When last did an SEC football program make a whiz-bang hire?

Will Muschamp after his one victory over Georgia. (John Raoux/AP photo)

Here’s the SEC’s poster child for bad hires. (John Raoux/AP photo)

It’s not my intent to address the state of coaching in the SEC every day for the next 10 years. But I would like to offer this before moving on to other stuff — the changing roster of conference coaches from Dec. 1, 2010 — six years ago — to now.

Alabama: Nick Saban then and now.

Auburn: Gene Chizik then, Gus Malzahn now.

Arkansas: Bobby Petrino then, Bret Bielema now

Florida: Urban Meyer then (he would resign on Dec. 9, 2010), followed by Will Muschamp and now Jim McElwain.

Georgia: Mark Richt then, Kirby Smart now.

Kentucky: Joker Phillips then, Mark Stoops now.

LSU: Les Miles then, Ed Orgeron now.

Ole Miss: Houston Nutt then, Hugh Freeze now.

Mississippi State: Dan Mullen then and now.

Tennessee: Derek Dooley then, Butch Jones now.

South Carolina: Steve Spurrier then, Muschamp now.

Vanderbilt: Robbie Caldwell then (James Franklin would be hired on Dec. 17, 2010), Derek Mason now.

Six years ago, the league had 12 members. These two would be added in 2012.

Missouri: Gary Pinkel then, Barry Odom now.

Texas A&M: Mike Sherman then, Kevin Sumlin now.

Every SEC program save Alabama and Mississippi State has changed coaches in the past six years; Florida and Vandy have done it twice. Also noteworthy is that only two men hired since Dec. 1, 2010 — Malzahn and McElwain — have taken teams to the SEC championship game. (Both did in their first seasons, FYI; McElwain has done it again in Year 2.)

(For a while, we wondered how Missouri could join the SEC and, in Years 2 and 3, win the Eastern Division. The simple answer: Pinkel outcoached everybody in that division.)

Some changes were clearly for the better: Sumlin for Sherman, Franklin for the interim Caldwell, McElwain for Muschamp. Some were slight upgrades: Stoops for Phillips, Freeze for Nutt. Some were due to external circumstances: Pinkel had cancer; Petrino crashed his motorcycle. Some were due to coaches leaving of their volition: Franklin split for Penn State; Meyer and Spurrier resigned. Some were obvious downgrades: Bielema for Petrino, Muschamp for both Meyer and Spurrier.

Whatever the causes, the reality is that 12 of the SEC’s 14 programs have different coaches today than they did six years ago. Contrast this with the ACC, where four of 14 coaches remain in place six years on: David Cutcliffe, Jimbo Fisher, Paul Johnson and Dabo Swinney. That’s a slight difference, but it is a difference.

Here I stipulate that I was supported some of the SEC’s changes. (Notably in the cases of Richt, Miles and Muschamp. I also believed Spurrier’s time at South Carolina had reached its enda sentiment with which the man himself disagreed — until he resigned six games into the 2015 season.) For the record, I was in favor of Georgia hiring Smart. I was appalled that South Carolina hired Muschamp and that LSU kept Orgeron. (This not just in: Sometimes I’m wrong about stuff.)

But enough about me. This is about the SEC, which lists its four most recent hires as Odom, Smart, Muschamp and Orgeron. The first two had never been head coaches; the second two had been fired as head coaches by SEC schools. By way of contrast, the ACC welcomed four new coaches last winter — Richt at Miami, Dino Babers at Syracuse, Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech and Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia. All four had been head coaches elsewhere; only Richt had been fired.

Maybe the real question isn’t about the state of the SEC’s coaches. Maybe it concerns the SEC’s athletic directors. Check the changes listed above and ask yourself this: When last did an SEC school make a hire that, on its face, rivaled Harbaugh to Michigan or Herman to Texas?

From yesterday: The SEC’s coaches – Saban and 13 other guys.

Also from yesterday: Serious question: Who’s the SEC’s second-best coach?

Reader Comments 0

104 comments
patriotdog
patriotdog

First off, grouping the hiring of Harbaugh and Herman together is a misguided grouping. Harbaugh won big at SAN Diego...not SAN Diego State, where he also won, but SAN Diego U and of course at Stanford. Also took Niners to the Super Bowl. Herman has a high scoring offense but lost four games this year, including an appalling loss to Memphis. Rather I would have written 'when did an SEC school make a hire that rivaled Harbaugh to Mich or Meyer to Ohio State?'

mcElwain and Malzahn ruined it for Kirby by having great success in year one ( although it must be noted that Gus's offensive group had mostly been recruited by himself when he was OC under Chizik and knew his system) Kirby in year one looked like an awful hire, by comparison.

Sabah, Meyer at Fla, and most others field teams that are underwhelming in year one. Kirby may take a couple of years as he has to build up the roster. 8 seniors on this team, not counting the transfers TO the program and an underwhelming number of juniors left from that class mean he has few upperclassmen to lead. Year two will be better.....three will butter the bread.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@patriotdog: "Rather I would have written 'when did an SEC school make a hire that rivaled Harbaugh to Mich or Meyer to Ohio State?'"

______________

How about Meyer to fla--even before Meyer to Ohio St?

GTroller
GTroller

We Tech fans think Georgia made a whiz-bang hire with Kirby Smart!

That series is 50/50 as long as he stays.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@GTroller It's good that you think.....did they teach you how at Tech?

Jse1960
Jse1960

Maybe it's because every other team in the conference seems to hire Saban assistants. Track record seems mixed.... Maybe the AD's need to expand their horizons a little.

Peaches30305
Peaches30305

Herman to Texas?  He has not coached a single snap yet.  how can you put him in the same sentence as Harbaugh?

TideDawg
TideDawg

OH:IO is your team playing for the conference championship?

DawginLex
DawginLex

Who was available that meets your criteria of a whiz bang hire? And who is this Vince Lombardi type who would have taken a team with 5 out of 32 in the 2013 recruiting class still on campus, an FCS OL, a true freshman QB(or a scared senior) and no WR bigger than 5'6 who can actually catch a pass and win big in the SEC this year?



Mulk
Mulk

@DawginLex


Mark Richt. At least he wouldn't be training on the job. Smart should have gone to a smaller program and gotten some experience. On second thought, maybe he did.

mwoodliff
mwoodliff

With the occasional exception, most schools make the same mistake.  They hire successful assistants.  What they should be doing is hiring successful head coaches from smaller programs. Take a look, Saban, Bowdon, Meyer, Johnson (both Jimmy and Paul) Franklin, etc...the list goes on.  Being an assistant is NOT the same as being a head coach.  The jury is out and will remain out on Kirby Smart.  I hope he doesn't get on the list of high profile assistants who failed as a head coach.  I wish him well, but a successful DC or OC is a far cry from a successful head coach.  

patriotdog
patriotdog

Best post on this blog. A head coach at a mid major knows how to be a HC. I'm hoping Kirby does well...but who knows? I know the typical Ga fan would rather

hire a 'former Dog' to coach than a proven coach who didn't go to school at UGA

but as usual, in this, Ga fans embarrass themselves with their lack of perspective.

SaulK
SaulK

Last big hires: Saban and Meyer. No other SEC coaches come close.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

South Carolina might as well go ahead and offer Jim McElwain their head coaching job if the trend line continues. 

FlatTire
FlatTire

Its hilarious all the comments from Tech fans about the UGA program being relevant;  a cesspool, etc


Then when Tech finally wins (14 times in 52 years LOL)  the entire Team and coaches all storm the field as if they won the national title then proceed to tear up the hedges.


Evidently UGA must be more relevant to act like that

TOJacket
TOJacket

You know how many times I've endured 3-9...or 13 of 15. If you can't take it then don't do it yourself. Good grief.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Like you guys did at Bobby Dodd ? Hypocrite crybabies to boot.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket 14 times in 52 years and you want to  talk about relevancy?



FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket you've endured it because you come to a UGA blog and pull for a program whose own administration cares nothing about its sports teams


not our fault

TOJacket
TOJacket

We don't pretend to be a perennial Football contender. We have no 4 or 5 stars on our team but we sure as hell were better than your team Saturday. Deal with Flat.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket Again thats your fault for no 4 or 5 stars


And I already dealt with it before the game started.  I said last week we were probably going to lose

TOJacket
TOJacket

Your an idiot...our administration knows what we are and has a Coach there that has beat 4 Flat...4 SEC teams in the last three years and please don't be ignorant enough to run down Vandy because they beat y'all and TN. We still try to do it the old way. 4 in 3 years and no 4-5 stars. Tip of the hat to CPJ. As the great Buck Belue said " One of the best in the Country "

TOJacket
TOJacket

Oh and once again...congrats on the 14 of 52. How did it look the 52 before?

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket oh golf clap


you beat a UGA team whose coach was on the hot seat


a UGA team that has a new coaching staff


Vandy and Miss St


Oh boy!!!!!  Impressive I tell ya

TOJacket
TOJacket

You guys own nothing. More NC and conf ships more recent... no give me your lame AP excuse, AP is good for UGA but cheats and favors OSU. Brother

patriotdog
patriotdog

Don't know. Early 20th century football was played without my knowledge.

"How'd they do back before helmets?" is an equally irrelevant question.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Golf clap? And you said we are "probably " going to lose. Really convenient

Mulk
Mulk

@TOJacket


Buck Belue was not that great. And, he was probably being sarcastic???

Mulk
Mulk

@FlatTire


Not really. UGAG is irrelevant but it does feel good to still beat them. You will understand exactly how they feel IF you guys ever beat Florida.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket and I gave a reason why we were going to probably lose; and did we win?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

"Deal with Flat"???

Duh!

Are you just stupid?!

Better Saturday? Did you again conveniently forget the past 16 seasons?

Were you better then?

Have you had the crap slapped out of you lately?

Good thing you don't go to ballgames.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You've won 3 of the past 16, yet we "own nothing" and you "own this state."

Can you not see how ridiculous you look with your mindless drivel?

Again, have you had your lying face slapped around lately? Quit hiding behind that keyboard like oh:io--and step outside for awhile, gutless.


DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

"You're," fool.

Classic TOJ--calling others idiots, but can't figure out the most common words in his native language.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Mulk

If we "ever" beat fla???

You don't know much about college football.

Despite their last 3 decades of dominance, we still lead them in the series--and by more than a game or two.

I'd say we've beaten them a few times.

So it feels good to beat UGA? According to your fellow Jacket fan, the smarmy GTBob, the game is "meaningless."

Mulk
Mulk

@DawgNole


I don't claim to know a lot about college football. I am just a blogger like you with an opinion. The Georgia verses Tech numbers that you quote a lot such as 13 of 16 is similar to the Georgia verses Florida series in the last quarter century. You are correct - I probably should have said "ever again". My bad.


I don't have a problem with GTBob's posts, but I freely admit that I wished Tech won more in their series with UGAG. I would trade my soul to the devil for a deal where Tech never won another game IF they beat UGAG every season.


In the meantime, 2 of the last 3 feels good. To help you understand that feeling I use the Florida verses Georgia game to illustrate. Probably worse since they are in Georgia's division?


By the way, what are the FSU verses Florida numbers all time. Whatever they are, you have to enjoy the last few seasons. Similar to a Tech fan enjoying 2 out of the last 3.





DawgNole
DawgNole

@Mulk

I don't have a problem with your thinking here. I did have a problem with your suggesting that we've never beaten fla. Like you said, adding that "again" would've conveyed what you apparently meant.

fla owns UGA mentally over the past 3 decades--much as UGA has owned GT. As far as FSU-fla, the gators lead pretty substantially in the series--despite our dominance over the past 7 years--but the first six games were played in Gainesville. gators didn't want any part of FSU, so state legislature forced them to play us. If they had their way, they'd drop us like a hot rock, just like they did Miami. 

I'm a GT fan when they're not playing UGA or FSU, but I absolutely loathe the gators.

GTBob's posts simply reflect his thinly disguised hatred of UGA. He tries to minimize the importance of the rivalry because the Dawgs have dominated his Jackets. He fails miserably, though, every single time--as evidenced by the enthusiasm of GT fans after beating UGA. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

Lane Kiffin to Ga. as OC. I'd do it in a minute. With Eason already in place and Fromm coming in, they need an OC like Kiffin to work with the young recruits. Last year Kiffin kept Coker in manageable plays. This year he has helped Hurts develop. Like him or not, he can handle young talent. Georgia's OC and Eason didn't seem to click consistently. That probably wouldn't have changed the won/loss record but Eason would be better prepared for 2017.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


Kiffin needs a QB with at least some foot speed. Rules out Chuck and Duck

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


Jeez, you dogs just can't help the soulda woulda and couldas. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

Tide...You really think he would come to UGA? BwaaaaaaHaaaaaaa!!!!!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OH:IO What has happened to JTB , Bucky? Looked like a deer in the headlights for most of the Michigan game. My other observation a conference The B1G that has neither team in their CG ranked in the top 6.And the winner of the B1G CG could also be left out of the Rose bowl. Hope your Buckeyes get past Clemmons in the semis, because I want to pose another question. Which team will score more points against the Bammer defense Florida or Ohio State.

Mulk
Mulk

@Buschleaguer


Forget Ohio St. - I'll take almost any team out of the power 5 to score more than Florida.