Big 10 Football: Head Coach Rankings
Ranking Big 10's Head Coaches
Behind every great team is a great coach, right?
Looking up and down the list, I honestly think Big 10 coaches are right there with the coaches of any other conference. Everyone has their own style, the "correct" way of doing things. But nobody really cares about that until they see results, whether good or bad.
Now this is where Big 10 coaches are probably discredited the most. It's no secret; the conference is in what you might call a little bit of a slump. That's as a whole, though. I see each coach individually, and it completely baffles me how some of them are stuck with very average teams.
Example: Brady Hoke at Michigan. I still swear up and down he's the right man in Ann Arbor, but how in the world has his team digressed through three seasons?
Another example: Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern. He's one of my favorite coaches in college football because he's so spirited. But his teams often get the early hype then fall off the map.
So here you go. It's the Big 10's coaches, ranked worst to best.
If you don't like it, tell me how you feel.
14. Darrell Hazell - Purdue
Head coaching record: 17-21
Coaching record at Purdue: 1-11
Darrell Hazell doesn't have a very large body of work to analyze. He was the MAC Coach of the Year in 2012 when he won the East Division with Kent State, but that was only his second year as a head coach. He was hired by Purdue shortly after that, and his first season with the Boilermakers was absolutely horrendous.
13. Kevin Wilson - Indiana
Head coaching record: 10-26
Coaching record at Indiana: 10-26
Much like Darrell Hazell at Purdue, there just isn't a whole lot to look at when taking about Kevin Wilson's coaching. If you look at his past, the list of schools at which he was an assistant is about a mile long, but his last three year's at Indiana have been his only experience as a head coach.
Needless to say, it hasn't been pretty. I will say this, though: Wilson has one of the best offensive minds in the conference.
12. Kyle Flood - Rutgers
Head coaching record: 15-11
Coaching record at Rutgers: 15-11
Kyle Flood has spent two whole seasons as a head coach, both of which being at Rutgers. In his inaugural season, he coached the Scarlet Knights to an impressive 9-4 record in the Big East, but last year in the AAC, his team only finished with six wins and lost in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Flood is still a younger coach at 43, and I think he will grow into his position at Rutgers. There just hasn't been enough yet to see him at a better position than 12th.
11. Tim Beckman - Illinois
Head coaching record: 27-34
Coaching record at Illinois: 6-18
Tim Beckman is another product of the MAC. He spent three years at Toledo, winning eight games in each of his final two seasons. But since making the switch to the Big 10 at Illinois, there hasn't been much success to speak of. I can't imagine a scenario where Beckman doesn't take the Illini to a bowl game this coming season and still keeps his job.
10. Randy Edsall - Maryland
Head coaching record: 87-94
Coaching record at Maryland: 13-24
Randy Edsall has had such a roller coaster of a career. He spent a majority of his head coaching career at Connecticut, where the Huskies went went through three conference switch-ups. He actually took them to the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 after winning the Big East.
He put together a surprisingly pleasant 2013 season with Maryland by taking his Terrapins to a bowl game. He'll be a great coaching addition to the Big 10 this year.
9. Kirk Ferentz - Iowa
Head coaching record: 120-100
Coaching record at Iowa: 108-79
Kirk Ferentz is a guy I really want to buy into as a head coach, but he only coached, in my opinion, three teams that were able to get over the hump and become nationally relative. He's been with the Hawkeyes since 1999. It's pretty well accepted that Ferentz wants to retire a Hawkeye, and his job is pretty secure, despite some lousy seasons.
8. Jerry Kill - Minnesota
Head coaching record: 144-94
Coaching record at Minnesota: 17-21
Despite having to deal with on-the-field seizures, Jerry Kill does not have a bad record as a head coach. Most of those wins came at levels below Division-I, though. 17-21 is certainly not a great mark for a major conference coach, but I love the fact that his teams at Minnesota have improved each year he's been there. His guys love playing for him, and he understands how to coach to individual players.
7. Brady Hoke - Michigan
Head coaching record: 73-63
Coaching record at Michigan: 26-13
Brady Hoke spent six seasons rebuilding one of the worst football programs in the nation at Ball State. From there, he went to San Diego State and spent two years fixing the Aztecs. Hoke will be going into his fourth season at Michigan, and I think it might be safe to declare his seat is getting warm.
Some question his ability to develop talent, but I think much of that falls on coordinators. Brady Hoke is a terrific, old-school coach and insists on doing everything physically. I think he's a much better coach than recent records would suggest.
6. Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern
Head coaching record: 55-46
Coaching record at Northwestern: 55-46
Pat Fitzgerald has been involved with the Northwestern football program since 2001 and was named the head coach in the 2006 season. In that time, Fitzgerald hasn't had a team I would consider to be anything too special, but I believe he is severely underrated as a coach.
Many will discredit him for his team's lackluster 2013 season after receiving a decent amount of preseason hype in the Big 10's Legends Division.
5. James Franklin - Penn State
Head coaching record: 24-15
Coaching record at Penn State: 0-0
James Franklin does not have a very large body of work, but I am so high on this guy for a couple reasons.
One, he is a tremendous recruiter. He proved that to the rest of the Big 10 recently by constructing a very respectable class with little time to do so.
I'm excited to see what he does with Penn State in the coming years.
4. Bo Pelini - Nebraska
Head coaching record: 58-24
Coaching record at Nebraska: 58-24
Bo Pelini was the interim head coach at Nebraska for the 2003. He won that game, and it's been an impressive run ever since. In six full seasons with the Cornhuskers, Pelini hasn't had a team win fewer than nine games, and he's gone 3-3 in bowl games during that time.
The next step for a Bo Pelini team is to get a conference title. That is what's keeping his name separated from the best of the Big 10, in my opinion.
3. Gary Anderson - Wisconsin
Head coaching record: 39-35
Coaching record at Wisconsin: 9-4
I know I'm going to have to present a compelling case for putting a coach who's four games above .500 at No. 3, but hear me out.
Gary Anderson does such a great job with every aspect of coaching. He hires good coordinators and works well with them in developing talent. He has a very open mind when it comes to his team's style of play. And the way in which he's able to adjust with emerging talent allows for success.
His record of 39 wins and 35 losses does not tell an accurate story for Anderson. His coaching goes well beyond the numbers, and that's why I have ranked him this high on the list.
2. Urban Meyer - Ohio State
Head coaching record: 128-25
Coaching record at Ohio State: 24-2
I think it's very easy to poke fun at Urban Meyer, but let's put all jokes aside and admire the man as a coach. Through 12 seasons as a head coach, the man has only lost 25 football games. And six of those seasons were spent with Florida in the SEC!
He has an incredible record and a reputation for winning. He has Braxton Miller coming back this next season. Look out, Big 10.
1. Mark Dantonio - Michigan State
Head coaching record: 82-46
Coaching record at Michigan State: 64-29
There is much to love about Mark Dantonio. He coaches the game with such class and respect for his opponents, and he's able to coach under-the-radar teams to very respectful seasons.
What I admire most is his ability to coach a team to a bounce-back season following mediocrity. In 2009, his team went 6-7; the next season, his team was 11-2. In 2012, the record was 7-6; in 2013, it was an amazing 13-1 with a Rose Bowl victory.