2012 Elections: 25 College Football Coaches Who Would Make Best Politicians

Dan Vasta@CI_StatsGuruSenior Writer IIIJune 10, 2012

2012 Elections: 25 College Football Coaches Who Would Make Best Politicians

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    The college football season is quickly approaching as we are only 11 weeks away from the season, but any sort of rankings to help pass the time never gets old.

    In our experience with the NCAA, we have learned that many coaches who are successful often could run for mayor, primarily because college football means everything to so many of these towns and communities.

    However, only a select list of coaches have that star power that gets an entire community behind them. Their passion, drive and dedication is reflected upon the results we see on Saturdays. 

    So, without further adieu, here are the 25 coaches who would make the best politicians. 

Nick Saban

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    Nick Saban would make a great politician, since he has been able to walk into the houses of star high school players and persuade them to play for his elite Crimson Tide program.

    Alabama football had issues becoming a title contending program immediately before Saban took over, but he is currently at the top of the college football landscape.

    There is Saban, and then there is the next line of coaches. A great speaker, Saban would make quite the politician because he always finds new ways to win. 

Les Miles

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    Les Miles is damn proud of coaching for the Bayou Bengals and there is a great chance that his Tigers will compete for another BCS title in the immediate future. Miles is a solid speaker, and he is one of the more consistent coaches out there.

    He has been known as a wild card, but there is nothing better than having a guy that will do whatever it takes to help lead his team to the promised land.

Gene Chizik

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    The Auburn Tigers have stormed up the national rankings thanks to Gene Chizik, and being part of three perfect seasons (Auburn ’04, Texas ‘05, Auburn ’10) certainly gives him a high level of respectability.

    This productive, elite coach is not only a great speaker but he just happens to be convincing with every word he speaks.

    Many will argue that most of these SEC coaches could run for mayor, but they would also be successful in running to become a politician. Say Chizik wins another conference title, and he may just be allowed to run the entire state over that guy named Saban.

Steve Spurrier

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    Steve Spurrier has been a fine coach for decades, and going back to his days with Florida (1990-2001) and even Duke (1987-1989), the ole ball coach is a legendary winner that has never backed away from a challenge.

    Spurrier would have stayed at Florida if he wanted to win a boatload of more games, but he has instead recently given South Carolina their greatest two-year stretch in its history of a program.

    A coach that is successful and not afraid to speak his mind (while simultaneously not saying anything dumb) would make quite the politician. Spurrier is everything and then some still to this day for college football.

Dabo Swinney

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    The Clemson Tigers have struggled in their recent years of playing in a BCS bowl because, quite frankly, they had never appeared in one heading into the 2011 season.

    Swinney recently received a three-year extension thanks to an ACC championship and although his team was albeit humiliated on national television in the Orange Bowl, the Tigers are a young team that still has not reached its pinnacle as a program.

    That is a scary thought, but it is the truth, since Swinney and the boys have come so close to maintaining that level of excellence. Their wins over Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech last season almost seemed too good to be true.

    Even Swinney himself was getting a bit overwhelmed with his excitement because his program was finally taking that turn towards elite status. However, the wheels came off a bit and injuries and depth concerns soon occurred.

    Returning several stars back on offense will make for an exciting season, but we do know that Swinney will speak his mind every Saturday this fall.

    The Tiger ball coach is a solid speaker and motivator, but he sure uses that us-against-the-world mentality well, to the extent that many could see him succeed at more than just football.

Kevin Sumlin

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    Already trading back and forth with Will Muschamp over some war of words, Kevin Sumlin has not even coached a down in the SEC and Aggie fans already love him to death.

    Sumlin’s offense was unstoppable last season with Houston, and although it was against C-USA competition, most expect the new A&M coach to lead the Aggies to success due to his drive, will and pure ambition as a leader. That would fit perfectly if he were to ever dream of becoming a politician.

Will Muschamp

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    Will Muschamp is an aggressive coach that will win at all costs; and his physical nature and approach is loved by many Gators.

    Great teams are built from the inside out, and his defensive players are starting to develop into quite the group of youngsters.

    Muschamp will throw all of his emotions on the sidelines during the fall, but he fights to death for his team. His passion, excitement and drive to win would earn him anything he wants in Gainesville in the near future if the victories start to tally.

    Many coaches could become politicians since their words are so powerful, but few are great speakers that grab your attention.

Lane Kiffin

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    Some fans cannot stand Lane Kiffin, but he had to have won over most haters last season when the Trojans cracked the top ten in a season in which they played for nothing (essentially, since USC wasn't eligible for a bowl or conference title).

    Kiffin is not your typical motivator or passionate coach—mainly because he is a calm, relaxing and too-cool-for-school caliber of a coach.

    He is sort of your new style of a coach, one that loves his players and does not stress being vocal as he chooses to just make sure he has the right players in the right position at the perfect time.

    A politician would almost seem too easy for Kiffin since he has had the case of leaving somewhere after a season or two, but something tells me he will stay in lovely California with the talent that is currently at his disposal.

Paul Rhoads

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    “I am so proud!”

    Those emotions that Paul Rhoads expressed can get a person pumped regardless if he or she is a sports die-hard or not.

    Rhoads would be the perfect motivator, and some people have stated before that he does not even look like a football coach at first glance because he can purely get you excited for anything.

Mack Brown

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    Making several guest appearances in movies and television, Mack Brown really can do it all.

    He can promote his elite football program for the Longhorn Network, but Brown has also won his fair share of Big 12 titles (two) and no person in Austin will forget their virtuoso victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl (BCS title game).

    Mack Brown always seems to say the right things, and motivating teams every stinking season is almost getting old—because the guy has just been there and done that. 


Bob Stoops

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    Bob Stoops has not won a BCS title since 1999-2000, but he has still led Oklahoma to seven Big 12 titles.

    Oklahoma has been a dominant team in their conference and even with West Virginia and TCU coming, the Sooners will be contending for years to come because of “Big-Game Bob” still at the helm.

    Known as a great motivator and an intense coach that fires his team up, Stoops is loved by the entire fanbase due to his ability to care about the team first. There are great people that care so much — and then there are people like coach Stoops (politician, he could run for anything).

Mike Gundy

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    Mike Gundy’s tirade for his former quarterback (Bobby Reid) will forever be remembered, but he will not stand for anything negative against his teammates.

    He loves Oklahoma State football, but his ability to keep things in moderation has enabled immediate success in Stillwater.

    Any coach that can avoid losing his cool on the field and at the same time have his players always relaxed and concentrated, will allow the entire program to take a deep breath.

    Success was followed up last season and most cannot wait to see what will unfold in the near future.

Gary Patterson

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    This defensive guru is another love-hate, passionate coach that loves to wear his emotions on his sleeves.

    When every game hits halftime, he will keep his players on the field and give them a talking-to in terms of what they did good and not so good.

    I love coaches that always keep their players fighting for more, but at the same time Patterson shows his compassion for everything that is done properly.

    Not only does the Horned Frog coach do a sensational job on the gridiron, but he has the confident and stern looks of being a solid politician as well.

Dana Holgorsen

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    Maybe it's just me, but Dana Holgorsen definitely has the looks of being that mad scientist (maybe Dr. Wiley from Mega Man with a tad more hair?) that you have no answer for. An offensive genius, the Mountaineers head coach had quite the 2011 season.

    In addition to a Big East title, he even humiliated Clemson in the Orange Bowl thanks to an unstoppable passing offense that put up 70 points!

    Holgorsen can not only out-scheme or out-coach you, but he is also one that is just destined to dethrone you.

    His hard effort and work has worked thus far (he would do the same in a political campaign), and the Big 12 will need to take note or they too will become victims of his high-powered offenses.

Chris Petersen

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    Going 73-6 is impressive and it doesn’t matter which team he has coached against. Even if it were going against FCS schools I would be impressed.

    The reason being is Chris Petersen’s ability to have every player perfectly lined up and in position to succeed is nearly absurd.

    The guy knows how to coach, but he more importantly knows how to teach these players the lessons needed to succeed in life. He has often criticized the BCS before, but he also has never given his team too much credit because it is always about the next play or game for these Broncos.

    Boise State had elevated its games since coach Pete has arrived and his words of wisdom would be valuable in any profession.

Charlie Strong

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    When a coach bans the media from his program that is what I like to call, “unconventional” since we rarely witness such a thing done. 

    Charlie Strong may not be considered that since he is a defensive minded coach that loves to get the most out of his team no matter what.

    However, Louisville is essentially fighting for equal rights playing in the much-criticized Big East conference. It cannot be stated enough of how the great players will stand up for their program in the most difficult of times.

    Louisville basketball will always get their love since they are a prestigious program, but Strong feels that the football program can soon be there and he is letting the nation understand that his boys mean business.

    A simple strategy or campaign like this would get the attention of many people out there, especially if it was related to politicians. 

Brady Hoke

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    How many politicians out there make an impact as soon as they get the chance to?

    Brady Hoke would fit the bill because he has turned around the Michigan program into BCS title and more importantly Big Ten contenders for the immediate future.

    The schedule may be among the toughest this season, but Hoke has instilled a winning attitude that any profession would fall in love with.   

Mark Dantonio

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    Mark Dantonio has been able to get Sparty football back to national prominence thanks to a killer defense that can line up with any opposing offense in the entire Big Ten.

    Smart, mistake free football is hard to come by these days, but Dantonio’s confident and calm demeanor has rubbed off onto this program.

    It takes a winner’s mentality to be able to come out alive in the gauntlet of a Big Ten schedule that every team faces, but Dantonio has circled the wagons and clicked all the right buttons while at East Lansing.

    His passion and feistiness for the game of football would help him out if he ever even though of going into politics. 

Bo Pelini

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    Bo Pelini deserves some love since everybody seems to think the guy is the son of the devil.

    So what if he gets a little hot when a player misses an assignment, that old school type of love gets blown way out of proportion.

    In today’s world, if Pelini were to lead the Huskers to Pasadena, people will soon talk about how his tough love for his players is the best thing a coach should do.

    The bottom line is that Bo is a passionate coach that loves nothing more than getting fired up on gamedays.

    It is what he loves to do, but his team loves nothing more than fighting for Pelini and a fanbase that craves success.

    Pelini brings his “A” game to the table and that is something more coaches should strive for arguably, but this Husker would certainly draw the attention if he were to ever become a politician (not bad ways, good ones).

Chip Kelly

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    In just three seasons, Chip Kelly has taken his Ducks to two Rose Bowls and a BCS National Championship game.

    Although he has won just one of those contests, this coach has already made his mark in the landscape of college football. We have seen opposing defenses attempt to “fake injuries” or do anything in their power to slow down the rapid tempo of Oregon Duck football.

    Their offensive style has literally turned into a track meet in which the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder would be jealous of (hilarious how LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Melo came to see Oregon last season).

    Now with three successful seasons under his belt he will likely take his talents to becoming a great politician.

    I kid, but even if there are rumors about him heading off to the NFL (most say he will leave eventually), Kelly has proven to be one step ahead of the competition. 

Mike Leach

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    This offensive coach that loves his pirates is back in college football and I must say he was one coach America missed. Some may have been annoyed with the attention he garnered as he left Texas Tech, but he was all for the good of the game heading into his final season in Lubbock.

    Now Leach will attempt to change the culture of a Washington State program that has been fighting to get back to the middle of the pack in the Pac-12. Leach is great for the media because he will say things that make you scratch your head since it is often considered unconventional, but that is just the point.

    This coach does not care what makes sense (many politicians are the same) or is considered the proper way of putting things, he is far more worried about getting his team to improve in every single game.

Bret Bielema

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    The current Badger coach may have just tied the knot this offseason, but winning two Big Ten titles and appearing in Pasadena in consecutive seasons is not too shabby either.

    It would be nice if the fans from Madison could get a Rose Bowl victory sometime soon, but there are not too many complaints going around Camp Randall these days.

    Bret Bielema is a proven winner at the moment and he rarely does the talking since his team’s performance usually does it for him.

    That said, he is a hard-working individual that really uses the talent at his disposal to its best ability and he never attempts to change what is not broken. 

    Many politicians try to please the people too much and Bielema just does what he feels is best for his team and he doesn’t even bother about anything else. 

James Franklin

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    This Commodore coach will refuse to be pushed around and he made that clear as day in a heated argument and more importantly game (press conference) against Georgia.

    His squad lost a close one to the Bulldogs, but Franklin at that moment in time let it be known that Vanderbilt football would never be the same again.

    There was a time for a change and it was only for the good of the program. Franklin is an aggressive coach that stands by his team through all the tough times and last season Vanderbilt had a few tough moments.

    Losing close games to Florida, Georgia and Arkansas arguably made the team grow up despite not earning any moral losses.

    Vanderbilt had a losing season (6-7), but they still ended up in the postseason and most didn’t think there was even a shot at that happening.

    Franklin is a fine coach with a bright future ahead, but he wouldn’t be a bad politician if say college football didn’t exist (what a terrible thought).

Brian Kelly

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    Brian Kelly may turn more red than an actually strawberry if you throw an interception, but if it happens in the red zone then expect him to explode. Kelly often overacted and was apologetic for his negative responses when things have not gone as planned.

    Still, Brian Kelly is the coach of Notre Dame for Pete’s sake and he knows what he is doing (thought so actually doubt that theory), having achieved so much success at Grand Valley State and Cincinnati.

    His ability to turn quarterbacks into college stars is what helped make his case to become the next great Irish head coach and if he can improve on the recruiting trail, he will make his mark in South Bend before he hangs up the coaching whistle.

    A politician will eventually have his/her ups and downs, but it is how they respond to adversity that eventually makes them so special.  

Urban Meyer

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    Is there any better or popular of a coach these days than Urban Meyer?

    He is a hot commodity when it comes to previous success, but this legendary coach knows how to land the best of players in the game.

    His ability to steal high school stars deserves some credit (he gets a ton of criticism for “stealing” kids) because at the moment he is still a stud coach that could be successful at anything that he puts his mind to.

    It helps to haul in star recruiting classes because it is often what keeps you successful at the highest of levels, but Meyer is a motivating coach that puts his players in the best positions to not only become successful players but also successful people.

    Meyer has a legacy that will likely grow in Columbus because he refuses to lose and his competitive nature will always make him among arguably the best of the best.

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