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SEVEN I-A (FBS) Schools Now Looking for Head Football Coaches – Coaches Hot Seat Head Coaching Job Quality Scale – 10 to 1

SEVEN I-A (FBS) Schools Now Looking for Head Football Coaches

While it is hard to predict what might happen over the next few days and weeks as it pertains to Head Coaching Changes at the I-A (FBS) level we do know right now as of Tuesday there are SEVEN I-A (FBS) Schools looking for Head Football Coaches and those schools are:

Arkansas – John L. Smith ending his 1 year run after Bobby Petrino firing in the offseason

Idaho – Robb Akey fired

Kentucky – Joker Phillips fired

Western Michigan – Bill Cubit fired

Tennessee – Derek Dooley fired

UTEP – Mike Price retiring

California – Jeff Tedford fired

From our perspective here at Coaches Hot Seat here is how we would rank those Head Coaching Jobs in order of…

Quality of the SEVEN Open Head Coaching Jobs from BEST To WORST

1. Tennessee
2. Arkansas
3. California
4. Kentucky
6. Western Michigan
7. Idaho

1. Tennessee – The Tennessee and Arkansas head coaching jobs are very close in Overall Quality BUT the deeper and richer tradition of Tennessee football and the fact that it plays in the SEC East which is a slightly easier division to operate in for a head coach trying to rebuild a football program puts the Vols job at the top of our list of current openings.

All it takes for someone to understand the power of Tennessee football is to spend an hour or two with long-time UT football fans who are intensely loyal to their school and football team and still expect that the Vols will play on the level that General Robert Neyland first established at Tennessee over the four decades of the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s which included…

FOUR National Championships

2 Southern Conference Championships

5 SEC Championships

….with Coach Neyland putting up records of…

Overall:  173 – 31 – 12 (.801)
Southern and SEC:  103 – 17 – 10 (.792)

In the 60 years between Coach Neyland’s retirement from Tennessee in 1952 and Derek Dooley’s firing in 2012 UT had NINE Head Coaches….

Harvey Robinson
Bowden Wyatt
Jim McDonald
Doug Dickey
Bill Battle
Johnny Majors
Phillip Fulmer
Lane Kiffin

…..with Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer being the most successful of those NINE Head Coaches following Neyland with Majors and Fulmer putting up the following records:

Johnny Majors – Tennessee Head Coach for 16 seasons (1977 – 1992)
Overall:  116 – 62 – 8 (.624)
SEC:  57 – 40 – 3 (.570)
3 SEC Championships

Phillip Fulmer – Tennessee Head Coach for 17 seasons (1992 – 2008)
Overall:  152 – 52 (.745)
SEC:  98 – 34 (.742)
1 National Championship
2 SEC Championships
6 SEC Eastern Division Titles

We have a very simple grading system here at Coaches Hot Seat on the Quality of Head Coaching Position whether the job is open or not and Head Coaching Jobs at certain schools can move up or down the Quality Scale based upon things like NCAA sanctions and probation, a lack of support by the school’s administration, fans and local community and the potential for winning games, championship and national titles at the school and for each of the 124 football programs that play I-A (FBS) football Coaches Hot Seat each summer at our Lake Tahoe retreat places a numerical score based upon the following Quality Scale:

Coaches Hot Seat Head Coaching Job Quality Scale – 10 to 1

10 – Great Head Coaching Job
9 – Very Damn Good Head Coaching Job
8 – A Very Good Head Coaching Job
7 – A Head Coaching Job Worth Pursuing
6 – A Little Above Average Head Coaching Job
5 – An Average Head Coaching Job
4 – A Below Average Head Coaching Job
3 – A Tough Head Coaching Job
2 – A Very Tough Head Coaching Job
1 – A Head Coaching Job We Wouldn’t Let Our Dog Take

Where exactly does the Tennessee Head Coaching Job now fall on the Coaches Hot Seat Head Coaching Job Scale?

8 – A Very Good Head Coaching Job

Right before Phillip Fulmer was fired after the 2008 football season we had the Tennessee head coaching job at a…

9 – Very Damn Good Head Coaching Job

…on the Coaches Hot Seat Head Coaching Job Quality Scale which we immediately dropped down to a….

7 – Head Coaching Job Worth Pursuing

…when Lane Kiffin took over at Tennessee for the 2009 season which dropped to a…

6 – A Little Above Average Head Coaching Job

…when Lane Kiffin left in the middle of the night and Tennessee ended up hiring Derek Dooley in what we considered to be a rushed hiring to try and save a few committed recruits that Kiffin & Company had committed to Tennessee which is about the Last Damn Thing an athletic director should be worried about since any new head coach will want to recruit his own players anyway and thus why former Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton really messed-up in rushing to hire Derek Dooley and certainly Mike Hamilton had such a hard time getting highly qualified coaches to consider the job was because like us in 2009 many coaches viewed the Tennessee job as tainted after Kiffin’s ONE YEAR at the school.

Derek Dooley in his three seasons at Tennessee didn’t win a lot of games BUT he did restore some of the luster to a beaten down Vols football program and the right coach that loves the big and dual challenge of rebuilding a football program and taking on the vaunted SEC Conference would in our opinion do very well in taking on the Tennessee head coaching job.

As for who might be the next Head Football Coach at Tennessee Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports has a nice list put together…

15 Coaches To Replace Fired Derek Dooley at Tennessee, Athlon Sports

….and if we were in Tennessee AD Dave Hart’s shoes in Knoxville right now we would be focused on hiring a head coach that could bring the kind of framework, attitude, philosophy, overall plan and winning style that Nick Saban has going at Alabama, Les Miles has going at LSU, Steve Spurrier has going at South Carolina, Mark Richt has going at Georgia and even what Kevin Sumlin has going at Texas A&M which is a combination of….

An OVERALL PLAN to move forward

A DISTINCTIVE offense style

A TOUGH approach on defense

A WINNING attitude which is often hard to define but we know it when we see it

In our opinion a Head Football Coach in the SEC can have all kinds of different offenses that run the gamut from Spurrier’s Fun-n-Gun to Alabama’s more traditional offense to a spread offense like Texas A&M is now running BUT winning begins and ends in the SEC with DEFENSE and if a school doesn’t play DEFENSE it has NO CHANCE to win games and championships and it was in the end Tennessee’s lack of defense that doomed Derek Dooley at UT.

In our opinion here at CHS Tennessee is one of the Top 20 to 30 Head Coaching Jobs in Major College Football and it deserves a Quality Head Coach that can make the Vols again a player in the SEC Conference and on the national level again and the “Right Coach” will certainly do just that and it is up to Tennessee AD Dave Hart to find the “Right Coach.”

2. Arkansas – Like Tennessee the Arkansas football program has its own legend in its Head Coaching past with Frank Broyles who led the Razorbacks between 1958 – 1976 putting up records of…

Overall: 144 – 58 – 5

Southwest Conference: 91 – 35 – 5

1 National Championship

7 Southwest Conference Championships

….and in the 36 seasons since Frank Broyles retired in 1976 Arkansas has had EIGHT Head Coaches….

Lou Holtz
Ken Hatfield
Jack Crowe
Joe Kines
Danny Ford
Houston Nutt
Bobby Petrino
John L. Smith

…with Lou Holtz, Ken Hatfield, Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino having the most success with the following records:

Lou Holtz – Arkansas Head Coach for 7 Seasons (1977 – 1983)
Overall: 60 – 21 – 2 (.723)
Southwest Conference: 37 – 18 – 1 (.661)
1 Southwest Conference Championship

Ken Hatfield – Arkansas Head Coach for 6 Seasons (1984 – 1989)
Overall: 55 – 17 – 1 (.753)
Southwest Conference: 36 – 10 (.783)
2 Southwest Conference Championships

Houston Nutt – Arkansas Head Coach for 10 Seasons (1998 – 2007)
Overall: 75 – 48 (.610)
SEC: 42 – 38 (.525)
3 Western Division SEC Titles

Bobby Petrino – Arkansas Head Coach for 4 Seasons (2008 – 2011)
Overall: 34 – 17 (.667)
SEC: 17 – 15 (.531)

Arkansas has some of the most rabid and loyal football fans in Major College Football and on the Coaches Hot Seat Head Coaching Job Quality Scale we put Arkansas at an….

8 – A Very Good Head Coaching Job

….which was a…

9 – Very Damn Good Head Coaching Job

….when Bobby Petrino was still the head coach before April 1, 2012 and there is no reason that a Top Head Coach couldn’t again make Arkansas one of the best jobs in the country because certainly ALL of the resources that a coach could possibly want exist right now in Fayetteville and if you win at Arkansas as Bobby Petrino did you will become a living legend as Petrino was before he made some Very Damn Stupid decisions long before he wrecked his motorcycle on April Fool’s Day.

3.  California – We here at Coaches Hot Seat were not surprised that Cal AD Sandy Barbour fired Jeff Tedford because it is our opinion that Tedford is tired and beatdown after struggling over the last few seasons and also having to deal with the rise of Stanford football which has come from nowhere to be one of the top football programs in the country and certainly AD Barbour is hearing from a lot of Cal alumni and boosters about how far it seems that Cal football has fallen behind the Cardinal.

As for how we view the California Head Coaching Job in the Coaches Hot Seat Head Coaching Job Quality Scale we rate the Cal job at an…

8 – A Very Good Head Coaching Job

….which is up from a 7 since Cal’s renovation of Memorial Stadium and the new Cal athletic facilities which are first-rate and make Cal a Helluva lot easier place to recruit players to which will make the next Cal Head Coach’s job a lot easier.

It is our opinion that California Football SHOULD BE one of the most powerful I-A (FBS) football programs on the West Coast of America because Cal-Berkeley is the Flagship University of the Cal system and the quality of the school, the weather, its location in the San Francisco Bay area and the stadium renovation/new athletic facilities make it a very attractive job in our minds and YES Jeff Tedford should be given credit for revitalizing Cal football even though Tedford was not able to keep things rolling after his initial success.

One thing about the Cal Head Coaching Job that potential Head Coaches should understand is that as a coach thinks about where he and his family might live which he probably hopes would be near the Cal-Berkeley campus there are great towns, neighborhoods and schools for their kids just over the mountains that frame the Bay area off Highway 24 between Cal Memorial Stadium and Alamo, California which is only 17 miles away and which is a place where we have dozens of friends that live that make the 10 mile or so further commute in San Francisco each day. The new Cal Head Coach should expect to pay between $2.0 to $4.0 Million Dollars to purchase a nice house in a nice neighborhood with great schools within 20 miles of the Cal campus which should be no problem for the kind of salary that Cal should be offering to its next head coach.

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Bottom-Line on the California Head Coaching Job:  We don’t see a whole lot of downside to the Head Coaching Job at California and with Cal AD Sandy Barbour desperately wanting to support fully a new Head Coach that can turn Cal football into a BIG Winner IF Cal was willing to offer around $3.0 Million Dollars or more a year then the Cal job is a very attractive position that a head coaching wanting both a challenge and the opportunity to WIN games, championships and maybe even a national title should embrace fully.

4.  Kentucky – For all of the people that say Kentucky football is a “tough job” or an “impossible job” we say that Kentucky has to be one of the best paying jobs in the country that has the lowest expectations in the country by its fans because IF a Head Football Coach at Kentucky can get to just…

6 or 7 WINS

….each season and take the Wildcats to a bowl game each year while at least being competitive in most of their other games then not only will that Head Football Coach be well-compensated he will be a borderline HERO in the Bluegrass State.

Kentucky football will ALWAYS play second fiddle to UK basketball BUT the right Head Football Coach at Kentucky can consistently WIN SIX or MORE games a year and it is up to UK AD Mitch Barnhart to find that “right head coach.”

IF Coaches Hot Seat was hired as the athletic director at Kentucky today we would be on the lookout for a Head Coach that would make the other head coaches in the SEC say something like….


….because right now Kentucky is about as close as a game can be that is a “Sure-Fire-Win” in the SEC Conference and the last thing the other 13 SEC Conference head coaches would want is a new Head Coach at Kentucky that would start causing them problems on the schedule each year that would make them work just as hard in preparing for Kentucky as they do for ALL the other SEC schools.

More on the other open Head Coaching Jobs soon…..

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