Big Ten Football: The Worst Head Coaches Since 1993

Jeffrey BatheContributor IIIJanuary 26, 2011

Big Ten Football: The Worst Head Coaches Since 1993

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    CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 27:  Ron Zook the Head Coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini is pictured during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Next season, the Big Ten Conference welcomes the University of Nebraska to its ranks, the first new team in the league since 1993. As the 11-team era comes to a close, it is time to look at the bottom five coaches in the conference since Penn State joined in 1993. Only records since 1993 will be looked at when ranking the coaches.

    As with any form of rankings, there will be subjectivity, and conversation about who was snubbed.

    Let the list begin.

    Other stories in the series:

    Big Ten Football: The Best Coaches Since 1993

    Big Ten Basketball: The Best Coaches Since 1992

Dishonorable Mention

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    Lou Tepper
    Lou TepperJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    These five coaches struggled during their Big Ten tenure, but were too successful to make the top five.

    •   Ron Turner: University of Illinois, 1997-2004: 35-57 (20-24 Big Ten)

    •   Tim Brewster: University of Minnesota, 2007-2010: 15-30 (6-21 Big Ten)

    •   Lou Tepper: University of Illinois, 1993-1996: 19-25-1 (13-18-1 Big Ten)

    •   Bobby Williams: Michigan State University, 2000-2002: 15–17 (6-15 Big Ten)

    •   John L. Smith: Michigan State University, 2003-2006:  22–26 (12-20 Big Ten)

5. Ron Zook: 2005-Present

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    Ron Zook
    Ron ZookJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In 2005, Ron Zook was hired to replace Ron Turner by the University of Illinois. He inherited a program that had struggled since winning the Big Ten championship in 2001, finishing 1-11 in 2003 and 3-8 in 2004.

    Overall Record: 28-45

    Big Ten Record: 16-32

    Number of Winning Seasons: Two

    Number of Seasons in Big Ten Bottom Five: Four

    Best Season: 9-4 (2007)

    Worst Season: 2-9 (2005)

    Notes: Zook is the third consecutive Illinois coach to have a winning percentage below .450. In Zook's six seasons, he has an eighth-, ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-place finish in the Big Ten.

    Unless Zook improves on last season's 7-6 finish, 2011 will probably be his last with the Illini.

4. Jim Wacker: 1993-1996

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    Jim Wacker
    Jim WackerBrian Bahr/Getty Images

    In 1992, Jim Wacker was hired to replace John Gutekunst by the University of Minnesota. He took over a team that had not had more than six wins the previous six seasons and finished 10th in the Big Ten in 1991.

    Overall Record: 14-30

    Big Ten Record: 6-26

    Number of Winning Seasons: Zero

    Number of Seasons in Big Ten Bottom Five: Four

    Best Season: 4-7 (1993 & 1996)

    Worst Season: 3-8 (1994 & 1995)

    Notes: Wacker was 16-39 (8-32) during his tenure with the Gophers. He was replaced by Glen Mason following the 1996 season. In Wacker's last four seasons he had an eighth-, ninth-, 10th- and 11th-place finish in the Big Ten.

3. Rich Rodriguez: 2008-2010

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    Rich Rodriguez
    Rich RodriguezGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Following the 2007 regular season, Rich Rodriguez was hired to replace Lloyd Carr by the University of Michigan. He took over a team that had not finished lower than third in the Big Ten in the 11 previous seasons.

    Overall Record: 15-22

    Big Ten Record: 6-18

    Number of Winning Seasons: One

    Number of Seasons in Big Ten Bottom Five: Three

    Best Season: 7-6 (2010)

    Worst Season: 3-9 (2008)

    Notes: In three seasons with the Wolverines, Rodriguez finished seventh, ninth and 10th in the Big Ten.

    He oversaw the worst three seasons that this proud institution has experienced during the 11-team Big Ten era. Rodriguez has the lowest winning percentage (.405) of any coach in Michigan's fabled history. He also failed to beat both of Michigan's main rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State.

    Additionally, Rodriguez was at the helm of the Wolverines when, for the first time, major NCAA sanctions were placed upon the program. This ran in stark contrast to his predecessor, Lloyd Carr, who was praised for his high ethical standards.

    He was relieved of his coaching duties following Michigan's worst bowl loss in school history to Mississippi State. Brady Hoke was hired to take over the program starting in the 2011 season.

2. Jim Colletto: 1993-1996

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    Jim Colletto
    Jim CollettoOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    In 1992, Jim Colletto was hired to replace Fred Akers by Purdue University. He took over a team that had not had more than five wins the previous six seasons and finished 8th in the Big Ten in 1991.

    Overall Record: 13-28-3

    Big Ten Record: 6-23-3

    Number of Winning Seasons: One

    Number of Seasons in Big Ten Bottom Five: Four

    Best Season: 5-4-2 (1994)

    Worst Season: 1-10 (1993)

    Notes: Colletto was 21-42-3 (12-33-3) during his tenure with Purdue. He was replaced by Joe Tiller following the 1996 season. In Colletto's last four seasons, his teams were eighth (twice), ninth and 10th in the Big Ten.

1. Indiana Football: 1997-Present

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    Cam Cameron
    Cam CameronTom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Indiana University has had four straight coaches with a winning percentage under .400. With this being the case, they are being combined to represent the overall coaching futility that has existed for the past 14 seasons at IU.

    In the previous 13 seasons, under Bill Mallory, the Hoosiers had six winning seasons and six bowl game appearances.

    Overall Record: 54-108

    Big Ten Record: 15-71

    Number of Winning Seasons: One

    Number of Seasons in Big Ten Bottom Five: 11

    Best Season: 7-6 (2007)

    Worst Season: 2-10 (2003)

    Notes: These coaches' teams were fourth once, sixth twice, seventh once, eighth once, ninth three times, 10th four times and 11th twice in Big Ten play.

    •   Cam Cameron: 1997-2001: 18-37 (2-28 Big Ten)
    Cameron, who was a quarterback at Indiana, returned to his alma mater to serve as the head coach in 1996. This was Cameron's first head coaching position.

    •   Gerry DiNardo: 2002-2004: 8-27 (3-21 Big Ten)
    Prior to coming to Indiana, DiNardo was the head coach at LSU, where he was fired after back-to-back losing seasons.

    •   Terry Hoeppner: 2005-2006: 9-14 (4-12 Big Ten)
    Hoeppner came to the Hoosiers after a 48–25 stint at Miami University, where he led the RedHawks to six consecutive winning seasons and two consecutive bowl game appearances. His career was cut short at Indiana due to his tragic death, as he succumbed to complications of brain cancer.

    •   Bill Lynch: 2007-2010: 19-30 (6-26 Big Ten)
    Prior to moving to Indiana to serve as the offensive coordinator, Lynch was the head coach at Ball State and Depauw University. He was promoted to head coach when Coach Hoeppner's health did not allow him to perform the duties of the position.

    Kevin R. Wilson was hired to take over the helm of the Hoosier program starting in 2011. Time will tell if he will be building on the legacy that is in place in Bloomington.