Though head coaches rightfully get the most credit or blame for wins and losses in today’s college football, a great coordinator can completely turn around a program.
Look no further than Auburn, which fell off the face of the SEC when Gus Malzahn left his post as offensive coordinator to become the head coach at Arkansas State.
The Tigers' offense floundered as one of the worst attacks in the nation amid a disastrous 0-8 SEC slate in 2012 that cost head coach Gene Chizik his job.
Upon his return to Auburn, Malzahn lifted the program to the BCS National Championship Game in Year 1.
Sure, mitigating circumstances—such as junior college transfer QB Nick Marshall—gave Malzahn the chance for a massive turnaround. It still took the systems and buy in from the players to achieve such a recovery.
In a world of million-dollar assistant coaching contracts, it should come as no surprise that the SEC spends among the most of any conference in the nation. If winning has a price, SEC schools have consistently shown the desire to meet—or exceed—it.
Today we examine the SEC’s 10 most important coordinators.
A number of factors are taken into account when determining who belongs on this list. First and foremost, how have the coach’s units performed? Are they upper-tier in the conference or middle of the pack?
Second, how is the coach perceived on the recruiting trail. Using 247Sports’ Football Recruiter Rankings, which the site truly expanded in 2005, we will credit coordinators with the work they have done.
Recruiting is the only criteria that will consider what a coordinator did as a position coach.
Lastly, we take into account surroundings. Is the coach a coordinator or a co-coordinator? Is he truly running the show or does the head coach call the plays? How long has the coordinator been in the position, and would ranking him in a certain spot be too reliant on one season?
Based on the criteria stated above, here are our top 10 coordinators in the SEC.