SEC Football: 10 Worst Coaching Hires in SEC History

Jake MartinCorrespondent IIIApril 7, 2013

SEC Football: 10 Worst Coaching Hires in SEC History

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    Success was but a dream for good ol' John L. Smith and the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2012. After two straight 10-plus winning seasons, Smith led an extremely talented Arkansas club to just four wins.

    As result, he'll be remembered as one of the worst hires in SEC football history. He joins a notorious list of coaches who have lowered the bar at their respected universities.

    But where does he rank? Were his failures in 2012 enough to make him the worst hire in SEC history? Take a peek inside and see for yourself. 

    You might be surprised by the more recent coaches joining him on this list.

10. Curley Hallman

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    Record at LSU: 16-28

    Curley Hallman was brought in to give LSU its first winning season since 1988. He failed to do so from 1991-1994.

    Before LSU was the powerhouse it is today, they went through a stretch of losing seasons in the '90s under Hallman and Gerry DiNardo.

    Unlike Hallman, though, DiNardo actually had a few winning seasons with the Tigers, including three bowl victories.

    In four seasons, Hallman failed to produce a season of .500 or better. That's not going to make life easy on the Bayou.

9. Ken Cooper

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    Record at Ole Miss: 21-23

    Ole Miss was a dynasty in the early 1960s.

    Johnny Vaught produced three national championships for the Rebels in four seasons. In other words, they were the Alabama of yesterday.

    When Vaught stepped down as head coach of the Rebels in 1970, Billy Kinard stepped in and produced a 10-win season in 1971. Fast forward three years later and Ken Cooper is the new head coach at Ole Miss.

    In his first season, Cooper amassed just three victories. Unfortunately, Cooper's time as head coach wouldn't get much better. Cooper had three straight 6-5 seasons. Mediocrity humbled the Ole Miss fanbase, and no fanbase likes to be humbled.

8. Rockey Felker

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    Record at Mississippi State: 21-34

    Before Jackie Sherrill, there was Rockey Felker. Rockey, how fitting is it that his name greatly describes his tenure as head coach.

    Before Sherrill gave Mississippi State fans something to cheer about in the '90s, Felker gave fans misery in the late '80s.

    His first season in 1986 boasted a 6-5 record with the Bulldogs, but sadly, that's as good as it got for Felker. Like Lindsey Lohan, his experiences got worse as the years passed.

    His worst season came in 1988 when he recorded only one win with Mississippi State. And people wonder why Dan Mullen gets treated like royalty...

7. Derek Dooley

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    Record at Tennessee: 15-21

    Derek Dooley's failures were beautifully crafted on Tennessee's iconic rock by the student body. OK, so maybe the art students took a backseat during the painting of the rock.

    Nonetheless, the message was loud and clear. Let's not beat around the bush here—Dooley was hired simply because of his last name. Because Vincent "Vince" Dooley was a legendary figure in the SEC, his son reaped the benefits. Hey, more power to you, Derek.

    This became apparent when Tennessee hired Dooley after a 4-8 season with Louisiana Tech. Yeah, it's not like the Bulldogs were tearing it up Sonny Dykes-style.

    In three seasons with the Vols, Dooley was obliterated by Vanderbilt, lost to Kentucky, only had one bowl appearance and was winless against ranked opponents. "Rocky Top" hit rock bottom.

6. Doug Barfield

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    Record at Auburn: 29-25-1

    How do you follow the legacy of Ralph Jordan at Auburn? By winning, that's how.

    Well, Doug Barfield won, but he certainly didn't win enough. After Jordan served as Auburn head coach from 1951-1975, Barfield came in from 1976-1980.

    Let's put this nicely—Barfield lowered the standards. He produced just two winning seasons out of five.

    Luckily for Auburn fans, Pat Dye came in right after and cleaned up the mess Barfield left.

5. John L. Smith

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    Record at Arkansas: 4-8

    The only reason this slide isn't higher is because Arkansas hired John L. Smith, knowing it would be a short-term hire.

    Hmm, so where do we begin with Smith? To simplify his run as head coach of Arkansas in one word, the most appropriate word to use would be chaotic.

    From weird, unusual pep talks toward the media to a loss to UL-Monroe to blowout losses to Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi State, Smith might've set Arkansas back five years in the SEC West.

    After Smith's failed attempt in 2012, Arkansas will enter 2013 as heavy underdogs in the division. It's amazing the difference one season truly makes.

4. Ray Goff

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    Record at Georgia: 46-34-1

    Vince Dooley is a legend at Georgia. Ray Goff is not.

    Goff's overall record at Georgia was good, but ask any Georgia fan and they'll tell you that 46-34-1 doesn't cut it.

    That holds even more true when you're brought in to replace a legend like Dooley. Dooley went an incredible 201-77-10 at Georgia, and he finished his tenure with the program with back-to-back, nine-win seasons.

    When Goff arrived, he produced a 6-6 and 4-7 season. The next two seasons he had great success with a 9-3 season followed by a 10-2 one. But then Goff won just 17 games in three seasons, including two seasons without a bowl appearance. The kind folks of Athens, Ga., didn't stand for that. 

3. Joker Phillips

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    Record at Kentucky: 13-24

    Unfortunately for Joker Phillips, he did not have what it takes to turn Kentucky's football program around.

    Keep this in mind, Kentucky hasn't had more than eight wins since 1984. That's more than 25 years, folks.

    In 2006 and 2007, Rich Brooks gave Kentucky back-to-back, eight-win seasons. He then posted back-to-back, seven-win seasons.

    His successor, Phillips, took over and posted back-to-back, seven-loss seasons. In 2012, Phillips posted a 2-10 record—a record that would see him lose his job. You're on deck, Mark Stoops.

2. Ed Orgeron

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    Record at Ole Miss: 10-25

    Blur gur bur der her yaw, football. What?

    Not only were Ole Miss fans questioning the words Ed Orgeron said in interviews, they were also questioning his decisions on the field.

    Three. That's the number of years Coach O served as head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels. It's also the number of times he beat an SEC opponent.

    You seriously replaced David Cutcliffe with this guy, Ole Miss? Let this be a lesson kids—never be greedy.

1. Mike DuBose

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    Record at Alabama: 24-23

    It's lonely at the top of a worst of the worst list. Alabama fans don't mind seeing Mike DuBose there though. Not one bit.

    Let's start from the top, shall we? DuBose took over for a very successful Gene Stallings. His success failed to compare to Stallings. Stallings won a national championship with the Crimson Tide in 1992, and after DuBose served as head coach from 1997-2000, his greatest accomplishment was a 10-3 season.

    It's not bad after DuBose went 4-7 and 7-5 in his first two seasons. Riding high after his 10-3 season in 1999, the Tide entered 2000 with a No. 3 preseason ranking. That team ended up winning just three games. His greatest failure wasn't losses, though.

    He left Alabama in a worse place than when he arrived, as the Crimson Tide suffered a two-year bowl ban and heavy scholarship reductions. This penalty arrived as result of many recruiting violations that occurred when DuBose was head coach. Rammer Jammer, the NCAA dropped the hammer.