SEC Coaching Vacancies are Looking at too Many Recycled Candidates

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SEC Coaching Vacancies are Looking at too Many Recycled Candidates
Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville

The SEC silly season is upon us.

Kentucky announced on Sunday that head coach Joker Phillips won't return next season. Elsewhere, rumors are swirling that Gene Chizik at Auburn and Derek Dooley at Tennessee might meet the same fate. Meanwhile, the Arkansas job has essentially been open since former head coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle in April.

Two of the more prominent names being mentioned for these openings are familiar to SEC country—Petrino at Kentucky and Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville at Arkansas.

Petrino's father, Bob Petrino, Sr., told the Lexington (Ky.) Courier-Journal that his son is interested in the Kentucky job, and that Petrino's dream is to get back to the SEC.

Former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino

However, just because Petrino is interested in Kentucky doesn't mean that Kentucky is interested in Petrino.

Sure, his record at Arkansas—29 wins in three seasons and a Sugar Bowl appearance—is nice and shiny. But what from his track record suggests that he will leave Kentucky in a better place than he found it? 


Kentucky's goal is to become relevant in the SEC East. While Petrino's track record suggests that he can make that happen, it would only be a temporary fix.

Petrino's next job will likely be a stepping stone, which is part of the reason why he won't be in consideration at Auburn or Tennessee, which consider themselves destination programs. Kentucky can't afford to be his stepping stone, either, which is why it should target a young, up-and-comer like Willie Taggart at Western Kentucky.

Tuberville at Arkansas, on the other hand, actually makes a lot of sense.

He posted an 85-40 record at Auburn, is 110-60 as a head coach in the SEC and went undefeated with an SEC title in 2004. 

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Tommy Tuberville while at Auburn

He's a defensive-minded head coach, something that has been a sore spot in Fayetteville for a while. He was born in Camden, Ark., and played safety at Southern Arkansas, so he knows the area.

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Most importantly for Arkansas, he now has ties to the state of Texas after having coached at Texas Tech for the last three seasons. That's huge for the Arkansas football program, which has 21 players from the state on its roster.

With Texas A&M now in the SEC, that pipeline is in jeopardy. One of Arkansas' primary goals in this coaching search should be to protect that.

Just because a coach has been in the SEC before and has had success doesn't mean that he is the right choice for the potential vacancies in the SEC. 

It has to be the right coach, and while previous success in the SEC is a plus for any potential candidate, it's only one portion of the resume that should be considered.

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