Ranking the SEC Coaches
Spring ball has almost concluded. The information is not easy to come by this spring for whatever reason. Outside of former 5-stars Amarius Mims and Clay Webb entering the transfer portal, things have been hush hush. The spring game is this Saturday, so perhaps we will see a bit more action.
Until then, I decided to do something fun and rank the SEC Head coaches. It’s hard to believe Kirby has been coach for his seventh season this year. The churn is so great he is now third longest tenured behind Saban and Mark Stoops at Kentucky. He is also one of three head coaches with a national title in the conference. He’s not number one, but he is close.
14. Clark Lea, Vanderbilt. One day he might move up these rankings. Today is not that day. He is a first time head coach trying to get Vandy from awful to bad. I tip my cap to him for the attempt and wish him a lot of luck.
13. Bryan Harsin, Auburn. Funny how if one or two things happen differently in their final game of the regular season, a different story might’ve emerged for Mr. Harsin. Instead, he was the victim of a witch hunt in the hopes of firing him with cause and not paying his buyout. It didn’t work, so he’s still on the Plains in an attempt to fix the program. It might happen, it might not. Right now it’s not.
12. Shane Beamer, South Carolina. Beamer had a great first year in Columbia. Muschamp left him some pieces, he utilized the transfer portal, and he did well. Whether or not that will translate in year 2 remains to be seen. He convinced Spencer Rattler to come play there, so they may put up some points. The defense remains a work in progress.
11. Eli Drinkwitz, Missouri. He has done some things well and others less so. He is entering his third season at the other Columbia and will need to show some improvement in record to move up these rankings.
10. Billy Napier, Florida. He did well in his time as head coach at Louisiana. Super. The SEC is a different animal and he hasn’t coached one game in conference yet.
9. Josh Heupel, Tennessee. He rode the wave created by Scott Frost at UCF before jumping to the bigger gig in Knoxville. He brought his high tempo offense and surprised some people. I tip my cap to getting to a bowl game with that depleted roster. Can he continue the growth? Remains to be seen.
8. Mike Leach, Mississippi State. His teams are always frisky. His teams are rarely postseason threats. He wins everywhere he goes. He rarely wins ten games anywhere he goes.
7. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss. Similar to Leach in that his offense is always capable, his defense is suspect, and he can never seem to get over that proverbial hump. Middle of the road seems right for the Lane train.
6. Sam Pittman, Arkansas. All he has done in two years is completely turn around one of the more moribund teams in the conference. Bret Bielema and Chad Morris tried to kill the school but Sam Pittman brought it back. He had them believing in 2020, and he had them showing it in 2021. Now we will see if he can make that next leap and begin threatening to win the division.
5. Mark Stoops, Kentucky. The man has continued to win at Kentucky, the place where coaching careers used to go to die. Building the lines of scrimmage and playing tough has them moving up in the division. Proper expectations has allowed him to remain and continue to build a really good team. Hopefully the fanbase will allow him to continue to work.
4. Brian Kelly, LSU. Say what you want, but this man won consistently at Notre Dame and has never adjusted their academic standards. Yea they usually get the benefit of the doubt from the committee due to their draw as a major program, but Brian Kelly still won there. And for almost ten years on top of it. He made the playoff twice, and the national championship game once. Now imagine what he’s going to do at LSU where he will be able to have his pick of the litter of any recruit in Lousiana and take whoever he wants out of Houston.
3. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M. He is only this high because he has a national title. That still has to count for something. However, for me, his star is fading a little. He left Florida State in a mess and has yet to make the jump at A&M with seemingly every financial advantage at his disposal. Now that he has signed the highest ranked recruiting class in history, let’s see if it translates to the field.
2. Kirby Smart, Georgia. Up this high because he finally got off the snide and won it all. In game he is still good for one boneheaded or quizzical move each game, but you can’t argue with his ability to accumulate talent and get it on the field. In the playoff era he is the first coach to win it all with primarily defense, and that is incredible.
- Nick Saban, Alabama. As long as he is coaching he will be in this slot. If you think otherwise, you are incorrect.