College Football 2011: 7 Coaches Everyone Wants Who Aren't Going Anywhere
The college football coaching carousel always seems to be in motion these days, and there are several high-profile positions up for grabs this coming offseason.
As big-time programs like Penn State and Ohio State look for the next great coach to lead the programs back to glory, there are a few names that will always rise to the top of the list.
The trouble is, these coaches aren't likely leaving their current gigs anytime soon.
Les Miles, LSU
As the 2007 college football season drew to a close, Michigan great Lloyd Carr was entering his well-earned retirement while Les Miles was preparing to coach the LSU Tigers in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.
It was widely rumored that Miles was on the very short list to take over as head coach at his alma mater in Ann Arbor—where Miles also spent two coaching stints, one as a Graduate Assistant and the other as offensive line coach.
Miles may have been inclined to take the position, too, as Michigan is unquestionably one of the top coaching jobs in the country.
There was just one little problem: the University of Michigan couldn't keep it's mouth shut. Once the leak hit the wires, everyone went nuts.
Enterprising Michigan undergrads got in on the action, putting out t-shirts that read, “I want to trade in my old Carr for one with Les Miles!”
The media, however, was already focusing on LSU and their preparations for the BCS title game. The obvious first question the next day for Les Miles was about the Michigan job. Miles was painted into a corner by the Michigan athletic department, and was left with no choice but to say that he was only going to focus on his job at hand: coaching LSU to a national championship.
Michigan was forced to settle for Rich Rodriguez. We all know what happened next.
Several years later, Les Miles is even more firmly entrenched in Baton Rouge. There's no other job in college football—or even likely the NFL—that could pry him loose now.
LSU fans owe a huge debt to whomever the leaker was at U-M.
Brady Hoke, Michigan
Since we've mentioned Michigan, we might as well talk about Brady Hoke.
Hoke hasn't spent a plethora of time at any one job. After more than 20 years as an assistant coach at such places like Grand Valley State, Western Michigan, Toledo and Oregon State, Hoke finally landed a job at Michigan in 1995 as the defensive end coach.
In his eighth season at Michigan, he was promoted to associate head coach under Lloyd Carr. Hoke left after the 2002 season to take over the head job at his alma mater, Ball State.
After a handful of seasons at Ball State, Hoke left for San Diego State for just two seasons before returning to Michigan to take over for recently fired Rich Rodriguez.
Michigan finally had a true “Michigan Man” at the helm once again, and U-M's 8-2 record thus far in 2011 has the fans, alumni and bosses in Ann Arbor happy. As long as the Maize and Blue keep making strides back up the Big Ten ladder, you can bet that Hoke's future at Michigan will remain secure.
Hoke is also the type of “Michigan Man” that won't abandon the Wolverines come hell or high water. The only way he'll leave Schembechler Hall is with a pink slip or a retirement package.
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
After six seasons at the helm of FCS Murray State, Frank Beamer took over the Virginia Tech program in 1987.
Things didn't start so well for the inventor of Beamerball, as the Hokies went just 2-9 in his first season.
But since then, the Hokies have been transformed into a perennial threat to beat anyone in the nation. Virginia Tech also finds itself at the top of any preseason ACC list as a contender for the conference's automatic BCS berth, and since its inception, the Hokies have earned five BCS berths—a respectable number for any team.
Since making the move to the ACC following the 2003 season, Beamer has led his Hokies to four conference titles. Virginia Tech also has a 18-year bowl streak; that will become 19 in a few weeks.
Beamer's focus on special teams and defensive scoring has earned him a special place in the annals of college football coaching. Since taking over at Virginia Tech, a player at every defensive position has scored at least one touchdown. Not many coaches can claim that feat.
Frank Beamer's name is as synonymous with Virginia Tech football as Joe Paterno's was at Penn State, and with Paterno now gone from Happy Valley, Beamer now occupies the top spot as the winningest active coach in the FBS.
Chris Petersen, Boise State
Even Boise State haters have to admit that Chris Petersen has one of the most impressive coaching resumes over the past six years.
Since taking over the program in 2006, Petersen has led Boise State to four conference titles, five bowl games, two BCS bowl games (both victories) and two undefeated seasons.
Boise State has also finished outside of the top ten of the final AP Poll just twice (unranked in 2007 and No. 11 in 2008).
As successful as he's been building Boise State into a national power, you know there has to have been some offers coming his way.
But from Petersen, there hasn't been so much as a sideways glance towards the bright lights of the Pac-12 or the Big Ten. There's no inkling of attraction to the ACC or SEC. It seems Petersen is quite happy where he is.
And as long as his address is Boise, Idaho, you can rest assured that he'll continue to be a thorn in the side of the BCS and college football elitists everywhere.
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
After spending 13 seasons as the head coach at Division II Grand Valley State, it might have seemed as if Brian Kelly would be staying in Allendale, Michigan for the rest of his professional life.
But a funny thing happened on the way to social security: Kelly turned Grand Valley State into a Division II powerhouse. And with national championships comes Division I suitors.
After leading the Lakers to three-straight title game appearances and two titles, Central Michigan came calling, and Kelly was off to Mount Pleasant.
After turning the perennial MAC cellar-dweller Chippewas into MAC champions, Kelly got his next big break when Cincinnati and their BCS conference cred came rolling into town. Kelly took the next step up the coaching ladder by singlehandedly resurrecting the Cincinnati program and transforming the Bearcats into a national power.
But as an Irish Catholic, Kelly had made no secret of the fact that his all-time coaching dream job was in South Bend. So after earning the previously unknown Bearcats two consecutive Big East titles and BCS berths, the powers that be under the golden dome figured it would be a snap to do the same at a program with the resources, history and mystique of Notre Dame.
Kelly began his career in South Bend with a respectable 8-5 record, and the Irish are on track to improve upon that number this season.
While there may not be a BCS bowl in the cards for this January, you can bet that it won't be long before Kelly has the Irish program looking and operating just the way he wants.
Once he does, you can bet that Notre Dame will become a annual BCS championship contender, and the only way to remove Kelly from South Bend will likely be on a stretcher. The man lives and breathes Notre Dame, and he's likely to spend the rest of his coaching years guiding the Gold and Blue.
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Bob Stoops got his first head coaching job in 1999, and since that time, his title hasn't changed. Stoops has never been head coach anywhere other than Oklahoma, and with this impressive 137-32 record with seven Big 12 titles, eight BCS bowl berths and one BCS championship, it doesn't look like Stoops is going anywhere anytime soon.
When your head coach wins more than 81 percent of the games he coaches, there's likely not going to be a good reason to get rid of him, either.
In the wake of scandal after scandal rocking some of the biggest programs in college football, you can bet that programs like Oklahoma are doing some soul searching (as we all are), making certain that everyone from the head coach to the water boy is on the same page, both professionally and ethically.
Stoops is likely to find himself employed at OU as long as he fancies the notion. Based on every observation, Sooners fans can look forward to many successful years ahead under the steady direction of coach Stoops.
Nick Saban, Alabama
Nick Saban may not have the most stable job history in the world, but college football coaching is one of the few professions where that's not a problem at all.
After spending just one season as the head coach at Toledo, Saban left to become a defensive coordinator in the NFL. After a few seasons, Saban was offered his own program once again, this time at Michigan State where he previously served as DC.
Saban turned the Spartans around briefly before ditching MSU in favor of a bigger paycheck at LSU.
After leading the Tigers to a BCS title in 2003, Saban left Baton Rouge after the 2004 season to once again dabble in the NFL world. His two seasons in Miami weren't a resounding success (15-17), so Saban opted for a return to the college game, this time in Tuscaloosa.
After leading the Crimson Tide to a BCS title of their own, Saban became the first head coach to win two BCS championships with two different teams, and gave Alabama its eighth national championship (by a major selector that made the pick at the time, although Alabama claims 13, the addition five by questionable minor or apocryphal retroactive selectors).
Remarkably, after just four seasons as head coach, Alabama decided to erect a bronze statue of Saban outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. How can you possibly leave a school that put up your likeness in bronze after just four seasons?
While Saban hasn't been shy about following the money is years past, his contract with Alabama ensures that he'll be one of the best paid coaches anywhere in the nation, giving him even less reason to entertain every leaving his new home in Tuscaloosa.