Ranking college football coaches is no easy task. Judging coaches simply on their record isn’t a true indicator of how successful they were at a particular program. Components such as resources, tradition, how the job stacks up against the rest of the conference and staff are valuable factors that are often lost in judging head coaches.
Athlon ranked all 125 college football coaches for 2013, with Alabama’s Nick Saban, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer ranking as the top three.
However, on the other side of the rankings are a handful of coaches struggling to make their mark.
And considering there are 125 coaches, there’s plenty of bad options that just aren’t cut out to be a head coach.
With that in mind, Athlon is taking a look an in-depth look 10 coaches who rank near the bottom of the 125 rankings. Of course, these coaches don’t necessarily rank at the bottom of the 125 poll. Considering some coaches like Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck or Kent State’s Paul Haynes rank near the bottom of the 125 list and considering they are in their first season, it’s hard to consider them for this list. UMass’ Charley Molnar also deserves a pass, as the Minutemen are transitioning from the FCS to FBS level.
Put it this way, this is a list of 10 coaches we wouldn’t consider if we were the athletic director at any school needing to find a replacement for 2013.
College Football’s Top 10 Worst Coaches for 2013
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Considering Beckman’s 21-16 record in three years at Toledo, it’s hard to put him on this list. However, his one season at Illinois was simply a disaster. The Fighting Illini went 2-10, which included a 0-8 record in Big Ten play. While a transition can be expected under a new coaching, Illinois had too much talent returning to not win a game in conference play. Beckman made good adjustments to his staff this offseason, which should help the Fighting Illini improve their win total in 2013. However, if Illinois goes 2-10 or 3-9, there’s a good chance he won’t be back for 2014. Beckman deserves credit for his Toledo tenure, but a disastrous first season puts him on the list going into the 2013 campaign.
Norm Chow, Hawaii
Chow earned a lot of respect for his time as an assistant at BYU, NC State, USC, UCLA and Utah. However, he didn’t land his first head coaching opportunity until he was 65 years old. As a Hawaii native, Chow is a good fit for the Warriors, but his first season left a lot to be desired. The Warriors won just three games last season, and the only victory in conference play came against a struggling UNLV team. Hawaii has some nice pieces returning for 2013, so Chow could have the Warriors more competitive in the Mountain West. While it’s only Chow’s second season at Hawaii, the early signs are troubling for the Warriors.
Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Let’s give Dan Enos credit: He did get Central Michigan to a bowl game last year. However, the Chippewas were arguably the worst team to qualify for the postseason in recent memory. Central Michigan knocked off Iowa on the road, but its other four regular season wins in FBS play came against Akron, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and UMass – a combined 8-40 in 2012. Outside of last year’s 7-6 mark, Enos is just 6-18 as a head coach with the Chippewas. Enos made some gains last year, but we aren’t convinced he’s a top-tier coach in the MAC.
Bobby Hauck, UNLV
Hauck had a tremendous run at Montana, recording an 80-17 record in seven years. However, his tenure at UNLV has been a disaster. The Rebels are 6-32 under Hauck’s direction and have failed to exceed two victories in each season. UNLV has been a tough place to win at, so it’s hard to fault Hauck for everything that has transpired over the last three years. However, the Rebels really haven’t made a lot of progress and will be picked near the bottom of the Mountain West once again in 2013.
Tony Levine, Houston
Levine was tasked with a tough assignment when he was promoted to head coach, as Kevin Sumlin left big shoes to fill after a 12-1 season. Making matters worse for Levine was his lack of head coaching or coordinator experience, which certainly was tested after Houston’s 0-3 start. Levine served as a special teams coach under Sumlin and worked as an assistant special teams coach with the Panthers before coming to Houston. The Minnesota native was a curious promotion for a program that hit home runs with the hires of Art Briles and Kevin Sumlin. Levine was a popular hire among the players but still has much to prove after underachieving with a 5-7 record in 2012.
Doug Martin, New Mexico State
Considering the timing of DeWayne Walker’s departure to the NFL and New Mexico State’s conference situation, Martin is probably the best the Aggies could find in a head coach this season. The former Kentucky quarterback went 29-53 in seven years as Kent State’s head coach but never had a record over .500. It’s not easy to win at Kent State, but the Golden Flashes never showed much improvement under his watch. Martin is a good coordinator, but his lack of success at Kent State doesn’t bode well for his future at an even tougher place to win (New Mexico State).
Carl Pelini, FAU
Pelini’s debut at FAU had its share of highs and lows. He managed to avoid a disastrous loss to Wagner in the season opener and defeated Western Kentucky in mid-November. Despite losing nine games, the Owls did show some progress on the scoreboard in 2012, as three losses were by a touchdown or less. Considering how important recruiting is, hiring a coach that had no ties to Florida was a bizarre move for FAU. However, Pelini reeled in a class that ranked second in the Sun Belt according to Rivals.com. FAU faces a tougher road in Conference USA in 2013, and the roster was hit hard by departures on the offensive line and at quarterback. Pelini did some good things in his first year, but the jury is still out on just how successful he will be as a head coach.
Don Treadwell, Miami (Ohio)
As a former receiver at Miami (Ohio) and a successful stint at Michigan State as the team’s offensive coordinator, there was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding Treadwell’s hire in Oxford. However, Treadwell has fallen short of expectations in his first two years. The RedHawks recorded back-to-back 4-8 seasons and finished 2012 by losing six out of their last seven games. Treadwell inherited a team that won 10 games in 2010 and had quarterback Zac Dysert - a likely selection in the 2013 NFL Draft - leading his offense. Treadwell has a solid resume, so there’s a good chance he can turn Miami (Ohio) back into a consistent winner. However, eight wins in two years at a program with a lot of tradition is enough to earn Treadwell a spot on this list.
Ron Turner, FIU
FIU made a colossal mistake when it decided to fire Mario Cristobal and replace him with Ron Turner. Although Turner has experience as a head coach on the collegiate level, his overall record at Illinois was 35-57. Over his last three seasons with the Fighting Illini, Turner recorded a 9-26 record, which included a horrendous 1-11 campaign in 2001. In fairness, Illinois isn’t the easiest job in the Big Ten. However, Turner went to just two bowl games and had only one winning season in Big Ten play. For a program that averaged just 13,634 fans at each home game in 2012, hiring a 59-year-old retread coach is simply a bad idea.
Charlie Weis, Kansas
After the failed two-year stint under Turner Gill, Weis was a strange hire for Kansas. The New Jersey native certainly isn’t a long-term answer for the program, especially after going 16-21 in his final three years at Notre Dame. While the Fighting Irish aren’t as dominant as they were in the past, it’s unacceptable to have two losing seasons over a three-year period. The Jayhawks were winless in Big 12 play last season and lost non-conference games against Rice and Northern Illinois. Although Kansas was more competitive in Big 12 games than it was in 2011, the Jayhawks are still clearly the league’s worst team. Making matters worse for Weis is a heavy reliance on junior college prospects in 2013. There’s a good chance Kansas will hit on a few impact transfers, but it’s risky to not build around freshmen. Weis clearly ranks at the bottom of Big 12 coach rankings.
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