The Strange Odyssey of Good Ole’ Lane Kiffin – Post 2016 Regular Season Coaches Hot Seat Ranking – Thank You Mr. Johnny Cash for Ten Years of Telling These Head Coaches About the “Burning Ring of Fire” and an Amazing Singing Career and Life to Boot! We Love You Johnny Cash…Always Have…and Always Will!


The Strange Odyssey of Good Ole’ Lane Kiffin

We bookmark a lot of news stories on college football here at Coaches Hot Seat that we put into a lot of different folders in our browser so we can refer back to them in the future and the folder marked Lane Kiffin is a doozy!

An AD friend of ours when asked a couple of years why athletic directors might be reluctant to hire Lane Kiffin as a head coach turned to his computer and quickly found a story he had bookmarked in his browser:

USC fined for deflating football during game against Oregon, Paul Myerberg, USA Today

That AD then pointed towards the computer screen and says…

“Now what AD needs this kind of Bullshit going on with his football team?”

Also in the above ball deflation story there is a reference to Lane Kiffin switching jerseys of USC players in a game against Colorado which is another one of those…

“Now what AD needs this kind of Bullshit going on with his football team?”

….things that will haunt Lane Kiffin forever as will things like this Bullshit about Urban Meyer….

Maybe Lane Kiffin is a great offensive playcaller and maybe Alabama just has a Helluva lot of talent on campus in Tuscaloosa, but neither of those things would matter to us if we were presented with the opportunity to hire Lane Kiffin as our head football coach if we were the AD at a college today. Instead we would say to ourselves something like…

“Is Lane Kiffin going to do something as the head coach at this school to embarrass the football team, the school, our fans, our alumni, our booster, and himself, and me who vouched for and hired the guy?”

Who the Hell knows and there is the problem with hiring Lane Kiffin as your head football coach.

No…we would NEVER hire Lane Kiffin as our head football coach because there are plenty of great football coaches out there that we know are not going to…

Make A Total Ass of Themselves and Embarrass Our School

….which is just our humble opinion, but then there is no doubt an AD out there…maybe even two or three…that could care less if their head football coach might embarrass their school and that is the AD that Lane and Little Debbie Boy in Memphis should be looking for…

An AD that doesn’t give a Damn if Lane Kiffin embarrasses the school he is working for!


Post 2016 Regular Season Coaches Hot Seat Ranking

Thank You Mr. Johnny Cash for Ten Years of Telling These Head Coaches About the “Burning Ring of Fire” and an Amazing Singing Career and Life to Boot! We Love You Johnny Cash…Always Have…and Always Will!

Post 2016 Regular Season Coaches Hot Seat Ranking

1. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame – It seems the Notre Dame natives are a bit restless about Irish head coach Brian Kelly….

…who after all as the above ad points out has posted a record and winning percentage of…

31 – 20  (.608)

….since Notre Dame got blasted in the 2013 Bogus BCS National Title Game BUT what should be even more alarming for Irish fans is ND’s record against teams with .500 or better records over the past FOUR seasons:

18 – 19  (.486)


Now…let’s look at Notre Dame’s 2016 football schedule which the Irish just played that included…

5 teams that didn’t get to a .500 record who the Irish were….

2 – 3 against

7 teams with .500 or better records who the Irish were….

2 – 5 against

Oh…the above is bad enough because one would think that NOTRE DAME could win more than FOUR games playing 5 teams that didn’t hit the .500 mark in 2016 but even worse NOTRE DAME…

Played 8 Teams with 8 wins or less who the Irish were…

4 – 4 against!

Hell….ANY Random Stumble Bum in Chicago could have taken a train over to South Bend before the season with the amount of talent on the Notre Dame campus and won…

8 Games in 2016

….and Mr. Multi-Million Dollar Man Brian Kelly who believes he created the Earth, the Moon and everything else in the Universe only got FOUR wins?

What is it about NOTRE DAME that attracts coaches that are such Pompous Arrogant Asses?

Who knows but a Coaches Hot Seat member did talk to what we will call a “prominent Notre Dame alum” when he was in New York City last week who said the following about the Irish football team:

“It’s a Damn Disgrace and it seems Jack (Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick) is satisfied with the football team being a Damn Disgrace!”

Maybe so because our lone contact at Notre Dame who we have known for years told us right after Notre Dame – USC debacle for the Irish….

“Notre Dame could win only FOUR games against next year and the AD is not going to fire Brian Kelly because the school would have to eat $15 million plus dollars NEXT December!”

Be Proud fans of Notre Dame Football!

FOUR Wins is the New Standard for Irish Football!

And to that we can only say……Go Stanford!

2.  Todd Graham, Arizona State – From the desk of…

Athletic Directors Have Lost Their Freaking Minds

….which is a very busy desk these days we learn the following from this story…

Arizona Football, Rich Rodriguez’s buyout reportedly just under $9 million

….that Todd Graham’s buyout as of late in the 2016 college football season…

“Todd Graham would be owed $14,208,333, the 15th-highest mark in the nation.”

Maybe what university presidents should do when presented with a head coach’s contract that includes ANYTHING above a one year buyout clause amount for a coach that is fired is the university president should say to the athletic director….

“OK…but if we have to fire this head coach for non-performance before this contract is completed I am going to take this buyout number out of your ass and if you are still OK with this contract then let’s get it signed!”

Here’s the problem with Athletic Directors….

Not A Damn One of them is risking One Damn Penny of their own money and that is why agents are able to ROLL athletic directors with coaches’ contracts and then laugh like Hell as soon as they get in the car to go home…and we mean laugh like Hell!

Todd Graham’s buyout if fired for non-performance should be around $3 million dollars

Brian Kelly’s buyout if fired for non-performance should be around $4 million dollars

NO ONE should have multi-million dollar buyouts such as Todd Graham being owed $14 million dollars as Graham is owed at Arizona State and the reason for that is when a Human Being has that much money owed to them they sometimes in our opinion….

Get Lazy As Hell

….or maybe they have just quit teaching tackling in Tempe could also be the problem!

Of course most college football coaches think when their ass is sitting in the office or they are at practice or they our recruiting they are working BUT Hello From the Real World…

If you don’t produce all of that time in the office, on the practice field, and out recruiting is Totally Damn Useless!

Now let’s see here….the last 2 seasons Mr. 14+ Million Dollar Owed Man Todd Graham has posted records of…

Overall:  11 – 14

Pac-12:  6 – 12

….and in Dennis Erickson’s last two years at ASU he posted records of…

Overall:  12 – 13

Pac-12:  8 – 10

Geez…seems Dennis Erickson’s ass got run out of Tempe and now…

Todd Graham’s ass is getting kissed!

Be Proud fans of Arizona State Football!

YOU owe YOUR head coach $14+ million dollars and maybe he has just gotten Lazy As Hell…or maybe they just quit teaching tackling in Tempe…in our humble opinion!

3.  Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M – Let’s take a look at the $5 Million Dollar Man…Kevin Sumlin….records in SEC Conference play from the 2013 season forward:

2013:  4 – 4
2014:  3 – 5
2015:  4 – 4
2016:  4 – 4

Total:  15 – 17

Yep…Aggies are paying a head coach in Kevin Sumlin $5 million dollars plus a season to post a winning percentage in SEC Conference play over the last FOUR seasons of…


…but it gets worse because below is Sumlin’s SEC Conference record in home games at Mighty Kyle Field in College Station over the last FOUR seasons…

6 – 9  (.400)

Seems to us that if you are going to pay someone $5 Million Dollars Plus a season he should be able to post at least a…


…record in SEC Conference play at home….right?

Not if you are an Aggie it seems who are Mighty Damn Proud to be…

Below Average As Hell

…..and will celebrate the Holiday Season being Below Average As Hell…AGAIN!

Even more troubling for a coach being paid $5 Million Dollars Plus a year to coach the Texas A&M Aggies….Kevin Sumlin….even counting the first year with Johnny “Hide Your Bourbon” Manziel in 2012 when A&M posted a record of 11 – 2 Sumlin’s record….

Against Power 5 Conference Schools With .500 or better records is…

20 – 20

….over his entire FIVE seasons at Texas A&M!

Yep…when you see an Aggie just do what we do now…

Hey Mr. .500 or worse….how’s it to feel to be an Aggie?

4.  Jim Mora, UCLA – Several years ago over drinks in New Orleans an athletic director at a FBS school told us that a key metric in evaluating college head football coaches was….

Record against .500 or better teams

….which was a better measure than overall records since any average coach can rack up wins against inferior talent. We here at Coaches Hot Seat have been looking closely at a similar metric the last couple of years for head coaches at Power 5 schools…

Record against Power 5 Conference teams with .500 or better records

….and over the last two seasons UCLA head coach Jim Mora’s record against Power 5 Conference teams with .500 or better records is…

3 – 11!

Oh…in 2016 UCLA amongst their EIGHT losses the Bruins lost to TWO Power 5 Conference schools that posted losing records this past season which really puts Mora’s…

3 – 11

….record against Power 5 Conference schools with .500 or better records in perspective and in our opinion here at Coaches Hot Seat after studying our new metric the last few years…

If you don’t have at least a .500 record against Power 5 Conference Schools with .500 or better records you have very Damn little chance of holding onto your head coaching job and that is why Jim Mora is in such a precarious spot now because another bad season and the Jim Mora era at UCLA will end after the 2017 season for sure!

Just checking….UCLA’s 2017 Pac-12 schedule is not out yet but out-of-conference the Bruins play….

Texas A&M
At Memphis

….and 9 Pac-12 Conference games and in our opinion there is a very Damn good chance the Bruins are 1 – 2 or 0 – 3 when they enter Pac-12 Conference play next season!

What can Jim Mora do to turn things around at UCLA which are right now going straight in the crapper?

This past Summer a couple of Coaches Hot Seat members traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to have a 25 th year reunion of the shipmates they served on a US Navy ship in Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Now being in tight quarters on a US Navy ship for six-plus months can be stressful as Hell and throw in many months in the Hot as Hell Persian Gulf before, during and after Desert Storm and you have a recipe for disaster BUT 25 years later we were thrilled to see our shipmates and that is how Jim Mora should approach being the head football coach at UCLA.

Will the football players and coaches at UCLA today want to get together with Jim Mora 25 years from now to rekindle great memories?

If Jim Mora treats them right they will and in football or in the US Navy “treats them right” means being demanding at times, always respectful, but most of all caring about where the team, its players and coaches are going with their lives because without a LEADER doing that you don’t have a TEAM…and without a TEAM no organization whether in sports or anywhere else is going to accomplish a Damn thing.

5.  Paul Haynes, Kent State – We don’t keep up with the goings-on with the MAC Conference as much as the Power 5 Conferences but in FOUR seasons at Kent State head coach Paul Haynes has posted records of…

2013:  4 – 8
2014:  2 – 9
2015:  3 – 9
2016:  3 – 9

Overall:  12 – 35

MAC:  8 – 23

….and if a head coach can keep his job with that kind of record then….

God Bless America because even the Total Damn Failures can keep their jobs!

6.  Bret Bielema, Arkansas – Forgetting the one year disaster that was John L. Smith hired in the wake of the Bobby Petrino debacle one has to go pretty far back in Arkansas football history to find a head coach that has a winning percentage in conference play of…


….that Bret Bielema has posted in FOUR seasons as the head coach of Arkansas, and since we love college football history let’s take a stroll down Hog Football Lane and see what kinds of conference records Arkansas past head coaches did post.

Arkansas Head Coaches and Conference Winning Percentages

Bobby Petrino:  .531

Houston Nutt:  .525

Danny Ford:  .402

Joe Kines:  .438

Jack Crowe:  .375

Ken Hatfield:  .783

Lou Holtz:  .670

Frank Broyles:  .714

Jack Mitchell:  .472

Bowden Wyatt:  .583

Otis Douglas:  .222

Yep…one has to go back to Otis Douglass who coached the Arkansas Razorbacks between 1950 – 1952 to find a head coach who has a WORSE winning percentage than Bret Bielema of…


….in conference play but then our good Arkansas fishing buddy who has lived in Ft. Smith, Arkansas his entire life told us recently…

“Bielema has everyone so fooled he could go .500 another 10 years at Arkansas and they would build his ass a statue in Fayetteville!”

Oh…but what is Bret Bielema’s record at Arkansas in FOUR seasons against Power 5 Conference teams with .500 or better records you ask?

11 – 22

….which is a winning percentage of…


Hell…if Bret Bielema EVER does get back to the .500 mark against legitimate football teams they probably will build a statue of his ass in Fayetteville!

Oh how Arkansas Football has Total Downgraded its expectations since Bobby Petrino crashed that motorcycle when there was talk of…GASP…

Arkansas taking on Nick Saban and Mighty Alabama!

Uhhh…not anymore with more than likely a statue of Bret Bielema’s ass probably already in the planning stages in Fayetteville!

7.  Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss – One of our favorite places to visit in the South in or out of football season is Oxford, Mississippi and one of our favorite haunts is Square Books on the square in downtown Oxford…

Southern writers have always been fascinating reads, especially the Southern writers that were able to capture the interesting place that the South has been and continues to be today like William Faulkner and writers such as Shelby Foote and Walker Percy which a great book was written about in 1997 by Mr. Foote and the below video has some great stories about Foote and Walker’s long friendship:

Getting back to football we have a terrific contact in Mississippi who loves to tell us all kinds of stories about the Mississippi and Mississippi State football programs and we always request to meet our contact at Square Books in Oxford which begins with a conversation in the book store and moves on to us…

Walking and Talking around Oxford about all kinds of things but which usually swings back around to college football.

A Coaches Hot Seat member that was down South for Thanksgiving drove over to Oxford, Mississippi after the Holiday weekend and spent an hour or so with our contact in Mississippi and they met at Square Books and did some Walking and Talking around Oxford and our friend’s opinion on the state of Mississippi football is the following….condensed down into the Cliff Notes version…

“Hugh Freeze is in a Helluva situation. The NCAA mess is hanging over Hugh and the football program with no end in sight and I don’t know if Hugh has a clue where he is going to take Ole Miss into the future. He will have a tough time getting new coaches to Oxford…and recruits as well…and there is a real chance the current malaise could turn 2017 into a…disaster.”

CHS Member: “So what would you tell Freeze to do?”

Mississippi Contact: “Well…no one is going to believe anything you say unless you believe it yourself and right now when you look at Hugh I don’t think he has a clue where he is going nor has he dealt with where the Ole Miss football program is right now. In the end Hugh is going to have to put on a mask of sorts to hide his indecision and make sure he keeps that positive mask on until he gets out of the hole he is now in.”

CHS Member: “Fake it till you make it?”

Mississippi Contact: “That’s what Faulkner would recommend if alive!”

Lots of Laughter!

Let’s look at the Ole Miss 2017 football schedule:

South Alabama
UT Martin
At California
At Alabama
At Auburn
At Kentucky
La. Lafayette
Texas A&M
At Mississippi State

Damn…that’s a pretty tough schedule and that opening game against South Alabama may be one the biggest MUST WIN games in recent college football history with games at Cal, at Alabama and at Auburn on deck!

Could Hugh Freeze possibly survive a second-straight losing season at Ole Miss?

Not A Chance In Hell!

How about some more Shelby Foote this time talking about his book Stars in Their Courses:  The Gettysburg Campaign:

8.  Butch Jones, Tennessee – Reading this recent story by Travis Haney at 24/7 Sports on Butch Jones at Tennessee….

“The culture is a disaster:” Jones, Vols trending the wrong way, Travis Haney, 24/7 Sports

….the following paragraphs from the story really jumped out at us:

“Those close to Jones paint the picture of a good man with good intentions — but one who struggles with insecurity.

“Butch is not very comfortable in his own skin,” one source told us. “Until he has that, he’ll just never be a great coach. He’s not comfortable in his own skin in recruiting, play-calling, organization …

“He’s great in a small setting, but he’s just not a comfortable guy.”

Jones won at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, but Tennessee is his first Power 5-level job.

“It’s like he doesn’t think he should be there,” the source said. “It’s like he doesn’t think he belongs. And that permeates through the program. Everyone feels that.”

Another source inside the building wondered if this point — 29-21 in four seasons — constituted a career crossroads for Jones.

“I think Butch is still growing as a coach, but he needs to make a decision that this is the level he wants to be at,” the source said. “I’m not sure that it is.”

The source added that Jones tendency to bicker with reporters is indicative of a coach unsure of himself and his position.

“Why would you lecture the media?” the source said. “You can’t have a slogan that says ‘Own It’ and then not own it when it comes time. People will follow true leaders through brick walls, but if you talk and don’t back it up, you turn over your shoulder and no one is there.””

Here’s the thing about criticism whether it is being delivered by the fans, the media or a website like Coaches Hot Seat on the current status of a head coach which Coach Bill Walsh understood totally and is the way that all coaches should approach criticism:

“If you care about how you’re perceived by others, including the public, it’s good to remember the following: Criticism—both deserved and undeserved—is part of the territory when you’re the one calling the shots. Ignore the undeserved; learn from the deserved; lick your wounds and move on.”

“Learn from the deserved”…those are words that all leaders of organizations whether a football team or of an office should understand completely because it’s often only in from criticism where…

Truth is actually able to get through to the leader….because most of the compliments, patting on the back, and otherwise kissing one’s ass is nothing but Bullshit being blown-up someone’s ass to gain favor which makes almost all but criticism totally Damn worthless.

We have a good friend who owns a top restaurant in San Francisco and over cold beers one night after his restaurant had closed we asked if he ever got complaints about his restaurant’s service or food and here was his response:

“Yes, we get complaints and I treat them for what they are…a gift!”

Coaches Hot Seat: “Really….a gift?”

Restaurant Friend: “Yes…a gift…because a customer has taken the time to point out something that clearly me sitting here running this restaurant to the best of my ability wasn’t able to see and 9 times out of 10 the customer was right and we corrected the issue and made sure it didn’t happen again.”

Instead of worrying and becoming paranoid about what the media or fans or Coaches Hot Seat or anyone else is saying Butch Jones should instead do the following:

Look at the criticism quickly….determine if any of the criticism is warranted…fix things that need to be fixed…and then move the Hell on!

From our perspective on the outside looking in easily the biggest problem for Butch Jones in his FOUR seasons at Tennessee is that far too often Jones has not had his teams ready to play INFERIOR teams which is outrageous and unacceptable and points to a preparation issue which probably starts in the coaches’ offices, goes onto the practice fields, and continues right up until the kick-off of games like South Carolina and Vanderbilt this year which Tennessee had No Damn Business losing…PERIOD!

Coach Walsh again on this very point…

“The trademark of a well-led organization in sports or business is that it’s virtually self-sustaining and self-directed—almost autonomous. To put it in a more personal way, if your staff doesn’t seem fully mobilized and energized until you enter the room, if they require your presence to carry on at the level of effort and excellence you have tried to install, your leadership has not percolated down.”

Mainly Butch Jones needs to find LEADERS among his coaching staff and players that are willing to build the “virtually self-sustaining and self-directed – almost autonomous” football program that right now falls to pieces in stressful situations which goes right back to Butch Jones own failing as a LEADER.

Look inside yourself and figure it out Butch Jones because if you don’t your head coaching career might very well be over a year from now at the ripe old age of 49!

9.  Mark Whipple, UMass – Mark Whipple had a decent run as the head coach at UMass between 1998 – 2003 when the Minutemen were playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference BUT in the last THREE season with the UMass playing the MAC and as an Independent in 2016 records of…

2014:  3 – 9
2015:  3 – 9
2016:  2 – 10

Overall:  8 – 28

MAC:  5 – 11

…cannot be what the folks at UMass expected when they brought Whipple back to the school but then wouldn’t anyone expect a Head Coach at ANY school to post a better record than…

2 – 10

…in his THIRD year on the job?

One would think so.

Below is the UMass Football Schedule for 2017:

At Coastal Carolina
Old Dominion
At Temple
At Tennessee
Georgia Southern
Appalachian State
A Mississippi State

Damn….UMass will be LUCKY to win 2 games in 2017 with that schedule!

10.  Lance Leipold, Buffalo – Lance Leipold arrived at Buffalo in 2015 after posing the following amazing records as the head coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater:

Overall:  109 – 6

Conference:  53 – 3

6 NCAA Division III National Championships in 8 seasons


At Buffalo Leipold has posted records of…

Overall:  7 – 17

MAC:  4 – 12

….and at times in 2016 Buffalo has looked like a team without a head coach like…

Losing to Albany
24 point loss to Kent State
37 point loss to Northern Illinois
21 point loss to Akron

….which ended with a 2 – 10 record and Leipold squarely on the Hot Seat entering 2017.

Can Lance Leipold turnaround Buffalo football which only a few years ago under Turner Gill went to a bowl game?

We haven’t a Damn Clue to the answer to that question but in year THREE one would think the Bulls should be fighting for and be Damn close to a .500 record…right?


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