Top 10 NCAA Football Coaches On the Hot Seat
Top 10 NCAA Football Coaches On the Hot Seat
Long gone are the days when public opinion helped stoke the fires of change when it came to the local college’s head football coach. Petitions don’t need to be passed around town to gauge fans' feelings nor do you even have to log onto the Internet. Just listen to the stands come gameday.
The sport’s overall thirst for money and programs’ demands for instant gratification or a realistic shot at a return to prominence means that as the guy at the top of the totem pole, you produce or you walk.
Is it fair? That depends on your definition of the term. A head coach is supposed to come in and be the CEO of a program. Much like a large company, said coach has a laundry list of responsibilities and there are programs who are shelling out millions of dollars on a yearly basis. If their expectations aren’t being met, why should they continue to pump money into a system that’s giving them a poor return on their investment?
It’s time to analyze which ten coaches aren't giving their respective schools the most bang for their buck and may be chatting with a realtor soon. Due to personal matters, the bottom line or both, these coaches' welcome is starting to get worn out. The King of the Hot Seat may have a U-Haul waiting outside his house by the time you are through reading this sentence. On the other hand, if that’s the worst thing that’s waiting outside his house, blessings should be counted.
10. Mack Brown – Texas
In a sport that could easily boast a tagline of “What Have You Done for Me Lately?,” Brown remains silent. Since winning the Big 12 Championship Game in 2009 before being bludgeoned by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship Game, the Texas Longhorns have fallen on tough times, at least by Texas’ standards.
Since the 2009 season, the Longhorns currently sit at 20-14, lost Will Muschamp who seems to finally be hitting his stride as head coach of the Florida Gators and the faithful in Austin are wondering if Brown just simply isn’t going to get it done. Was Big Tex going up in flames an omen?
9. Rich Ellerson – Army
It’s hard to get on the hot seat when you’re coaching the Army Black Knights, especially when only commanding a salary just north of $400,000. However, Ellerson is expected to win a fair amount of games, and most importantly, beat the Navy Midshipmen.
Neither is getting done under Ellerson’s watch. He currently holds a 17-29 record (his best season being a 7-6 campaign in 2010), and has never beaten Navy. Sitting at 2-7 on the year while the Middies are playing decent football and sustaining the No. 7 rushing attack in the country, Army’s string of ineptitude against Navy doesn’t look to end any time soon.
There are more important things to do at West Point than play football, but they usually give their football coaches about four to five years. If coaches haven’t beaten the Midshipmen by then, marching orders appear in their inbox.
8. Charlie Weis – Kansas
Regardless of how the Charlie Weis experiment ends, upon his hiring, the college football world knew his it was going to be fun to watch. When not threatening journalism students, he’s guiding the 1-8 Kansas Jayhawks (their one win over South Dakota State) to a familiar place in the Big 12 cellar.
Some may call his being a part of this list premature, but when a coach is guaranteed $2.5 million and puts the product on the field that Weis has, if he’s not on notice, he should be. The good news is that college basketball season is beginning and if you’re the head football coach with a tanking team at any good basketball school, you can get most of the big boosters off of your back like a golden retriever playing fetch.
When they come back to check up on Weis, they may not like what they see, but what’s the worst that could happen only two years into a poor tenure as the University of Kansas’ head football coach? Oh…that’s right.
7. Skip Holtz – South Florida
The state of Florida’s much like Texas. There are a number of teams, but there’s plenty of talent for all of them to stock their cupboards to the point where any legitimate coach should at least produce competitive results. The South Florida Bulls enjoyed a six-game losing skid earlier this season and may end up with only two conference wins come year’s end.
Bottom line: Holtz’s influence over the Bulls appears to be a negative as records continue to get worse. $1.8 million-plus should buy more than a sub-.500 record.
6. Frank Spaziani – Boston College
Spaziani’s been involved with Boston College Golden Eagles football in some manner since 1997.
Boston College is located in an area rich in sports culture, so a team with a continuously declining record isn’t doing the school any favors. Not to mention the Golden Eagles are dropping games to teams that are some of the statistically worst in the nation. That’s what Spaziani has brought to the table during his four year tenure.
Athletic director Gene Defillipo is taking his leave and the two are good friends. It’s likely that whoever steps in will be the one to tell Spaziani to hit the bricks.
5. Jeff Tedford – California
It’s difficult for many in the sport to watch Cal struggle as so many look to its head man as a genuinely good guy. He’s developed excellent talent in Berkeley (Aaron Rodgers and Marshawn Lynch ring a bell?), but he hasn’t produced enough wins.
The last time the Golden Bears won a bowl was in 2008. With the guarantee of a losing record, it may just be a matter of time before Tedford is relieved of his duties.
4. Jon Embree - Colorado
That Embree’s only fourth on this list is a testament to the ineptitude of the three coaches ahead of him. What he’s accomplished in Boulder in only two years’ time is impressive. It takes legitimate effort to get so little out of that many scholarship athletes.
His coaching is a throwback to the days of Kansas State's Ron Prince. To Prince’s credit, he technically “developed” an NFL starting quarterback. Try to convince anyone that Josh Freeman actually learned a thing aside from “do what feels right” from Prince, though.
Back to Embree, if he’s still around for another season, it speaks not only to how little the Colorado Buffaloes' brass cares about their football team's status, but also just how little money they have to actually invest in its future. Congratulations, Pac-12, you have your instant win for the foreseeable future.
3. John L. Smith - Arkansas
Well things sure turned sour in a hurry. Bobby Petrino’s personal life blindsided the Arkansas Razorbacks' football program paving the way for John L. Smith, seen as a questionable hire by most, reasonable by others.
Again, it’s impressive that he’s only third on the list as what Arkansas fans expected out of the 2012 squad and what they got were two entirely different products.
We find the Razorbacks dumping uniforms, the locker room’s in disarray and the big money boosters in Fayetteville want to hit the reset button. Can you blame them? Even if Smith sticks around for another year, it’s hard to think that the “Boosters of Substance” won’t be looking for the smallest reason to can him. Then again, if he doesn’t turn in better results, they won’t have to wait long.
2. Derek Dooley – Tennessee
When ridicule of a coach's work goes beyond their own conference causing the entire nation to point and laugh a la Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons, things aren’t going so well. Such is the situation for Derek Dooley. The Tennessee Volunteers’ head coach is pulling in $1.8 million per year and has produced a 15-19 record (as of this writing), complete with a bowl loss.
Despite the necessity of paying Dooley $5 million over the next four years to buy him out if they choose to do so, the Tennessee higher-ups can either accept being an SEC doormat or drop some serious coin to not only remove their current head coach, but also attempt netting a home run hire.
1. Gene Chizik - Auburn
Well, that national championship season was fun, right? You’ve got to hand it to the Auburn Tigers’ head coach. He’s saying all the right things to the media in spite of a current 2-7 record (neither win coming in-conference).
That said, the SEC has perhaps the shortest memory in terms of success of any conference. Chizik’s teams haven’t been bad, per se. Two 8-5 teams, the aforementioned national championship and a flawless bowl record during his tenure at Auburn isn’t the worst resume, but success comes with a price (insert Cam Newton joke here).
Once a coach raises a bar at any program, that becomes his new standard and in no conference is that any more apparent than the SEC. Could the man that won four – yes, four – separate Coach of the Year honors in 2010 be booted only two years later? Stranger things have happened.Brandon Cavanaugh is a college football columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation.