10 Most Hated Coaches in College Football History
Coaches bear the brunt of everyone's emotions during the entire year. If a coach's team did well, the fanbase loves him. If not, then there are constant murmurings from January to August (or longer if the season was truly horrible).
For the exceptionally successful teams, hatred follows the success. Winning repeated national championships or top-tier bowls elicits strong feelings from all the teams who aren't seeing the same type of success. If the successful team is in the same conference or division as the also-ran, then the hatred is magnified.
Regardless of whether these coaches drew internal or external hatred, these are the 10 most despised coaches in college football history.
10. Dennis Erickson
Dennis Erickson is currently the co-offensive coordinator at Utah. He was previously the head coach of Arizona State, and he held the same position at Miami a long time before that.
So, if he's fairly non-threatening, why is he on this list? He left Miami facing NCAA sanctions after his five-year stint in charge of the Hurricanes, and he had a bad habit of letting his players get away with a lot.
He did the same thing at Arizona State much more recently, and it cost him his job quickly. The dark cloud that follows him wherever he goes is a huge source of hatred. Unfortunately, the hatred is increasingly internal.
He isn't successful enough to be hated by outsiders, and he has to learn to discipline his players if he's ever going to have another chance at running a successful program.
If not, he'll continue to be hated until he simply washes out of the FBS.
9. Jackie Sherrill
Jackie Sherrill's name keeps popping up around college football, even though his prominence has been greatly reduced over the years.
Sherrill's antics at Texas A&M landed him at No. 9 on USA Today's list of all-time college football scandals. That was just one of the schools that regretted his tenure.
Here is a great synopsis of Sherrill's ability to garner hatred like few other coaches in history. Sherrill remains the gold standard for complete disregard for the rules of engagement.
8. Jim Tressel
Jim Tressel coached Ohio State to some serious success. Even after the mess he left Ohio State in, which likely cost them a national title against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2012, fans' cheers are how he was greeted at the 2012 Ohio State vs. Michigan game.
Tressel took one of the most prominent programs in the country and left them so wrecked that an undefeated run through the Big Ten couldn't even get them into a conference title game.
Ohio State fans can choose to overlook anything they want, and overlooking "Tattoo-Gate" seems to be the consensus. However, Tressel is still one of the most hated coaches on this list.
He's dropping lower and lower on this list as the fanbase chooses to forget his transgressions each passing month.
7. Bobby Petrino
Bobby Petrino led Arkansas to one of its best seasons in recent memory, and the Razorbacks were ranked as highly as No. 3 in the BCS in Petrino's final season.
Petrino then ran his motorcycle, mistress and career into a ditch. Petrino was one of the sneakiest men in recent memory when it came to leaving one program for another, and he blew up on a reporter for wearing a Florida Gators hat at a press conference.
Petrino was arrogant, entitled and careless. Two of those three qualities are highly undesirable in a head coach. (Arrogance doesn't really matter, but it affects the coach's ability to hold a good press conference.)
What Arkansas went through in 2012 only magnified Petrino's mistakes. Arkansas was theoretically on track to make a run at a national title, but finished with only four wins under John L. Smith.
That just made Petrino's departure so much worse for the Arkansas faithful.
6. Urban Meyer
Urban Meyer is the head coach at Ohio State, and he led the Buckeyes to a 12-0 season in his first year. Clearly, the Ohio State fanbase is not the source of his hatred score.
Meyer was hated by Florida fans for retiring...twice. On top of that, he came out of retirement to coach at Ohio State after he had left Florida in a state of disarray.
Meyer told incoming head coach Will Muschamp that "the program is broken." That's an interesting assertion, considering Meyer was the only man in charge of the now-broken program for the years prior to the regime change.
The Sporting News article behind the first link of this slide details exactly how the program was destroyed, and it's something that any Ohio State fan should at least glance at.
While Meyer will win at Ohio State, two questions remain:
1. How long, and at what cost, will he win?
2. Could this situation be even worse than the Jim Tressel debacle?
While Buckeyes fans should be excited about his potential success, the sanctity of the program will always be more important to them than a simple win-loss record.
Meyer will always be hated by Florida fans and anyone that Ohio State demolishes during his time at the helm. If he does something to mess with Ohio State's already-tarnished reputation, you can bet that the millions of Buckeyes fans will join the massive throng of haters.
5. Jimmy Johnson
Jimmy Johnson has one of the best reasons to be on this list, hands-down. Johnson coached the most-despised sports team in history, at least according to Sports Illustrated.
Johnson generally ran his program with an insufferable attitude of superiority, and his players had the same propensity for showmanship.
Unfortunately for the rest of the country, they backed it up with on-field success that produced two national championships. Johnson is not despised by the Miami fanbase, but he's certainly hated by every team he beat.
Johnson had one of the biggest hate-inducing combos in world history: arrogance and the skill to back it up. It's one thing to hate someone for acting like he's better than you are. It's even worse when he's right.
4. Barry Switzer
Barry Switzer won a ton of games with Oklahoma back in the day, 157 to be exact. He outscored opponents 6,197 to 2,542 during his 1973-1988 stint with the Sooners.
That brought hatred from all the teams that he defeated, but he didn't stop there. Switzer left Oklahoma with three years of probation and six arrested players.
That earned him the contempt of Sooners fans. What made matters worse is his inability to take (or disinterest in taking) responsibility for his part in Oklahoma's downfall. Now that he's removed from the program, he still blames it all on the players.
This is a lot like your mechanic blaming the problem on the car as opposed to the previously owned part he installed to save a buck.
Nobody likes a person like that.
3. Woody Hayes
Woody Hayes is widely recognized as Ohio State's greatest coach of all time. Hayes led the Buckeyes to five national championships, 13 Big Ten championships and coached three Heisman Trophy winners.
Hayes was the yardstick for Ohio State success on the gridiron, but he had an attitude problem that became more apparent toward the end of his 28-year Buckeyes career.
The chosen video show him punching a player in the face for making a brilliant game-saving play for Clemson in the 1978 Gator Bowl.
Charlie Bauman intercepted Ohio State to almost seal the game. Hayes punched him and continued to behave atrociously until he had given Clemson 30 yards and the game all at once.
Hayes was the greatest coach in Ohio State's history, but his personality and success combined to make him one of the most hated coaches in history.
2. Nick Saban
Nick Saban is enjoying a run of success never before seen at Alabama. Even Bear Bryant never won three out of four, but he did win six total. (He won three out of five in 1961, 1964 and 1965.)
Saban coaches championship-quality teams year in and year out. Those teams have earned him the respect and hatred of a nation. The Alabama fanbase loves him, and he has ushered in a reign of supremacy that almost makes up for the 17-year drought between the 1992 and 2009 national championships.
Everyone else hates him. Even agent and Pittsburgh alumnus Ralph Cindrich briefly claimed that he had proof Saban was cheating. Of course, he didn't, but that just shows how much Saban is hated.
Saban will continue to draw the hatred of millions as long as he continues to beat them on the field. Making things worse, the one team that seems to do rather well against him, LSU, has an even better reason to hate him.
He left the Tigers shortly after winning the 2003 national championship with the Tigers. He went to the NFL. Furthermore, he abruptly left the Miami Dolphins for Alabama. He did this at the end of the season in which he said he wasn't leaving.
That easily earns him a spot near the top of this list.
1. Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin has earned himself a special kind of hatred, and he is the measuring stick against which all other coaches' hatred scores will fall short.
Kiffin is a vocally annoying leader that claimed one of the best coaching jobs in the country. He held that position at Tennessee for one full year, and he jetted for USC as soon as the Trojans rang the bell. That caused serious hatred (extremely NSFW) from the Tennessee faithful.
Tennessee is a destination school that offers the opportunity for you to join the ranks of the legendary General Neyland and Phil Fulmer.
Kiffin didn't care, and he made the decision to leave Tennessee's program in shambles. Tennessee still hasn't recovered. (In Kiffin's defense, that's not all his fault.)
However, Kiffin's mouth and his inability to coach talent at USC has earned him the ire of fans from USC all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
When you can't even look to your team and find someone who is 100 percent sure you should be in charge, you have just raised the bar.
If he can turn the Trojans program around quickly, he can at least try to move himself down this list.