nicky has never had a losing season and has coached his teams 9 bowl games where they have posted a 4-5 record. He has 2 SEC Western Division titles and 2 wins in the SEC Championship game. He also won a MAC Championship in his only year at Toledo. Oh and he won it all in 2003.
Record: 157-50 .756
Spurrier has had but one losing season in his career (his first year at Duke). He also won a conference championship at Duke to go along with the 6 he won at Florida. His teams have gone to 14 bowl games winning 8. He also won Florida’s first (and until this season only national title) in 1996.
Record: 96-49 .662
Tuberville has had just two losing seasons in his 12 years roaming the sidelines at Ole Miss and Auburn. His teams have participated in 8 bowl games, winning 5. He has 2 SEC Western Division titles and one win in the SEC Championship Game. He also had an undefeated season in 2004, but did not get to participate in the BCS title game (Orange Bowl) because there were 3 undefeateds that season. He’s 6-2 against archrival Alabama (including 5 straight wins). And his record since 2000 is 66-23 (.742).
Now, I'm leaving it up to you. Who is the SEC's best coach? Use any definition of coaching you want (getting the best out of what you have, best X's and O's guy, best winning percentage, most wins, best Under Armor commercials, etc.) and let me know how you would rank these 10 gentlemen.
Its definately NOT Houston Nutt!
1. Mark Richt - Richt has done for UGA what Saban did for LSU (save for the national title), and he's never lost to Georgia Tech.
2. Urban Meyer - Even though the Gators were a bit lucky to win the National Championship this year, everything he touches seems to turn to gold.
3. Steve Spurrier - The Gamecocks played better than their record suggests this season. All in all, he's doing a pretty good job of polishing the turd that is South Carolina football.
4. Phillip Fulmer - Despite his past success, the Vols have struggled without David Cutcliffe running the offense.
1. Tommy Tubberville - He gets the top spot because he's the only coach in the West whose had any long(ish) term success. Besided Houston Nutt, none of the other coaches have had enough time to prove themselves.
2. Les Miles - He led LSU to their first back-to-back 11 win seasons. Sure, he did it with Nick Saban's recruits but it's impressive nonetheless.
3. Nick (The Great Betrayer) Saban -
Alabama is poised to have a great 2007 season. This season, they played better than their record with a very young team. Next year Tyrone Prothro should be back (I think) which should boost their recently struggling offense. Did I mention Nick Saban?
That's about all I've got. Off-topic: For statistic fans - I run an informal computer ranking system and I'm compiling some spread sheets with all the statistics I've collected this season. If anyone wants a copy send me an email at email@example.com and I'll add you to the list when I send it out.
1. Steve Spurrier- Proven head coach at Florida, now proves even more by leading successful seasons behind a not as talented South Carolina team.
2. Urban Meyer- Winner everywhere he's been. Totally outcoached a great Ohio State team this year by keeping his players focused. Great motivator.
3. Mark Richt- Brought Georgia back to being annually one of SEC's best. Brings in talent and coaches them to be stars.
4. Bobby Johnson- Made a horrible Vandy program competitive in all aspects except winning, however winning can't be far behind. Recruiting well and popping in a few big wins.
5. Phillip Fulmer- Good coach who won a national title but lost alot of my respect with the 5-6 season. Either he lost interest for one year or he needs great assistants to cover for him.
6. Rich Brooks- Lead Kentucky out of the basement this year. Could move up next year if he shows this year was not fluke.
1. Tommy Tubberville- Leads good Auburn team year after year and fields physical teams. Has 2004 undefeated season but other than that, has had choke game every year.
2. Nick Saban- Proven coach coming into program ready to launch. Could move to first in west after season or two if Bama is back like many expect.
3. Houston Nutt- Has several good seasons at Arkansas. Had 2 down years with less than average talent but really brought respect back with better than expected season this year.
4. Les Miles- Won with Saban recruits, needs to win next 2 seasons with his recruits before he can be considered for top half of the list.
5. Sylvester Croom- In almost dead heat with Orgeron. However Croom has come up with 2 big wins over Florida a few years back and Bama last year. Needs to make turn for better this year or State could be in mess...keep him and lose or fire him and be considered racist for firing a black coach (loser or not).
6. Ed Orgeron- Excellent recruiter but has shown no results on the field yet. Needs to take success of recruting trail to results on the field.
1 losing season out of 14 aint bad! Add to that a national title, and that's a rock solid resume.
Won an ACC Championship at Duke (granted it's not the SEC, and it was before Miami and VaTech were in the ACC). Won a National Title with Florida and built a nationally recognized program. He's turning South Carolina around one season at a time.
Year in and year out, Auburn is one of the toughest teams in the conference. On a side note, let us not forget what Tubberville did to Ole Miss:
"I'll only leave Ole Miss if it's in a pine box."
Four days later, Tubberville packed his bags for Auburn.
Bold-face lies aside, he's a good great College Coach. Won the BCS title with LSU, and no doubt he will turn Alabama around.
A coach with a losing record should not be in the top 3. Fulmer probably posted that himself.
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