Tuesday, November 6

Want A Real Coach?

Contrary To Popular Belief, You Don't Need A Big Name (and $4 Million) to Win Big

These are 5 proven and attainable head coaches who every college football fan (and Atheltic Director) should know. I'm not wasting my time on a defensive line coach with a flair for recruiting, or a Super Bowl winning coordinator with a supposed brain as big as his fupa. No, I'm finding proven Head Coaches from the lower levels. Coaches who do more with less (instead of the other way around) Guys who have learned the hard way (read: on somebody else's dime) how to manage a staff, run a team and ultimately WIN...a lot.

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1. Paul Johnson - Navy - .739 (10 seasons as a HC) - This guy is a no-brainer. He's as safe as the victory formation. Give him the keys and rest easy. (I made this list before last weekend's big win, mind you) Why this guy hasn't been snatched up years ago, I have not a clue. Some folks seem to think it's Paul's "triple option flexbone" that has rundoft potential suitors, but I think that is exactly what makes him a badass.

Johnson does what any big-time head coach should do. He evaluates the talent available to him and then he acts/schemes accordingly. If he can't recruit a great passing quarterback, he'll run the option...if one becomes available, then he'll spread the field and pass. Crazy! Johnson, by any measure, appears to be the next great offensive football mind, and unfortunately for you the fan, administrators seem to view him as damaged goods. An autistic, slightly over-weight used-car salesman in sheep's clothing? Naw, sometimes, what you see is what you get: A winner. (Wiki, CFDW)

2. Brian Kelly - Cincinnati - .728 (16 seasons) - This Yankee know how to build a program. In his 16 head coaching seasons, Kelly built Grand Valley State from merely good to outstanding...in 3 years at Central Michigan he turned the program around and won the MAC...and in one season at Cincinnati Kelly has already beat the likes of Oregon State, #21 Rutgers and #20 South Florida on his way to a 7-2 start (both ranked teams he beat on the road).

Kelly is a perfect example of just how valuable Head Coaching experience can be. At each stop, his obvious skillz have allowed him to turn things around faster and faster. Case in Point: Cincinnati is still in a position to win the Big East after 10 games, in Kelly's first full year. That's a positive impact. Keep an eye on Kelly over the next two weeks as he takes on supposed #16 UConn and #6 West F'n Virginia; both home games for Brian Kelly's Bearcats. (Wiki, CFDW)

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Hatcher - Future BCS Badass

3. Chris Hatcher - Georgia Southern - .862 (7 seasons) - What is it about Georgia Southern coaches? That AD must be living right.

Chris Hatcher will make the bigtime, and he will make some lucky BCS conference AD look like a freakin' genius. He's the poor man's, Division II version of Steve Spurrier...the next generation (Hatcher's in his mid 30's): In 1994 he won the Harlon Hill Trophy, awarded to the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year. After a few short stints as an assistant he returns as head coach of his Alma Mater (Valdosta State) and immediately resorts to ass kicking and name taking. He turns the program around. Hatcher goes to the championship game twice, wins it once (seeing the Spurrier parallels?). By the way, Look at that winning percentage!?! From what I gather, he's a highly intelligent, ex-qb who will works his ass off. Did I mention he's a winner?

Now, Hatcher is taking a Georgia Southern team that former UGA assistant Brian VanGorder all but destroyed in one year (yet another example of why you don't gamble on an assistant) and quickly turning the Eagles into national contenders yet again (7-2). What else do you want? Damn. (Wiki, Profile)

4. Bobby Hauck - Montana - .759 (4 seasons) - This Missoula native is a relative young gun at only 43, but he's more than proven himself to be a quality head man. As an assistant at Colorado and Washington, Hauck learned from a great (although some might say "morally ambiguous") bossman in Rick Neuheisel.

As a head coach Hauck's done nothing short of turning in four straight Big Sky championships and two trips deep into the NCAA tournament (championship game in '04 and final four in '06). He's currently starring down the barrel of his best season yet with a 9-0 record, and get this...Last winter Hauck rejected a 3 year deal to settle on a one year contract. Seems like Bobby's ready to party. On the downside, Hauck's predecessor, current Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, isn't enjoying near as much success in the Mountain West as he did at I-AA Montana. (Wiki, CFDW)

5. Skip Holtz - East Carolina - .562 (7 seasons) - While his numbers are not as impressive as some of the above, Skip has proven to be a solid coach. Most only know him from his work as an assistant for his wacky dad Lou at Notre Dame and South Carolina, but he sandwiched that experience with a head coaching gig at then I-AA UConn in the mid 90's. There, he laid the foundation for the Huskies current success in big time, Big East foozball.

Now Skip's in his third season as the HC for East Carolina (6-4 in '07) leading his division in C-USA (5-1) with two of his out of conference losses coming at the hands of highly ranked opponents. If you watched the first "Gameday" game of the year where Va Tech took on Holtz' Pirates, you know that Skip's quickly moving ECU in the right direction. (Wiki, CFDW)

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Was Skip adopted?


  1. in the coaching search that resulted in the saban, i was actually pulling for bama to hire paul johnson...and that includes the during the courting of rich rod.

  2. almost forgot...i have a good feeling about old skip holtz too.

  3. Great post . . . not enough programs value HC experience and winning records. That's evident not only in college but in the NFL as well.

  4. I'm most impressed with Hatcher actually. I just think the other two are an easier sell right now. "hot names" so to speak. If Hatcher's not in the SEC in 3 years, something's wrong.

  5. I feel that I must mention Troy's Larry Blakeney. The guy has developed that football program better than most anybody else could.

    Troy is now one of the tougher mid-major teams in the country.

  6. Johnson should also not be pigeon-holed into a strictly option offense coach. While he was a coordinator at Hawaii, they ran a spread offense that was top 20 in the country in scoring

  7. I considered Larry Blakeney, druid. He's done a good job at Troy. Never thought I would see a Bama fan propping up an Auburn man! gasp.

    While he's having a great season this year, and he's had strong years in the past, he hasn't attained that consistant, building success that I was looking for. That might have something to do with the jump from I-AA to I-A. Just a little bit right?

  8. Probably true on the division jumping.

    Yes, he is an Auburn man. But, you have to respect a guy that can win at Movie Gallery Stadium.

  9. Erik...you're giving Sam Baker(georgia southern's AD) ENTIRELY too much credit. Had he not brought in the Hatch Attack after BVG left, he would have been run out of town. GSU is obviously a stepping stone for Hatcher here, I just hope we can get a 7th national championship out of the deal.

  10. contrary to belief- my johnson really is 13.2 inches long...

  11. Daniel, Nick Saban scoffs at your infantile penis.

    bdavis, maybe I did overlook a few shoddy decisions on AD Sam Bakers part. If he hired PJ and Hatch he's doing something right (not sure how long he's been at GSU). Hey, look at Mal Moore...He's still got a job somehow (what a GOB). I guess even a blind squirrel find a nut every now and then.

  12. As an ECU Alumni, I should be quick to point out:

    The Pirates fired long time coach Steve Logan (who is now the OC @ B.C., and would make a fine head coach himself). Replaced him with former South Carolina Asst John Thompson.

    Thompson then proceeded to win 3 games in 2 seasons with ECU, bringing Skip Holtz to Greenville NC.

    So the fact that Skip has done what he's done in just under 2 years is rather remarkable. In a non-BCS conference school, none-the-less.

  13. Someone please forward this list to Pete Boone, AD at Ole Miss. If he is fired on Monday, as I have been praying for all weekend, and will certainly be an early Christmas gift, please forward it to his replacement.

  14. Wow. A realistic wish list. Kudos.

  15. So you don't need $4 million per year to have success in the Eastern Atlantic Coastal Conference for the Inferiorly Insane Division? Who would've thought? Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

    Let's see what these guys can do against SEC opponents (and not of MSU's caliber).

    Off hand, I can already tell you it would be just as disastrous as Saban's/Spurrier's/Carroll's/Petrino's brief stint in the NFL.

    Coaching in the SEC would equal exactly what the aforementioned accomplished in the NFL: shit.