Ranking the Top Coaches in Big Ten Football
Top Coaches in Big Ten Football for 2013
The Big Ten Conference is full of great coaches, making it nearly impossible to rank the best. However, I am going to do my best in ranking the coaches in the conference.
There are many different categories that I will be basing the rankings off of, such as overall success, success with their current team, future outlook and respectability. All of the coaches on this list have experienced at least a little bit of success in each of these categories.
In 2012, there were some relatively new faces in the conference such as Urban Meyer for Ohio State, Bill O'Brien for Penn State, Brady Hoke in his second season at Michigan and Bo Pelini in Nebraska's second season in the conference. They all exceeded expectations and saw their teams achieve stellar seasons.
Some new coaches weren't so lucky in 2013. Kevin Wilson of Indiana showed that his team has potential and many injuries prevented the coach from a bowl bid. Also, Tim Beckman of Illinois had the worst season of any coach in the conference which is very unfortunate for his first season at his new school.
With the 2013 season coming up, there are a few new coaches in the conference. Darrell Hazell took his coaching talent from Kent State to replace Danny Hope at Purdue. He will be one of the coaches to keep an eye on this season. Also, Gary Andersen took over for Bret Bielema who bolted for the SEC, angering many Wisconsin fans in the process.
The 2013 season is sure to bring out the best in these coaches or possibly even the worst. Let's see how the coaches in the Big Ten rank.
12. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Beckman led his Illinois squad to a disappointing 0-8 conference record. As a head coach, he has had just two winning seasons out of four overall between Illinois and Toledo. Many people are questioning the hiring of the inexperienced head coach by the Illini. If he doesn't improve this team in 2013, there's no doubt he will be out of there.
11. Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Gary Andersen led Utah State to an 11-2 record last season. One of his losses, however, was against his now-current team, Wisconsin. The fourth-year head coach has little experience as the guy in charge, but he has the potential to be a great one. He turned a 4-8 team into an 11-2 team in just two seasons.
10. Darrell Hazell, Purdue
After just two seasons as a head coach at Kent State, Darrell Hazell earned himself a spot in the Big Ten. His last season at Kent State ended with an 11-3 record and a loss in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. He is just 49 years old and has his best coaching years ahead of him. I could easily see him rising on this list after he brings toughness back to Purdue.
9. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
In his first season at a notoriously poor football school in 2011, Kevin Wilson had an embarrassing 1-11 mark to show for his thinly-talented team. Two years later and a bowl game is ever so possible after leading his team to a four-win season in 2012. The former Oklahoma Sooners offensive coordinator is doing big things in Bloomington.
8. Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Jerry Kill is the kind of guy you love to root for. The Minnesota head coach has had his share of health problems, including seizures on the field and in the locker room during games. However, his health isn't keeping him from his passion as he has become a turnaround specialist, turning every team he has been with in his 19-year coaching career into a winner. This guy knows how to build winning programs.
7. Bill O'Brien, Penn State
O'Brien made his first head coaching season a successful one at Penn State. Many rumors circulated about the former NFL assistant coach wanting to return to his former home and take a head coaching job in the pros, but he came into a program that was crumbling and turned them back into winners.
6. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Kirk Ferentz is one of the highest-paid coaches in the conference and for good reason. Prior to the disappointing 4-8 season that Iowa suffered in 2012, Ferentz led the Hawkeyes to 10 bowl games in his 14 seasons at the school. He has been consistently solid and will look to bring his team back to greatness.
5. Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Bo Pelini came into the Big Ten as a successful coach and remains one after two successful conference seasons. He led the Cornhuskers to the Big Ten title game in 2012 and became a household name for fans of the conference. Rumors were circulating that he was going to bolt for an SEC head coaching job in the offseason, but he put those to rest. He looks to remain in the red and white for a while.
4. Brady Hoke, Michigan
Brady Hoke is one of the relatively new coaches in the conference. Having little prior success as a head coach, Hoke looked to be a hit-or-miss hire in 2011. He has proven many doubters wrong but regressed a bit in 2012 from the 2011 season, going from an 11-2 record with a bowl win to an 8-5 record with a bowl loss. That and his lack of continued success in the conference in the reason that he isn't in the top-three.
3. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Mark Dantonio has a knack for turning average talent into elite-level talent. Dantonio is a recruiting genius and turned this program from a struggling Big Ten team into one of the most consistent, outside of last season. Five out of his six seasons as head coach of the Michigan State Spartans have resulted in winning records and all have resulted in bowl appearances. Six straight bowl games is nothing to sneeze at.
2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
The Northwestern linebacker-turned-coach has been fantastic for the rising program. It can't be too easy to turn a school not known for athletics into a football school in just a few short seasons. Recruiting players to play for Northwestern over the other stellar Big Ten football schools has to be a struggle, but Pat Fitzgerald has made the best of it. Coming off of a fifth straight bowl game and a 10-win season, the 38-year-old coach has an extremely high ceiling.
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
While he has only been a coach in the Big Ten for one season, Urban Meyer could make the argument for best coach in college football along with Nick Saban. However, a 12-0 season is an impressive feat for a first-year coach on a team that went 6-7 in 2011. This guy is good and a National Championship is sure to be in his very near future.