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Power Ranking the Best College Coaching Hires of 2012

Randy ChambersAnalyst IAugust 21, 2016

Power Ranking the Best College Coaching Hires of 2012

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    College football bowl season has just barely kicked off, and already we have seen many new coaching hires. Several of those guys have taken over quality programs across the country.

    It is just another year in the coaching business. If you don't produce and can't get the job done, there is a great chance you will be standing on the unemployment line as well.

    But just because a school made a coaching change does not mean that it was a good one. Some programs dropped the ball, while a few were able to hit a home run with their new head coach.

    Who made the best coaching hire?

     

    Note: Rankings are put together on a combination of success the coach has had in the past and what he brings to the program.

10. Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech

2 of 11

    In: Skip Holtz

    Out: Sonny Dykes

     

    Louisiana Tech isn't a program that is used to much success, so when a coach like Dykes leaves, you aren't expecting much moving forward. A hire such as Skip Holtz must feel good if you are a Bulldog fan.

    No, he may not be his father and bring national championship experience to the table, but he did make a winner out of Connecticut and East Carolina, and he had his moments with South Florida over the years. Holtz has a lengthy track record and already has two C-USA titles under his belt.

    It is not every day that an experienced coach decides to leave a BCS conference to take over a smaller program.

    This may not make the news much, but it should develop into an underrated hire.

9. Gary Andersen, Wisconsin

3 of 11

    In: Gary Andersen

    Out: Bret Bielema

     

    According to reports, Wisconsin has quickly made its head-coaching change. It looks like that early Christmas wish has come true.

    Gary Andersen was the coach of Utah State for four seasons and has won a combined 18 games in the last two seasons. He even led the program to two straight bowl games, which hasn't happened since the 1960 and 1961 seasons.

    Before taking over the Aggies, Andersen was an assistant under guys such as Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham.

    There is no question he has the experience and was able to bring success to a team that has far less talent than Wisconsin ever will. However, coaching a big program is a completely different story, and he has big shoes to fill, as Bielema led the Badgers to three straight BCS bowls.

    This will be an interesting hire to monitor throughout the year.

8. Butch Jones, Tennessee

4 of 11

    In: Butch Jones

    Out: Derek Dooley

     

    Tennessee fans are likely upset with this hire after hearing several big names that the school could have possibly landed. However, things aren't all bad in Knoxville, as the Volunteers could have certainly done much worse.

    I mean, just look at who the last coach of this program was.

    With that said, Butch Jones was able to pick up the pieces in Central Michigan and keep Cincinnati afloat when Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame. He is a young coach (44 years old) and could quickly help turn things around for this prestigious program.

    He is an offensive coach that has worked with Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia and could bring some excitement and fireworks to that side of the ball.

    Jones doesn't have the sexiest name in the world, but this could play out well if Volunteer fans are patient.

7. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

5 of 11

    In: Kliff Kingsbury

    Out: Tommy Tuberville

     

    Kingsbury doesn't have any head-coaching experience, but there are many reasons to like this hire.

    For one, he went to Texas Tech, and it's usually the dream of every head coach to be able to run your alma mater. Another is that he is one of the youngest head coaches in the country at just 33 years old. If things do pan out, the Red Raiders could have themselves a brilliant man on the sidelines for decades to come.

    On top of that, Kingsbury is coming off of just one season of running the Texas A&M offense by himself. In case you forgot, quarterback Johnny Manziel was able to become the first freshman to win the Heisman this season under Kingsbury.

    If Kevin Sumlin has trust in the young man to call the shots on his team, he has to have something special.

    Are you excited yet?

6. Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky

6 of 11

    In: Bobby Petrino

    Out: Willie Taggart

     

    Even if you are a casual football fan, you know Petrino is likely only staying in town for one season. He will lead the Hilltoppers to a Sun Belt title next year and take the next available top-notch job to get back in the major college football scene.

    However, when was the last time you ever talked about Western Kentucky? Have you ever paid attention to this team other than when the SEC was beating its brains in?

    Score for the Hilltoppers!

    Adding a huge name such as Petrino to the sidelines will bring a ton of attention to the school. Of course, he brings experience and will likely find success in one year, but this was strictly a PR move, and the program should benefit greatly from it.

    Hopefully motorcycles are banned in his contract.

5. Sonny Dykes, California

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    In: Sonny Dykes

    Out: Jeff Tedford

     

    One of the more underrated hires so far has to be Dykes leaving Louisiana Tech to take over California. This is a guy that was able to turn the Bulldogs into a winner and even help lead them into the AP Poll for the first time since 1999.

    What Dykes brings to the table is an offensive mind that has brought him success over the years. His team this season actually averaged 577 yards a game, which was the second most in all of college football.

    The last I checked, the Pac-12 is an offensive conference. If you can score on a consistent basis, you will succeed.

    Cal is usually able to hold its own in recruiting and should be able to get things back on track with Dykes now leading the way.

4. Bret Bielema, Arkansas

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    In: Bret Bielema

    Out: John L. Smith

     

    Anything is better than what John L. Smith was able to do this year. I'm sure the folks down in Arkansas would have hired Houston Nutt again if that's what it took. Just get Smith the heck out of town.

    While many weren't expecting a major hire, the Razorbacks were able to pick up Bret Bielema. He won more than 70 percent of his games with Wisconsin, and he led the program to three straight Rose Bowls.

    For a program that thought it would be impossible to replace Bobby Petrino, it was able to bring a big-name coach that should help in the recruiting department.

    It may take Bielema time to adjust to the SEC, but I'm sure Arkansas has no problem waiting, especially after what happened this year.

3. Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati

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    In: Tommy Tuberville

    Out: Butch Jones

     

    Now, I do not encourage head coaches to leave recruits at the dinner table when they hear confirmation of landing a new gig. However, Cincinnati picked up another respectable coach that will keep the program above water in a drowning Big East.

    The reason to like this hire is because Tuberville has won everywhere he has gone over the years. He has won nearly 63 percent of his games overall and should be able to spice up the recruiting a little bit.

    Another reason to like this is because Tuberville left a program in the Big 12 to take this job. This isn't a coach that was forced to leave and had no choice but to become the next coach for the Bearcats; he obviously wanted the job. That tells me he is in for the long haul, which is great for a program that has seen coaches come and go over the years.

    Solid hire for Cincinnati.

2. Mark Stoops, Kentucky

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    In: Mark Stoops

    Out: Joker Phillips

     

    Mark Stoops doesn't have any head coaching experience, but he has been in the business since he was a graduate assistant back in 1989 at Iowa. Holding numerous jobs throughout his coaching career, Stoops has proven himself to be one of the better defensive coordinators in the country.

    When he took over Florida State a couple of years ago, the defense was struggling to stay near average in the ACC. In just two years of work and terrific recruiting on that side of the ball, the Seminoles have developed one of the best defenses in the country.

    Even if this is a stepping stone for Stoops to find a better job, Kentucky can at least become somewhat relevant in the SEC. After all, this is a program that hasn't won a bowl game since the 2008 season and has only won a combined seven games in the last two years.

    If he is anything like his older brother Bob, Kentucky has hit the jackpot.

1. Gus Malzahn, Auburn

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    In: Gus Malzahn

    Out: Gene Chizik

     

    Making a coaching change could often result in the program being set things back a year or two. But with the addition of Malzahn, the Auburn Tigers shouldn't miss a beat.

    This is somebody that was Auburn's offensive coordinator just a couple of years ago and was helping call the shots during the 2010 national championship run. He is considered an offensive genius throughout college football and should instantly help improve a unit that was ranked 114th in scoring offense. 

    A move like this gives Auburn someone who is familiar with the program, should help keep recruiting intact and will certainly inject some excitement for Auburn after a horrible 2012 season.

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