College Football 2011: Lane Kiffin and the 20 Most Polarizing Coaches
In the world of college football, the stars reign supreme, but the coaches remain the foundation.
In this day in age, the coaches are almost more recognizable than the actual players and that comes in large part due to their recruiting ability, but also to their likability.
This list is made up of the 20 coaches in today's game that are either the most loved, or the most hated. There is no gray area here.
This list is due to rise some compelling arguments and some agreements, but either way; love them or hate them, they are still going to be roaming the sidelines come the fall.
20. Gene Chizik: Auburn
Gene Chizik is the newest member the the BCS Championship Coach club, but this season was a rocky one.
With all of the controversy that swirled around his Heisman-winning quarterback and then the recent comments from former Auburn players that points the the university's possible flaws, it was hard seeing how good of a coach Chizik is.
Or is he a good coach? After all he did bolt Iowa State for the much better position at Auburn and his first year with the Tigers was a successful 8-5 year.
For whatever reason, though, this guy just isn't getting any praise.
He's hated by nearly every Iowa State fan that you meet and then there are the college football fans across the country that say this guy is only as good as what Cam Newton gave him.
Love him or hate him, he's sitting atop the college football world as we speak, and with another stellar recruiting class, it doesn't look like Chizik is aiming to slow down anytime soon.
19. Chris Peterson: Boise State
Chris Peterson lands on this list in large part because of the team that he coaches for.
Boise State has become the BCS buster that college fans either love or hate, and they happen to be more on the hate side.
It was a good story when they defeated Oklahoma, but ever since then they have become somewhat of an annoyance, and that blame lies with their head coach.
Peterson is one of the best coaches in the country because he gets the most out of his players.
The same players who aren't recruited by other programs because they are labeled as "not good enough" for the big-time programs.
Peterson, will continue to have winning teams for as long as he's at Boise State, but he will still be loved in the state of Idaho, and hated everywhere else.
18. Kirk Ferentz: Iowa
One of the most hard-working and stern coaches in the country, Kirk Ferentz is a lot like Chris Peterson.
He doesn't get the best recruits, he isn't the flashiest of guys, and all he does in win. Ever since taking over for the storied program, he has been a mainstay.
Ferentz has had three losing seasons at Iowa, two of those being his first two seasons as head coach, but he has always given his team a chance to win games.
He's not very outspoken and he doesn't say outlandish type things.
Ferentz is a players' coach, but better than that, he's a fan type of coach.
Fans love this guy and even if you hate Iowa, you have to give all the respect in the world to Ferentz for the job that he does there.
17. Frank Beamer: Virginia Tech
Frank Beamer has been the head coach at Virginia Tech since 1987. and while his first few years were rocky, all he's been doing since then is winning.
Beamer is a very well respected coach and it's hard to find many haters in the circle of college football. Therefore he is one of the most loved coaches in college football because of his character.
He's a players' coach and he doesn't always have incredible recruiting classes, but he somehow manages to get 10 or 11 wins almost every year.
Beamer is one of the most recognizable figures in college football today and he gives fans reasons to root for him.
He's not going to throw any of his team members under the bus or condone any illegal activity.
In my opinion, the way he stuck up for Michael Vick in light of the dog fighting situation just shows the quality of his character.
16. Brian Kelly: Notre Dame
This selection just comes with the territory. Notre Dame is one of the most storied programs in the history of college football, so whoever is at the helm for the team is usually the most loved or the most hated in the country.
Brian Kelly just took over the program, so people are still on the fence about whether or not to like him.
Ask any Notre Dame fan and he's the second to God, but ask any Notre Dame hater and they will tell you he's a worthless coach who won't get the Irish back to where they once were.
Kelly has officially become one of the most loved and hated coaches in the country, and if he doesn't start winning or bringing Notre Dame to a BCS game or a championship game, he'll become the most hated.
15. Chip Kelly: Oregon
Let's just face the facts: Chip Kelly in only his second year—much like Gene Chizik—brought his team to a BCS National Championship Game and came up just short of winning, but the only difference between Kelly and Chizik is that there is no controversy around Kelly.
Kelly is an offensive genius and a very likeable coach who up to this point has done nothing wrong; he is one of the bright coaches in college football that fans root for.
It's hard to find a lot of Oregon haters out there, so Kelly lands on this list because he's a coach that fans love to root for.
14. Gary Patterson: TCU
There is just one difference between Steve Peterson and Gary Patterson and that is the competition of the conferences that they play in: Now Peterson is moving his team to the conference that TCU is departing.
Patterson is coming off of an undefeated season and a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin that was an instant classic.
With a move to the Big East in 2012 this team is going to be poised for a lot more BCS bowl game appearances.
That may cause some dismay with fans then because nobody likes to see a team make it to a BCS game when they don't deserve it, but there will be no doubt that Patterson will be coaching a lot of great teams for many years to come.
Patterson is another coach that fans can appreciate and he doesn't have his name on the haters list.....yet.
13. Derek Dooley: Tennessee
Derek Dooley lands on this list primarily for his Nazi comments. Could you believe that?
If you're like me, you started hating this guy immediately after that.
That is not to mention Tennessee isn't exactly the most lovable program. Dooley took over for Lane Kiffin, who bolted to USC, and thus Dooley gets to be put on the haters list.
Dooley may be a good coach, only time will tell that, but as of right now he's a coach who needs to watch what he says and he needs to come off a little more approachable.
And let's not forget his antics after the LSU game.
12. Les Miles: LSU
Les Miles; the coach at LSU who barely squeaks by. Are you kidding me?
When I first heard that he may lose his job for barely winning games last year, it was quite the shocker, but there are a lot of fans out there who think Miles has coached past his prime.
Miles is one of the most hated coaches because fans believe he has not earned everything that has come his way.
He won a national championship despite having two losses. His teams are always in the top 10 or top 15 year in and year out and he always has a great recruiting class because he's an excellent recruiter, but fans still hate the guy.
11. Ron Zook: Illinois
Ron Zook isn't a bad guy, he's not a bad coach either, but with that being said he isn't a great coach.
Zook was booed out of Florida and he will eventually be booed out of Illinois.
He's had one good season where he shared the Big Ten championship, but that same team went out to California and got crushed by USC.
Zook is a good recruiter, but he never gets the best out of his recruits.
Any other coach that would have had Juice Williams, Rashard Mendenhall and Arrelious Benn on the same team should have made a lot more noise than what Zook had them make.
10. Bob Stoops: Oklahoma
Bob Stoops is a great coach, there is no doubt about that.
There are few black marks on his resume, he always has great teams and he will have another great team come the fall, but it's his inability to win the big game.
His national championship came early and ever since then he has made it to BCS games and lost. He finally got over the hump last year against Uconn, but let's face it; it was Uconn.
He isn't the most hated coach in college football, but he isn't exactly the most loved either. It's hard to find many Oklahoma supporters outside of the state, but he is a well respected coach.
Still, he's also one of the most hated for the simple fact that he's always winning and yet he's always losing the big one.
9. Houston Nutt: Ole Miss
The one-year wonder, Houston Nutt seems to have one great year surrounded by a bunch of mediocre years.
He had a great season in his final year at Arkansas, and then his first two years were solid at Ole Miss, but we saw the real Houston Nutt last year when Ole Miss won just four games.
He's not a very outspoken type of guy, but it's the things he says that usually make him hated by fans.
Then there is the fact that he bolted Arkansas for Ole Miss in a fashion that garnered him plenty more haters.
8. Bobby Petrino: Arkansas
Bobby Petrino lands on this list because he left Louisville to coach in the NFL and then he lasted just 13 games for the Atlanta Falcons and had a 3-10 record.
It doesn't look good to any football fan to see a guy quit after just 13 games, let alone so he could take a job in the SEC.
Petrino is a very good offensive mind, but it's his entire demeanor that puts him on the most hated list.
It will take plenty of time for the wounds to heal in Louisville, but Atlanta is already over him leaving because they have a good young coach who knows how to win in the NFL and won't give up after 13 games.
7. Mack Brown: Texas
If you're like me, you are not the biggest Texas fan in the world.
That being said, it's hard to dislike a coach like Mack Brown because he is filled with integrity. Mack Brown is a huge reason why college football is the way that it is.
He's a very respectful guy who pours his heart and soul into this game to make it enjoyable for the fans.
He's a class act who instead of trying to criticize Will Muschamp when he took over for Florida, instead praised the great job he did as an assistant under Brown, and wished him the best of luck publicly.
Mack Brown may not have a whole lot of time left in coaching, but he will certainly be leaving his mark on college football much like Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno have done.
6. Joe Paterno: Penn State
Joe Paterno is going to coach until he dies on the sidelines. There is just no getting around it anymore, the guy is never going to leave.
That draws plenty of praise and plenty of criticism.
He's very old for coaching standards, but he's going to leave a spotless legacy behind full of amazing college football memories.
Paterno to most fans is a coach who doesn't coach anymore—he just lets his assistants do the work. But either way he still runs the show and he's a great ambassador for the game.
Love him or hate him, Jo Pa is going to be around a lot longer then we like or dislike.
5. Bo Pelini: Nebraska
The only Nebraska Husker fans you will find are in the state of Nebraska. Otherwise this is one of the most hated programs ever, which is why their head coach must be on this list.
Bo Pelini is a great head coach, one who will be around for a very long time and will have countless great teams under his tenure, but that doesn't give him a pass.
He's the most loved coach in the state of Nebraska, but outside of that it's hard for him to find any love in the college football world.
He's a young guy who is full of enthusiasm and a hard-working mentality, but after watching his rants last year against Texas A&M he certainly did not gain any more respect or love from college football fans.
As long as Nebraska keeps winning, Pelini will still be hated, unless of course you're from Nebraska.
4. Nick Saban: Alabama
Personally, I love Nick Saban.
I think he's the best coach in college football today and I think he will continue to hold that title because he's coaching for an amazing program and will continue to get the very best recruits in to play for him.
That being said, he's still one of the most hated coaches in college football.
He bolted LSU for the NFL, then left much like Petrino, only Saban actually lasted a couple years, and he landed his dream job at Alabama.
Now most fans hated this because it was Don Shula, the great head coach of the Miami Dolphins, whose son Mike Shula, the then-coach of Alabama, who lost his job.
So we all had one giant pity party for that, but the way Saban weaseled his way in there also bothered people. He didn't let Miami know he was taking the interview or if he was even interested.
That is all ancient history now and Saban is arguably the best coach in the game today, and arguably the most hated.
3. Steve Spurrier: South Carolina
The Ole' Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier is without a doubt one of the most hated coaches in the game today.
He had a great thing going in Florida when he left to coach the Washington Redskins. We all know how that turned out.
Then there is all of the hype that surrounds him and the things that he says.
He's a very outspoken coach and that comes off as arrogance. Until he wins something, anything, at South Carolina, he should probably keep his mouth shut.
Now that he does have Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffrey on his team, he may make some noise this year, which means more talk and more hatred towards him.
2. Jim Tressel: Ohio State
Why is Jim Tressel so high on this list?
Simple, because before he was hated for being a winning coach who wore a sweater vest, now he's hated because he lied trying to cover up for his players.
Ask anyone who isn't an Ohio State fan and they will say he should be fired.
The facts are out and what he did was lie to the NCAA, then slap his own wrist and give himself a five-game suspension. Wow, stop traffic, that's pretty harsh!
Jim Tressel is a snake of a coach and he was once respected by a lot of football fans—but now he's despised.
1. Lane Kiffin: USC
Cocky, arrogant, disrespectful, unloyal, backstabber, over-confident, etc.
These are just a few words used to describe Lane Kiffin.
He may be a good coach; he might one day be a great coach—but right now he's seen to many as a liar who was fired by the NFL and then bolted Tennessee after just one year for his alma mater USC.
And that is not to mention all of the recruiting violations he left behind.
While he was at Tennessee he was very outspoken saying his team would beat Florida before accusing Urban Meyer for being a "cheater" at recruiting.
Then he turned his back on the 'Vols and left for USC.
We didn't hear a whole lot from his last year because his team just wasn't that good. And even if they were good, they didn't have a chance to make it to a BCS bowl game because they are on probation.
Now Kiffin is trying to get the sanctions lifted. Good luck with that Lane.
Kiffin is without a doubt the most hated coach in all of college football.