The Big 12 is surprisingly deep when it comes to coaching tandems in college football and basketball. TCU leads the way with the duo of Gary Patterson and Jamie Dixon with West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas State rounding out the top four. After that you still have solid tandems, although in some cases one half (or both parts) of the equation has yet to taste much success.
Take Kansas and Texas for example. The combination of the Longhorns’ Tom Herman and Shaka Smart looks awfully good on paper, but Bill Self’s decade-long domination of the Big 12 in basketball is enough to offset David Beaty’s struggles to generate many wins for the Jayhawks on the gridiron.
Each year, Athlon Sports ranks the coaching tandems from each Power 5 league. A variety of factors are considered for this exercise. It’s important to note that we are attempting to value balance — i.e., which schools have an above-average coach at both position? That’s why some programs with an elite football coach and a new (or struggling) basketball coach will be ranked lower than one might expect.
Ranking the Big 12's Football-Basketball Coaching Duos for 2018
Football: Gary Patterson
Basketball: Jamie Dixon
Patterson is more than 100 games over .500 in his 16 years at TCU and has six league titles (one in C-USA, four in the Mountain West, one in the Big 12) on his résumé. Dixon led Pittsburgh to the NCAA Tournament 11 times in his 13 years at the school and has made TCU, his alma mater, nationally relevant in only his second year.
2. West Virginia
Football: Dana Holgorsen
Basketball: Bob Huggins
Holgorsen has been good, but not great, in his six seasons at WVU. He went 7–2 in the Big 12 in 2016 and 5–4 last fall. The Mountaineers could contend for the league title in 2018. Huggins has enjoyed a remarkable — and underappreciated — career. He has had only two losing conference seasons in 32 years as a Division I head coach.
Football: Lincoln Riley
Basketball: Lon Kruger
Riley (above, right) guided Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff in his first season as a head coach. His task now: Prove he can keep the Sooners among the nation’s elite programs. Kruger is the only coach in history to win an NCAA Tournament game at five schools (Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma).
4. Kansas State
Football: Bill Snyder
Basketball: Bruce Weber
Snyder oversaw arguably the greatest reclamation project in the history of college football and will be remembered as one of the all-time greats. Weber is regarded as an outstanding coach and average recruiter. The Wildcats appear headed to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in his six seasons at K-State.
Football: David Beaty
Basketball: Bill Self
Beaty is 3–33 in three seasons in charge of the KU football program. He will need to show some signs of progress in 2018 to remain on the job. Self, with 13 straight Big 12 titles, is one of the elite coaches in college basketball.
6. Iowa State
Football: Matt Campbell
Basketball: Steve Prohm
The Cyclones were one of the most improved teams in the nation in Campbell’s second season, going 8–5 overall and 5–4 in the Big 12 (highlighted by a win at Oklahoma). The basketball program is rebuilding in 2017-18, but Prohm has kept Iowa State relevant in the Big 12 following in the footsteps of the wildly popular Fred Hoiberg.
Football: Tom Herman
Basketball: Shaka Smart
This pairing looks great on paper, but is more about potential at this point. Herman did a solid job in his first year at Texas, but the Longhorns still only went 7–6. Over the last two seasons, Herman’s teams are a combined 8–7 in league games (5–3 at Houston in 2016, 5–4 at Texas in ‘17). The basketball team is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year after receiving a bid in 2016, Smart’s first season.
8. Texas Tech
Football: Kliff Kingsbury
Basketball: Chris Beard
Kingsbury has yet to record a winning record in the Big 12 or finish higher than a tie for fifth in the league standings in his five seasons at his alma mater. Beard is doing a tremendous job in his second season. He is an ideal fit in Lubbock.
Football: Matt Rhule
Basketball: Scott Drew
Rhule did a tremendous job at Temple, winning 10 games in each of his final two seasons, but his first year at Baylor did not go well. The Bears went 1–11 overall and lost at home to both Liberty and UTSA. He is a good coach, but he must prove his success at Temple can translate to the Big 12. Drew’s Bears are making a late push to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. It would be Baylor’s fifth in a row and seventh in the last nine seasons.
10. Oklahoma State
Football: Mike Gundy
Basketball: Mike Boynton
Gundy’s success in league play might surprise you; he has a 69–42 record in Big 12 games in 13 seasons (and that includes a 1–7 mark in Year 1). The jury is still out on Boynton, who was hired to take over the basketball program after Brad Underwood bolted for Illinois after one season.