Quantitative Analysis of Big 12 Coaches

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Quantitative Analysis of Big 12 Coaches
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Looking beyond wins and losses, determining the best coach in the Big 12 Conference has a certain subjective nature that leaves open too much room for debate. We have developed a quantitative way to measure the coaches against their peers to determine the coaching hierarchy in the Big 12. Some of the results proved a little shocking.

We took 10 categories that are important to leading a team to battle, and ranked the coaches from best to worst, assigning twelve points to the best coach in that category and one point to the worst coach. After assigning scores to all the categories, we simply added up the totals to assign each coach with his Burger Effectiveness Quotient.

The first category is an obvious one, football knowledge. After quizzing each coach on various factors of the game, we scored it this way:

Mike Sherman, Texas A&M – 12 points
Mike Leach, Texas Tech – 11 points
Bill Snyder, Kansas State – 10 points
Mark Mangino, Kansas – 9 points
Dan Hawkins, Colorado – 8 points
Art Briles, Baylor – 7 points
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma – 6 points
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State – 5 points
Gary Pinkel, Mizzou – 4 points
Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State – 3 points
Bo Pelini, Nebraska – 2 points
Mack Brown, Texas – 1 point

 

The next category is a grade given to the staff. Most coaches are able to hire and keep their own staff. If that’s not the case, then the coach at least has a say in who works under him.

One NFL scout was quoted on the condition of anonymity, “We went to the Nebraska pro day and the Iowa State pro day. At Iowa State, it seemed like some of the coaches were new to the sport. At Nebraska, the coaches all took us out to dinner.”

Brown – 12
Stoops – 11
Sherman – 10
Pelini – 9
Hawkins – 8
Snyder – 7
Gundy – 6
Leach– 5
Briles – 4
Mangino – 3
Pinkel – 2
Rhoades – 1

 

The next category is recruiting prowess. Some coaches are able to lie to get any recruit to campus, and others sway recruits with honesty and integrity. Regardless of the method, the ability to get athletes to come to your school is the lifeblood of the program.

One recruit said, “I really liked Kansas better, but Mangino had barbecue sauce on his face when he arrived at our house for dinner. Mack Brown seemed a little more dignified.”

Stoops – 12
Gundy – 11
Brown – 10
Snyder – 9
Pinkel – 8
Briles – 7
Sherman – 6
Leach– 5
Mangino – 4
Pelini – 3
Hawkins – 2
Rhoads – 1

 

The coaches’ wardrobes also play a big part in their perception to both potential recruits and the media. It’s a shame this makes a difference, but one recruit that chose OSU over Tech was heard saying, “I really wanted to play for Mike Leach, but Mike Gundy just looked sharper.”

Sherman – 12
Gundy – 11
Hawkins – 10
Mangino – 9
Briles – 8
Pinkel – 7
Snyder – 6
Rhoades – 5
Stoops – 4
Leach– 3
Brown – 2
Pelini – 1

 

A head coach must spend an inordinate amount of time speaking to various alumni groups, boosters, and money men. His public speaking ability is important for him to garner internal support and for him to keep grumbling to a minimum.

One Texas Tech booster had this to say: “When coach Leach came to Amarillo to speak with us, all he did was drink bourbon and mumble about pirates. When asked about defense, he told a big money Tech oil guy to walk the plank.”

Sherman – 12
Briles – 11
Snyder – 10
Hawkins – 9
Pelini – 8
Rhoades – 7
Mangino – 6
Pinkel – 5
Gundy – 4
Stoops – 3
Brown – 2
Leach– 1

 

The ability to adapt is key in keeping a team competitive even when some things might go wrong. Changing offenses or defenses to match personnel or moving players to other positions to get your best players on the field are signs of good coaching.

One Missouri player said, “Coach Pinkel kept throwing Chase Daniel out there every game. The players all knew the guy behind him was a better player, but he refused to adapt. We had our best team ever, but our quarterback was the weak link. Everyone knew it but coach.”

Sherman – 12
Hawkins – 11
Snyder – 10
Mangino – 9
Gundy – 8
Briles – 7
Rhoades – 6
Pelini – 5
Stoops – 4
Leach – 3
Brown – 2
Pinkel – 1

 

The lifeblood of a college football program is to keep athletes coming in to replace the ones that graduate. Therefore, a solid relationship with high school coaches is essential in recruiting. High school coaches have a tremendous amount of influence on their players, and can easily dissuade them from attending certain schools.

One high school coach said, “Yes, we love Coach Briles the most. He’s at Baylor, now, and that place is just a big high school. We still consider him one of us.”

Briles – 12
Mangino – 11
Sherman – 10
Pelini – 9
Hawkins – 8
Snyder – 7*
Stoops – 6
Gundy – 5
Brown – 4
Rhoades – 3
Pinkel – 2
Leach – 1

* Snyder finished dead last in this ranking, but his relationship with junior college coaches pushed him up to the middle of the pack.

 

They way a coach handles the media also influences his effectiveness in the long term. If the media turns on a coach, his days are usually numbered. Obviously, Mike Gundy’s rant at a post game press conference earned him last place on this list. The media will love you if you mix in some actual content with the coachspeak.

Stoops – 12
Mangino – 11
Rhoades – 10
Sherman – 9
Briles – 8
Hawkins – 7
Leach – 6
Pinkel – 5
Pelini – 4
Brown – 3
Snyder – 2
Gundy – 1

 

A coach needs to be intense to fully motivate his players. You can say Tom Landry and Bill Cowher were the two most intense NFL coaches in the past half century, but they went by it in different ways.

If players know the coach is locked into the game or the practice, they will try just a little bit harder.

Snyder – 12
Hawkins – 11
Stoops – 10
Sherman – 9
Gundy – 8
Rhoades – 7
Mangino – 6
Pinkel – 5
Briles – 4
Pelini – 3
Brown – 2
Leach – 1

 

Having a hot wife also affects recruiting. If a recruit is deciding between two schools, and he meets both coaches’ wives, the wife can have a tremendous impact on that recruit’s decision. Mangino’s wife is not even close to the hottest, but she looks absolutely gorgeous standing next to him, if you can see her.

One recruit said this: “I really wasn’t even considering Kansas, but I went up there for a visit. When I saw Coach Mangino’s wife, I was like, that dude is pulling in almost normal stuff and he looks like a whale. He must be pretty smart.”

Mangino – 12
Gundy – 11
Stoops – 10
Leach – 9
Briles – 8
Sherman – 7
Rhoades – 6
Hawkins – 5
Snyder – 4
Brown – 3
Pelini – 2
Pinkel – 1

 

The final step is to add up the scores and assign each coach the Burger Effectiveness Quotient. I’ve shown these results to some insiders and other football people, and they all agree with the accuracy of these scores.

Developing a tool like this takes away any subjective bias and grades the coaches according to their true value.

Final Results
Sherman – 9.9
Mangino – 8.0
Hawkins – 7.9
Stoops – 7.8
Snyder – 7.7
Briles – 7.6
Gundy – 6.8
Rhoades – 5.1
Pelini – 4.6
Leach– 4.5
Brown – 4.1
Pinkel – 4.0

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