Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that the head basketball coach at Kentucky is the toughest job in college sports. The rest of his list goes like this:
2. Alabama football
3. Notre Dame football
4. LSU football
5. Oklahoma football
6. North Carolina basketball
7. Ohio State football
8. Michigan football
9. Nebraska football
10. Texas football
He gives honorable mentions to Arkansas, Tennessee and Auburn football.
With all due respect to Mr. Bohls, he's off the mark. The top list of toughest jobs must be chop-full of SEC football coaching positions. This is the most competitive league in all of college sports. In any given year five or six of our football teams are legitimately competing for their division and league championships. And if your team is not, well you'd better be the following year or your head coaching days are numbered.
The SEC is one big coaching pressure cooker. The respective teams' fans don't give much creedance to what a coach has done over the long term, or the coach's "body of work" -- a term heard often when Auburn and Tennessee were letting Tommy Tuberville and Phil Fulmer go. The fans in this league are all driven by the "what have you done for us lately?" state of mind.
Kentucky's round ball coach? Sure the expectations are high around the arena Rupp built, but this is the SEC. Kentucky normally will not have but a handful of teams to compete against in this league year in-and-out. It's apples and oranges in comparing that pressure to what is faced by the football head coaches in at least 10 of the SEC's member institutions.
Football gigs in other conferences? Okay, I'll concede that there's some pressure for the Golden Domers' coach -- particularly the current one, and I'm sure there is some in the Big 10 and 12 too. But those guys haven't been winning any national championships lately.
My top ten list would include each football head coach position in the SEC, excepting Kentucky and Vanderbilt.