50 Coaches from Other Sports We'd Love to See in College Football

Dan VastaSenior Writer IIIMarch 20, 2012

50 Coaches from Other Sports We'd Love to See in College Football

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    Which current coaches in the world of sports would you love to see coach in college football?

    The list could be endless for many, but I needed to come away with 50 top-notch names.

    Whether it was because of their popularity and/or exceptional achievements, I felt all listed were worthy.

    To keep it easy on everybody out there, I stayed with four sports: college basketball, NFL, NBA and MLB.

    Feel free to throw out some of your favorite current coaches if they did not make the cut.

    Lastly, remember that nearly all of these names would never happen (outside of perhaps NFL coaches) in our wildest of dreams, but just imagine if their coaching talents transformed over to the college gridiron.

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

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    Arguably the greatest coach to have ever lived (save Wooden) is a mortal lock to be considered on this list.

    "Coach K" is also arguably the top current coach in all of sports right now and is the main reason people love, or love to hate, the Duke Blue Devils.

    Having the most victories in college basketball history speaks volumes, but so does his 13 ACC titles, 11 Final Fours and 4 national championships.

    If his basketball smarts were translated into pigskin, who knows how much he could have dominated the landscape of college football.

Roy Williams, North Carolina

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    Roy Williams is a passionate coach that loves nothing more than winning, and he recruits with the best of them. Some argue that along with Nick Saban and Urban Meyer, nobody can beat the man in landing the prized recruits.

    If Roy implemented his high-octane offense in basketball to football, look out.

    Think of Oklahoma State’s offense from last season happening nearly every single season. That is what the current Tar Heels basketball coach would bring to the table in college football.

John Calipari, Kentucky

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    If you think Urban Meyer can land recruits, you should check out the superstars that John Calipari lands every season.

    Coach Cal is one of the best to never have won a title in recent memory, regardless of college basketball or football.

    He brings a ton of excitement to the game as a tremendous and underrated teacher that would also haul in the best of the bunch on the recruiting trail.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State

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    Guaranteeing every four-year player to appear in the Final Four is one hell of a fact (so is reaching six Final Fours), but Tom Izzo is more than just a magical coach.

    He finds ways to win, outcoaches the best of them and loves his players to death. His former players always come back to East Lansing to watch a proud coach and, more importantly, a proud program because of Izzo.

Rick Pitino, Louisville

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    Pitino has taken three different teams to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville) and he could lead his team to a BCS bowl.

    He thrives on defense and is known for having "bigs" that can do a little bit of everything. His guards always play smart and you could assume his quarterback and running backs would play like superstars.

Jim Calhoun, Connecticut

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    Another future Hall of Famer would be fun to watch in college football. Nick Saban or Mack Brown comes to some minds compared to this legend, but the bottom line is that Calhoun wins with the best of them.

    Calhoun loves nothing more than being counted out by the media and his three national championships are simply remarkable.

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

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    One of the best legends on this entire list, Jim Boeheim would bring quite the hype if his success transferred over to football.

    Always standing up for his team, Boeheim is the ultimate competitor and would be a joy to watch if he were roaming the gridiron sidelines.

    Plus, wouldn’t you love it if some media asked him about one of his star players? (insert profane McNamara video)

Bill Self, Kansas

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    Try winning eight conference (Big 12) titles and then maybe you would be worthy of being called a mortal lock on this list. The way his team plays defense is amazing to witness and Bob Stoops comes to my mind when I think of Mr. Self.

    Self is a flat out winner and leads by example, as he is a coach who is always encouraging through thick-and-thin. 

Leonard Hamilton, Florida State

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    One of the toughest defensive teams in America this season, Leonard Hamilton has battled for decades to finally reach the top.

    His Seminoles have a chance to make a deep run, but his knack for overcoming adversity would be great to see in college football.

John Thompson III, Georgetown

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    JTIII has taken over for Gary Williams of Maryland on the All-Sweat Team, but the guy knows his basketball.

    Learning a ton from his father, the current Hoyas coach should, at some point, get to his second Final Four.

    However, he has been consistent in terms of getting his team into the "Dance" and I would bank on constant and continued success if his talents would transfer over to college football.

Buzz Williams, Marquette

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    For his postgame rants, dances and poetic touching, Buzz Williams needs to coach college football.

    He is the Dabo Swinney sort of coach and then some, who wears his emotions in his sleeve.

    Some despise that, but the collegiate game always needs characters that love nothing more than the game itself.

Mike Brey, Notre Dame

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    The last two seasons has been remarkable for Notre Dame basketball and I bet you the football fans in South Bend wish he could put the same magic on their team.

    Mike Brey is a hard-nosed coach that gets the most out of his guys, no matter what obstacles are thrown his way.

Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

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    One of the more underrated coaches in the history of Big East basketball (had best winning percentage heading into this season) would be a joy to watch in college football.

    Pittsburgh football would sure as heck love if his success transformed to the gridiron. His players are disciplined and often find ways to win tough games (unless it is in March).

Steve Lavin, St John's

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    I love the former ESPN studio analyst, but he is landing the recruits to give them a chance to shine in the coming seasons with St. John's.

    The slicked-back hair would be fun to watch grace the gridiron sidelines, since he is a fun guy to root for. There are some coaches that you just love to see lose, but Lavin is not one of those guys.

Jay Wright, Villanova

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    The George Clooney look-a-like (at least that is what everybody says) would draw his own media fanbase towards himself.

    He has the swagger when he is winning like any coach, but Clooney—I mean Wright—would be one of the more intriguing college basketball coaches to watch coach football. 

Bob Huggins, West Virginia

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    “Huggy Bear” is a coach you love to have on your team, as well as love to hate, when you're cheering against the Mountaineers.

    Huggins is compared to many outrageous coaches in college football because of the love-hate relationship, per se, he has with his players. That in itself would be a treat to witness on fall Saturdays.

Frank Martin, Kansas State

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    Speaking of guys who lose their cool and yet love nothing in their lives more than their team, Frank Martin fits in that same mold. Martin showed his love for Jamar Samuels in regards to the ridiculous suspension before tip and college football would love and embrace a passionate coach like himself.

    Note: Watching this video makes you realize why college sports is better than professional sports, because the coaches develop a personal and father-like relationship with their players.

Tom Crean, Indiana

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    Yes, I met this guy at church once, but that does not mean he is the coolest coach on this list.

    Alright, so it automatically puts him in the discussion, but this is another fiery and emotional coach that loves the game as much as anybody.

    Every coach is supposed to love their jobs, but their success and ability to win the big games always takes over at the end of the day.

    Crean is starting to do that with the Hoosiers as his future is extremely bright. Now, if he could transcend the IU football program, Bloomington would be jumping for joy.

Thad Matta, Ohio State

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    The Buckeyes have already made a Final Four thanks to the “Thad Five,” featring Othello Hunter, Greg Oden, Daequan Cook, Mike Conley Jr. and David Lighty. However, Matta is still looking for that ring.

    He took Xavier to the Elite Eight back in 2003-04 and very well could do the same, if not more, with his current Buckeyes.

    If Matta’s talents would transcend into the world of college football, you would enjoy him a whole lot more—unless, of course, you’re from Ann Arbor.

Matt Painter, Purdue

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    An underrated coach that always gets the best from his team is the true definition of Matt Painter. Most Big Ten coaches thrive on defense and Painter fits in the same mold.

    Painter’s Boilermakers nearly upset second-seeded Kansas the other night and his relentless defenders would translate into a ton of success in college football.

Bo Ryan, Wisconsin

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    Wow, another Big Ten basketball coach that just crushed you into oblivion when we are talking about the NCAA Tournament.

    Bo Ryan has taken his Badgers to four Sweet 16s (including an Elite Eight run in 2004-05) and is on the verge of appearing in the Final Four this season.

    It is amazing the job that Ryan has done with at times an undermanned and less-talented squad, compared to many other teams. 

Seth Greenberg, Virginia Tech

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    Seth Greenberg hasn’t been the most successful coach with Virginia Tech, but going against the likes of North Carolina and Duke is mission impossible.

    Greenberg may be at the bottom of this list in terms of overall success, he hasn’t been able to land the most talented players but has still has made the NCAA Tourney (once).

    Overall, he makes this list for how outspoken he is and when he missed the "Dance" in 2009, his beef should have been extra juicy and it was just that. 

Billy Donovan, Florida

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    If you have won two titles, then you are pretty much a mortal lock to make my list. Bill Donovan is making another deep run with his Florida Gators. Most forget he went to the Elite Eight last season and could be making a similar run this season.

    A coach that has achieved so much is worthy, and though he may have lost some of his swagger after winning those consecutive titles, his knowledge and ability to recruit is still top-notch.

Bill Belichick, New England

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    Arguably the greatest NFL coach we have seen since Vince Lombardi, Bill Belichick has achieved so much success.

    Is there anything else to say other than, "Will he win another ring?"

    The “Hoodie” would be a blast to coach the collegiate game with his businesslike approach.

    Remember, when he was the head coach with the Browns, Nick Saban was his defensive coordinator (so comparisons to Saban but better have been drawn before).

Tom Coughlin, NY Giants

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    Born and raised in New York, the coach that has now won two Super Bowls is rising to the elite coaches in the game these days.

    Formerly with Syracuse and Boston College as either offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach, Tom Coughlin would've likely been successful in the college game as well.

Andy Reid, Philadelphia

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    Winning six NFC East division titlse is not exactly easy to accomplish. The former grad assistant at BYU and an offensive line coach at UTEP and Missouri would likely make a solid impact, had he decided to coach in college over pro.

John Harbaugh, Baltimore

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    If John’s brother could do it, why couldn't John?

    The former Michigan quarterback turned around the Stanford Cardinal program and I would be willing to bet John could do the same to a program as well.

    The only John needs to prove to shut up some of the naysayers out there would obviously be to win the big one for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed (not that those legends need any help).

Rex Ryan, NY Jets

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    Oh, "Sexy Rexy."

    You and your words always have a knack for eating you up and making national headlines.

    I guess that is the life of a professional coach in New York, but the Jets have not exactly been flexing their muscles in recent memory.

    Every season, you just know they will come up short of a Super Bowl appearance, but Ryan could make a solid impact in the college game with the way his defense is normally orchestrated.

    Plus, he would be great for the media and we know how many coaches are even more famous for their press conference rants compared to their on-field performances.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit

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    Quick, shake my hand and then hunt me down like nobody’s business.

    All kidding aside, Jim Schwartz is a solid coach that has the Detroit Lions on the rise in the NFL. Depending on when he earns his first playoff victory, Schwartz will gain a ton of hype and recognition.

    Many coaches and players in sports lose their jobs based on potential, so the hope is that he can live up to some of the lofty expectations. 

Lovie Smith, Chicago

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    Oh, Lovie.

    Everybody in Chicago loves when you win, but the excitement isn’t something the fans dig. on account you never seem to show a lot of emotion when you do come out victorious.

    The bottom line is that his Bears could have a breakout season in 2012  and it has the entire state —and some of the nation—intrigued.

    Lovie Smith perhaps would not make for the greatest college coach since he does not command respect moreso he shows it by example.

    Still, he spent a ton of time in college (Tulsa, Arizona State, Kentucky, Wisconsin) and has shown to have his players performing at their best for him.

Sean Payton, New Orleans

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    The best offensive mind in the NFL arguably has put on a clinic with Drew Brees as his quarterback.

    Most would bank on success at the college level with a decent quarterback at his disposal, thanks to his ability to spread out and breakdown the defense.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh

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    Is Mike Tomlin considered the best coach in the NFL?

    He has been by many experts, or is least is in the running, because he is the ultimate players’ coach.

    Tomlin's team loves giving it their all and having a winning attitude surely helps to along the way. That normally would equal a boatload of success and he still looks like he could line up and play at the college level as well.

Norv Turner, San Diego

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    Alright, so maybe Norv Turner does not know how to win in December, but many successful college coaches have their struggles in the clutch.

    Turner, of course, was a former Oregon Duck quarterback backing up Dan Fouts, so he has Pac-12 ties (graduate assistant at Oregon, USC wide receiver, defensive back, quarterback, offensive coordinator).  

Mike Shanahan, Washington

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    The Redskins head coach won a pair of Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, and despite getting up there in age,most would love to see him at the collegiate level (in terms of being a head coach).

    He had runs with the Florida Gators and Minnesota Gophers at the FBS level during the late 70s and early 80s, but that was just as an offensive coordinator.

Tom Thibodeau, Chicago

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    Arguably the best defensive minded coach in the entire NBA, his Bulls have had the best defense for the past two seasons.

    "Thibs" recently just became the fastestcoach in the history of the game to reach 100 wins (100-32 through two seasons).

    Imagine Alabama’s or LSU’s defense in terms of what he is currently accomplishing with Chicago.

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio

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    Another defensive-minded coach has a lot more accomplish on his storied career as an NBA coach. The coach that has swagger to go along with his four NBA titles.

    Something even more remarkable is that “Pop” has either won his division or finished in second for the past 14 seasons.

    Yes, he is a future Hall of Famer.

George Karl, Denver

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    The former Tar Heel point guard has over 1,000 career wins as a coach in the NBA with five different teams (Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle, Milwaukee, Denver).

    His offense is always up-tempo as his guards have the ability to push the pace with the best of them.

    Imagine what his football teams would look like. Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Hawaii and Houston come to mind.

Lawrence Frank, Detroit

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    This crazy guy is one of the smaller coaches you will see, but he is an aggressive one that has quite the mouth on him.

    Hey, we have all sworn before, though maybe not quite like him on the ESPN family of networks. Still, this is my wildcard and underrated choice to dream about seeing coach a college football game. 

Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City

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    The former NBA Coach of the Year has his Thunder primed and ready for a deep run towards an NBA Finals appearance.

    Underrated because he has just been coaching Oklahoma City for three-plus seasons, don’t be shocked to see him with a few NBA titles in the immediate future.

    Brooks lets his dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook do everything, but the guy knows his basketball (former point guard in the NBA).

    If his smarts were turned into football wisdom, you should be one of the first ones to line up for coach Brooks.

Doc Rivers, Boston

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    Shaquille O’Neal believes Doc Rivers is one of the all-time greats and he has to be up there in recent memory with his 2007 NBA ring to show for it.

    A defensive minded coach has a tremendous knack for getting his players to perform every night.

    That is tough to see these days with the Celtics getting longer in the tooth, but Rivers is still a hot commodity and is regarded very highly.

Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia

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    Win a World Series and five straight division titles like Charlie Manuel has and you will receive a bunch of praise. Manuel would love another ring and has the team capable of doing such.

    Manuel is also an underrated funny guy that can joke and have fun a lot of fun with the media. He would be perfect for college football with his ability to how dare I say, "flirt with the media (Manuel flirting even sounds funny)." 

Mike Scioscia, LA Angels

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    One of the more successful managers in baseball has a ring at his disposal and would be your typical college football that fights to the death for his players.

    He does not show a ton of emotion after or before the game, but for in-game scenarios he will do whatever he feels needs to be done in order to come out victorious.

Bobby Valentine, Boston

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    If he ever got ejected from a college football and attempted to put on a fake mustache we would probably talk about it every college football season.

    The current Boston Red Sox manager would be an interesting choice for college football but I doubt he would disappoint us since he has been around the game for such a long time.

Ron Washington, Texas

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    Ron Washington does not get tosses a whole lot, but like any manager in baseball it is always a joy to witness a classic ejection.

    Washington has a loaded roster and is attempting to reach a third straight World Series. Getting to the postseason is tough enough in itself so hopefully his talent continues to win out.

    My friend loves the Rangers offenses compared to the Arkansas Razorbacks with what Bobby Petrino has and that comparison may not seem too goofy on account both teams have come so close to reaching the top of the mountain. 

Jim Leyland, Detroit

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    Smoking his cigar whenever possible, Jim Leyland also is one of your better managers in baseball.

    Having been to the World Series a couple of times before, Leyland's Tigers are one of the current favorites to to win the World Series (10/1) and he is the classic coach that doesn't take any bogus from anybody.

    Leyland battles every single pitch during a ball game and would be quite the character for college football. 

Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay

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    Joe Maddon may seem like your grandpa, but in a good way. The old man with the classic specs is due for another World Series run.

    They have one of the finest pitching staffs in baseball right now, and don’t forget Tampa Bay does not exactly have the payroll to afford many popular and talented players.

    He could dominate teams if he would be able to land a top notch first baseman that rakes .290 with 30 plus bombs and 100 plus runs batted in (Think older version of Kirk Ferentz or perhaps current version Frank Beamer). 

Bruce Bochy, San Francisco

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    The man filled with one of the better mustaches in the game just won his first World Series two seasons ago and has been coaching in the big’s since 1995.

    Bochy would be a solid fit for college football with his ability to develop such a young team (Posey, Lincecum, Cain).

    Some coaches (managers) do not necessarily have the patience and consistency to always keep them afloat, but Bochy isn’t your typical teacher.

    His team becomes smarter from having Bochy as their manager and there is always a lesson to be learned from him as well.

Kirk Gibson, Arizona

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    The former World Series legend put the Baby D-Backs into the postseason and though they could have won a series, this team has a bright future.

    Gibson knows the game well and was spectacular with mixing-and-matching players throughout the season. Throw his talents to college football and he could fit right in.

Dusty Baker, Cincinnati

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    In Dusty We Trusty!

    Well, Cub fans would have preferred to get a ring with the guy whereas the Reds are attempting to get back into the postseason with one last run push into the postseason.

    Dusty Baker has been blamed for allowing his pitchers to go far too deep into ball games.

    However, some programs in college football would fall in love with a coach that loves nothing more than giving his teammates an extra boost of confidence in order for them to succeed.


Ozzie Guillen, Miami

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    I cannot wait for Ozzie to show some of pageantry with the new looking Miami Marlins.

    Those fish have a new manager, stadium, uniforms, players and the whole enchilada.

    Guillen loves his family and baseball, a recipe for success in sports. He won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox back in 2005 and has the hopes of bringing a title back to Miami (did so as bench coach in 2003).

    Outside of bringing in a ton of even more popularity for college football, Guillen is a fan favorite (or some just love to hate) that would blow up the landscape. 

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