The five coaches I hated omitting (Benedict Arnold is one)

The trouble with Top 10 lists is, duh, there are only 10 spots. (Tune in next week when I suggest water is indeed wet.) In yesterday’s exhaustively unscientific rundown of my Top 10 college football coaches, there were moments when I thought, “Let’s just make this a Top 15.” But then that would have become a Top 25, and before you know it I’d have a list that includes Ron Zook.

But, in the interest of completeness, I do feel compelled to share these names with you, and — fair warning — one of them will make you throw a shoe at your computer monitor.

11. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest: Look, the guy won an ACC championship at Wake Forest, which to me is bigger than Steve Spurrier winning one at Duke when Florida State hadn’t yet joined the league. And Grobe had to outcoach the mastermind Chan Gailey to do it.

12: Jim Leavitt, South Florida: Every time I say, “There’s no way Georgia State can ever have a decent football team,” I rebut myself by thinking about USF. Leavitt started a program in 1996, has moved up from Division I-AA and has had two losing seasons in 12 tries.

13. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt: Another of those pure coaches, and by “pure coach” I mean a guy you could plop down in Pop Warner and know his teams would still be playing good smart football. (Grobe falls under this heading, as does Paul Johnson.)

14. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss: Were I a coach with demonstrably better personnel, Nutt’s the last guy I’d want to play. He’s the best upset guy out there, and he’s creative with personnel. This whole NFL Wildcat stuff came from Nutt’s deployment of Darren McFadden.

15. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas: Here’s where you throw the shoe. I know he ran out on the Falcons, but he’s one of the smartest coaches on any level. I mean, he nearly played for a BCS title with Louisville. Sorry to disillusion you, but not every good coach is a nice guy.

OK, and now you’re asking: Where’s Spurrier himself? (Still entertaining, but that’s it.) Where’s Randy Edsall? (He’d have been No. 16.) Chris Petersen? (No. 17.) Pat Hill? (No. 18.)

Where’s Kyle Whittingham? Mark Mangino? Mark Dantonio? Gary Pinkel? Rich Rodriguez? Bobby Bowden? Jeff Tedford? Greg Schiano? Mike Leach? Mike Gundy? Mike Bellotti? (Whoops, he retired.) Joe Paterno? Butch Davis? Tom O’Brien? Matt Hayes’ man Brian Kelly? Lane Kiffin? Rich Brooks? (OK, maybe not so much the latter two.)

All I can say is that they were, as Ryan Cameron shouts after a Hawk blocks a shot, “Inspected … and rejected.”

92 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

July 15th, 2009
2:49 pm

Where’s Ron Zook?

Dixie Normus

July 15th, 2009
2:53 pm

One coach that I’ve yet to see mentioned on any of these coaching lists is David Cutcliffe. Maybe he needs to turn dook around even more to get noticed but his work at Tennessee and Ole Miss and his moulding of the Manning Bros. (new video game?) should be of note.

Ken Stallings

July 15th, 2009
2:59 pm

Well at least you gave Tom O’Brien an honorable mention! LOL!!

Records matter and so it will take O’Brien making NC State a powerhouse. You cannot vote on potential. However, if TOB achieves what many think he’s building for, he’ll be on everyone’s top 10 list.

Kudzu Wildcat

July 15th, 2009
3:04 pm

Where is Bill Snyder of Kansas State?

Larry

July 15th, 2009
3:08 pm

Mark,

How would you rank Bobby Cox? First? :-)

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 15th, 2009
3:21 pm

Dixie, this is not a top assistant blog

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
3:23 pm

I believe Bill Snyder is indeed at Kansas State.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 15th, 2009
3:25 pm

Just cause the BCS is flawed, don’t give credit to Petrino. Damn Kudzu, Snyder wouldn’t make the top 10 in his conference.

Gerry DiNardo

July 15th, 2009
3:25 pm

Why didn’t I make the top ten?!?

G-Silk

July 15th, 2009
3:26 pm

Mark,

Lay off GSU. We’ll be a powerhouse in no time. Don’t make negative judgements about a team that has yet to take the field.

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
3:27 pm

Because you went for two against Georgia, Coach DiNardo. (And Will Witherspoon knocked the ball down.)

StingerSplash

July 15th, 2009
3:29 pm

And Grobe had to outcoach the mastermind Chan Gailey to do it.
Yeesh. Talk about damning with faint praise, Mr. Bradley.
And that picture of Bobby Paintrino … boy, does he look excited to be Fayetteville, Ark. He has the look of a guy whose thought is “Did the first check clear already?” He looks like he’s ready to start mouthing along the words to the fight song that he will never bother to learn because he won’t be there long enough before a better job comes along.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 15th, 2009
3:41 pm

Rating Petrino ahead of Leach and Gundy is like rating Rita Moreno ahead of Salma Hayek and Eva Mendes

phar71

July 15th, 2009
3:42 pm

No June Jones? Bogus list

Charlie Weiss

July 15th, 2009
3:47 pm

How bout me? I’m the head coach one of the greatest programs in the history of college football?

Lonesome Dove

July 15th, 2009
3:50 pm

Whoever is coaching at Emory University. Still undefeated after all these years.

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
3:51 pm

Don’t get me started about Rita Moreno. Or Rita Hayworth.

Bama Aaron

July 15th, 2009
3:57 pm

Mark I gotta agree with Bank on this one. And personally I’m not ranking anyone ahead of Ms Hayek!

Huh?

July 15th, 2009
4:06 pm

I’m glad you posted this blog Mark because I didn’t get the chance to ask you on the other one how in the crap you have Paul Johnson over Jim Grobe. One 9-4 season (inflated by two D-1aa’s and a weak ACC) and the guy’s one of the best in the biz? Totally laughable. As you pointed out, Grobe has at least won a championship and I would argue he has less to work with at Wake Forest than Johnson does at Tech.

Otto

July 15th, 2009
4:14 pm

Cutcliffe did a good job at Ole Miss given what he had to work with and is doing well at Duke. It is a shame he was not promoted to coach at Tenn. He would do better than the clown they have now.

Glenn

July 15th, 2009
4:51 pm

Good Grief . Alright I’ll bite . I’d replace Jim Leavitt & Bobby Petrino with Brian Kelly & Randy Edsall . Whats up with all that big eastness ? I don’t get the lack of love for that guy & no I’m not from New England . You are aware UConn has not even been division 1 for a decade . Is winning at USF really that impressive with the talent pool they have around them ? The lack of love for Randy Edsall really surprises me . I bet he is at ND next year .

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 15th, 2009
4:56 pm

(Tune in next week when I suggest water is indeed wet.)

And I predict at least 100 posters will opine that you don’t know what you’re talking about (Probably in more unkind language).

;-)

Glenn

July 15th, 2009
4:57 pm

He would have been 16 . I should have read further .

TommyP

July 15th, 2009
5:07 pm

Pat Hill? Gimme a break, Mark.

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
5:09 pm

What’s wrong with Pat Hill? Other than the mustache.

Reid Adair

July 15th, 2009
5:15 pm

The traitor is a good college coach. He had no business ever being hired to coach the Falcons (or any team in the NFL, for that matter). The cowardly way in which he snuck out of town just sealed the fact.

Joe

July 15th, 2009
5:15 pm

The Wildcat is high school coach Hugh Wyatt’s conception. It was brought to Arkansas by Gus Malzahn. Nutt just takes credit. He had nothing to do with it.

RAMBLE ON!!!

July 15th, 2009
5:15 pm

Huh? or Duh?

CPJ has 2 more National Championships than St. Richt. One more than the total of UGAg Football Program.

…I can’t find my blue bird.

Jerry Glanville

July 15th, 2009
5:18 pm

Wow Bradley, it seems your judgement is no better then when I was around them parts. Theres been no greater defensive mind and motivator in the history of the game and you and elvis both know it.

Reality

July 15th, 2009
5:20 pm

BFD, nobody really cares about I-AA championships. That’s like bragging about winning an Arena league championship.

MyWhiskeyClear

July 15th, 2009
5:35 pm

Wow, everyone’s tough on D1-AA as if it weren’t still the same tough proposition as the rest of college football: take students who are also athletes, form a cohesive team that stacks up well against others and play a season and post season. Yeah, championships are nothing…you could probably do it yourself.

Huh?

July 15th, 2009
5:36 pm

That’s cute Ramble On, but we’re talking D-1 here you clueless goob. Sure, Johnson is a good coach, but 9th best in the land? Puh-leeze. If it wasn’t for that 3 point Georgia win last year he’d have an 8-5 team whose biggest win came against Boston College. Whoopdeefreakingdoo. That’s not much better than anything Gailey ever did. We’ll see what he does this year and next, but I’m not quite ready to put him up there with the best after one year. Your schedule last year was absolutely laughable. Look at the month of October. What a joke. And he still managed to lose to crappy Virginia. In fact, I saw the same kind of patterns last year that I did under Gailey. You win a big one (Clemson, FSU, Georgia) then choke on a fatty the following game (Virginia, UNC, LSU). Georgia Tech cannot handle success. This is a fact until proven otherwise. Good luck in 2009.

Tide Rising

July 15th, 2009
5:44 pm

Mark,

As a Bama fan all I got to say is thank God for Petrino. He took some of the heat and hate off of Saban. All Saban did was change his mind and do a poor job of handling the situation publicly. But he never lied to the Dolphins owner Wayne Heizenga. He left on good terms with Heizenga and the remain friends. Petrino lied to Blank less than 12 hours I think before he was in Fayetteville accepting the Ark. job.

JSS_62

July 15th, 2009
5:50 pm

Don’t you mean Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, or Carole Lombard? Go Emory!!! 1927 forever!!!

Tide Rising

July 15th, 2009
5:56 pm

Mark,

You hit the nail on the head with Houston Nutt. He continously beat teams with superior talent like AU, Bama, and LSU and gave all those coaches headaches. And look now at what he’s doing at Ole Miss. Nick Saban said that out of all the coaches in NCAA football the one he admired most was Houston Nutt because he got more out of his players than any other coach. That’s saying something.

bb

July 15th, 2009
6:04 pm

What the dawg fans fail to realize is that CPJ deserved to be ranked where he is before last year. He won 43 games in 5 years at Navy of all places. You can say what you want about who Navy plays, but I can guarantee you that Navy did not ‘out-recruit’ even one of those teams (including the D1AA opponents). He won 43 games and took Navy to 5 straight bowl games with less talent than any other Div 1A team (except maybe AF and Army).

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
6:13 pm

Don’t forget Clara Bow.

DenverDawg

July 15th, 2009
6:26 pm

I’m still waiting to read WHAT TED STRIKER thinks!

Chris

July 15th, 2009
6:29 pm

Mark,
You’re dead nuts accurate on Bobby Johnson. I was curious as to why an Auburn or Clemson or Tennessee showed zero interest in Johnson at the end of last year.

Maybe they did, but I never heard where any of the search firms had him on any of their ‘A’ list of available coaches. Maybe you should start a search firm?

Jack G.

July 15th, 2009
6:34 pm

Mark

You are not old enough to remember Clara Bow, but I do.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 15th, 2009
6:54 pm

Chris, those three missed a bunch of opportunities. Of all the coaches that are out there and Auburn goes to Iowa for a coach. What a bunch of maroons.

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
6:55 pm

I’m old enough to remember Clara Bow as a debutante.

I thought Clemson should have taken a run at Bobby Johnson. But I guess they just wanted to have a coach named Dabo.

Not Disappointed "Looking out for the big Man!"

July 15th, 2009
6:57 pm

Mark, What about “The Fridge!” Hell, if he hadn’t left Ga Tech in 2000, they were on there way to the top. He was always better than O’leary and knows how to coach. He just doesn’t have the talent like down south. As a fat person, I’m a offended. LOL! What gives Mark?

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
7:02 pm

The Fridge is a good coach. But I have to say I expected Maryland to have broken upward by now. He won 10-plus games in each of his first three seasons but hasn’t done it again in the five since.

Not Disappointed

July 15th, 2009
7:05 pm

Mark who’s the better coach. Fridge or O’leary.

Mark Bradley

July 15th, 2009
7:07 pm

Boy, that’s tough. I’m tempted to say O’Leary, but he wasn’t as good after Friedgen left in 2001, was he?

But I’d still say O’Leary, after further review.

[...] Update: Because I felt bad about making a list and leaving Grobe off it, I tacked on another five names. Here are my choices for Nos. 11-15. [...]

JSS_62

July 15th, 2009
7:12 pm

Poor Clara Bow, now there’s a woman who felt the wrath of old Hollywood… Now Mr. Bradley only Mr. Bisher is old enough to remember her debut to society or the USC football team… So sad, I feel very Jeff Schultz like dirty after making that correlation… RIP Ms. Bow…

[...] Mark Bradley placed an interesting blog post on The five coaches I hated omitting, and Benedict Arnold is one …Here’s a brief overviewRecords matter and so it will take O’Brien making NC State a powerhouse. You cannot vote on potential. However, if TOB achieves what many think he’s building for, he’ll be on everyone’s top 10 list. Link; Report this comment … [...]

Tom

July 15th, 2009
7:45 pm

Mark, do you think Mark Richt has lost his intensity and turned into a comfortable shoe. My Alabama Student son gives me hell about the fact Coach Richt took his players to the pool while Saban was making his men chisled hardbodies during two-a-days.