Tyrone Willingham-The Most Overrated Coach In College Football

MB MBSenior Analyst IAugust 12, 2008


Tyrone Willingham is the most overrated coach in college football.  It’s not good when you’re a head coach and the best thing you are known for is getting fired.  Sure, the way he got canned at Notre Dame wasn’t handled the best way, but I don’t blame Notre Dame at all.  

He is so overrated as a head coach.  He has a career 76-76-1 record and after his first three seasons at the University of Washington, he is 11-25.  Let me stress I don’t dislike Willingham.  I have met him before, he is very nice, he can recruit well but he just is an overrated coach.

His one bright spot for him, which got him the job at Notre Dame, was taking his Stanford team in 2000 to the Rose Bowl (where they lost to the Badgers from Wisconsin 17-9).  Let’s remember though that 1999 season the Pac-10 isn’t what is today.  

USC was down and their rival, and end of season “The Big Game” CAL, was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the 1980s.  Plus, they didn’t have to face Oregon who finished with a better season record than them. 

The Cardinal made the Rose Bowl going 8-3 on the year and, after the bowl loss, finished the season at 8-4. Sure, Stanford made the most of their weak conference schedule, by only losing one PAC-10 game, but they did lose to San Jose St at home.  That should automatically make you ineligible for the Rose Bowl.

That Rose Bowl wasn’t Willingham’s only Bowl loss, he is, in fact, just 1-5 in Bowl games.  It is something that also shows one is a bad coach.  

The main job for a coach making a bowl game is to prepare his team well with the month given, keep the players focused, and develop the younger guys on the team for the next season.  A 1-5 record shows he may be able to bring in talent, but getting them to play at a high level isn’t happening.  In his 13 seasons, he only has six winning seasons

Sure, he won the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (decided by ESPN and ABC analysts) in 2002 at Notre Dame, but I still don’t get how.  Yes, he won his first eight games but they finished the year with three losses, including an embarrassing bowl loss to North Carolina St. in the Gator Bowl, which added to the long drought of bowl wins for Irish fans.  

How Jim Tressel (who won the Paul "Bear" Bryant coach of the year Award) who went undefeated and beat the almighty Miami Hurricanes in the BCS game, or even Pete Carroll who finished with a better record than Willingham and prison raped Notre Dame in the Coliseum 44-13, didn’t get the award, I don’t understand.  Shows again why I don’t even watch ESPN because they don’t know what there talking about sometimes.

If Willingham doesn’t have a winning season this year at UW, you can be pretty sure he will get the boot again

Tyrone Willingham

1995 Stanford (CA) 7 4

1996 Stanford (CA) 7 5

1997 Stanford (CA) 5 6

1998 Stanford (CA) 3 8

1999 Stanford (CA) 8 4

2000 Stanford (CA) 5 6

2001 Stanford (CA) 9 3

2002 Notre Dame (IN) 10 3

2003 Notre Dame 5 7

2004 Notre Dame (IN) 6 5

2005 Washington 2 9

2006 Washington 5 7

2007 Washington 4 9

Totals = 76 wins-76 loses-1 Tie Winning Percentage .500 Bowl Record=

1995- 19-13 Loss to East Carolina (Sandra Bullock went there) (Liberty Bowl)

1996- 38-0 Win over Michigan St (Sun Bowl)

1999 Season- 17-9 Loss to Wisconsin (Rose Bowl)

2001 Season- 24-14 Loss to Georgia Tech (Seattle Bowl)

2002 Season- 28-6 Loss to North Carolina St (Gator Bowl)