Everyone and their dog knows who the best coach in the Pac-10 conference is, hence the picture. While Pete Carroll is a unanimous No. 1 in the conference—and possibly No. 1 in the nation—I have listed off every coach in the conference. Now allow me time to take off my green and yellow goggles and we will be on our way.
(picture courtesy of seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Paul Wulff didn't have the greatest first year at Washington State, going 2-10 with victories over Portland State of the FCS and winless rival Washington.
That said, he still had a decent 2009 recruiting class and is trying to change the culture in Pullman.
Being the coach at Washington State is one of the more difficult jobs out there because it is harder to get recruits to come to a small farm-filled city in Eastern Washington.
If he finds success similar to the success Mike Price had during his tenure in the Palouse, then he may find himself climbing this list pretty rapidly.
This ex-USC offensive coordinator bolted for rainy Seattle to try to rebuild the winning tradition of Washington Husky football.
The Washington fan base got fed up with Ty Willingham's inability to get the program going and finishing 0-12 in 2008 was the straw that broke the camel's back.
So they hired a protege of Pete Carroll to get it going again. He, like Wulff, has an uphill battle to climb.
The conference is very different than it was in the glory days of Husky football with former cellar dwellers Oregon and Oregon State seeing much more success. The re-emergence of Cal has made things even tougher for Washington.
Washington State has also had their number lately, winning four out of the last five in the Apple Cup.
Sark is doing all the right things at the moment and is reeling in what looks to be a monster recruiting class for 2010, so only time will tell how well he does.
(photo courtesy of oregonlive.com)
Chip Kelly, like Steve Sarkisian, is a first year head coach.
Unlike Sark, Chip has a program that was left in pretty good shape by his predecessor Mike Bellotti.
Chip orchestrated one of the most prolific offenses in the country in the two years he was at Oregon, so there is plenty of reason for optimism in Eugene.
But being a head coach brings a sizable increase in responsibilities for the erstwhile assistant. Also, the expectations around Oregon are, at the very least, to maintain the success that Mike Bellotti worked so hard to attain.
Like Sark, only time will tell how this rookie head coach does.
Mike Stoops has had a bit of a bumpy ride during his tenure in Tuscon, going 24-33 since 2004.
He wasn't exactly handed a sterling program as his predecessor John Mackovic drove it into the ground during his two and a half years as coach.
Stoops has been known to underachieve despite the talent he's picked up in recruiting, but this past year he coached the Wildcats to an upset victory over then No. 17 BYU in the Las Vegas bowl.
If things pick up for Stoops in Tuscon the next couple years, he may be moving up this list.
Talk about doing a lot with a little. Despite going 9-15 in two seasons at Stanford, it is obvious that the football culture in Palo Alto is changing.
Stanford hadn't seen success since they went to a Rose Bowl under Ty Willingham in 1999 (hard to believe, I know).
After disappointing tenures by head coaches Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris, Jim Harbaugh came in and started his Pac-10 coaching career with a bang by beating USC in the Coliseum in his first year.
The Cardinal have been constantly improving since and are looking to make their first bowl since the 2001 Seattle Bowl.
Rick Neuheisel has been a coach in this conference before, much to the dismay of Washington Husky fans who still credit him for the state of their program.
But that was for off the field issues.
One the field, his 70-38 career record—including 37-24 in the Pac-10—has been impressive.
But while he won a Rose Bowl in Seattle, he went 4-8 in his first year at his alma mater UCLA.
UCLA is also in a state of rebuilding and Neuheisel can recruit, so expect them to make some noise in this conference within a few years.
Dennis Erickson has seen some form of success at almost every one of his seven stops at the college ranks, going 163-74-1. (The NFL is another story.)
His most notable successes were at Miami—where he won two national titles—and Oregon State, where he took one of the worst programs in college football to a 2000 Fiesta Bowl victory.
Erickson's current stop at Arizona State has been bittersweet thus far.
In his first year, he tied USC for the conference crown and went 10-3.
His second year was far less impressive with his team going 5-7 despite high expectations.
He does know his stuff and should keep the ball rolling at ASU.
This ex-Oregon offensive coordinator is credited for reviving a pathetic Cal program that was driven into the ground by Tom Holmoe.
Holmoe's name is just as infamous in Berkeley as Ron Zook's name is in Gainesville.
Enter Tedford, who went 7-5 in his first year (they went 1-10 the year before) and has had a winning season each year since.
He has gone 59-30 during his seven years in Berkeley, and the Golden Bears show few signs of slowing down.
Based simply on the numbers, Mike Riley's record isn't incredibly impressive. He has gone 56-42, which is good but not great.
But what makes his career so impressive goes beyond the numbers.
As an assistant at Oregon State, he got Dennis Erickson a lot of the recruits that helped the 2000 Beavers go 11-1 and win the Fiesta Bowl over Notre Dame.
As a head coach he has found a way to win consistently in Corvallis despite having less talent than the likes of USC, UCLA, Cal, and Oregon.
(Corvallis is an area also surrounded by farmland. It was originally an agricultural school that, like Washington State, can be a tough sell to top recruits.)
Those two factors make Riley the second best coach in the conference at this point.
Fun fact: When USC fired Paul Hackett after the 2000 season, Riley, who was then the coach of the San Diego Chargers, was one of USC's main targets.
But the Trojans were forced to hire Pete Carroll–one of the last men on their list–because Riley opted to stay with the Chargers.
Pete Carroll has been an incredible success since stepping foot on the USC campus.
He has gone 88-15 in eight years at USC, despite going 6-6 in his first year.
Since 2002, he has either tied or won the conference championship every year. He has won one national title and claimed a share of another.
Since 2002 he has also gone 30-2 against teams not in the Pac-10 and finished in the top five every season.
Now that's impressive!