Do Washington's Chris Petersen and Mike Hopkins form the top coaching tandem in the Pac-12?
The coaching landscape in the Pac-12 has changed quite a bit over the past few months, as the conference has taken several turns on the coaching carousel. Five teams on the football side alone have made coaching changes this offseason while two of the basketball programs are under the direction of first-year hires.
So with all of these changes, the question becomes which team boasts the best coaching duo in football and basketball? UCLA may have hired Chip Kelly and Arizona landed Kevin Sumlin to lead their football teams, but it’s the job that another recent hire has done that tips the scales in Washington’s favor. The Huskies are already established in football thanks to Chris Petersen, but Mike Hopkins has completely turned around the basketball program in his first season on the job. That success is enough for Washington’s duo to get the nod over UCLA, Utah and Arizona.
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 Pac-12's Football-Basketball Coaching Duos for 2018
Football: Chris Petersen
Basketball: Mike Hopkins
Petersen is 15–3 in the league in the last two seasons, and his team will be the preseason pick to win the Pac-12 title in 2018. Hopkins has done a masterful job in his first year as a head coach. The Huskies, 2–16 in the Pac-12 last season, are squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Football: Chip Kelly
Basketball: Steve Alford
Kelly was a home-run hire for a school eager to return to national relevance in college football. He went 33–1 in the Pac-12 in four seasons as the coach at Oregon. There always seems to be a lot of drama surrounding Alford and the UCLA basketball program, but he has guided the Bruins to three Sweet 16 appearances in his four full seasons at the school.
Football: Kyle Whittingham
Basketball: Larry Krystkowiak
After a relatively rough transition from the Mountain West to the Pac-12, the Utah football program has averaged 8.8 wins over the last four seasons and is 19–17 in league play over that stretch under Whittingham (above, right). Krystkowiak has done a terrific job rebuilding the Utah basketball program. In his last three full seasons, the Utes are 13–5, 13–5 and 11–7 in the Pac-12.
Football: Kevin Sumlin
Basketball: Sean Miller
Sumlin gets a fresh start in Tucson after six solid seasons at Texas A&M in which he went 25–23 in the SEC, with a .500 or better mark in all but one season. Miller’s rep has taken a bit of a hit due to the ongoing FBI probe, but there is no doubt he can coach. He has yet to take a team to the Final Four, but he has compiled an astounding 164–60 record in league games in his 13 seasons as a head coach (five at Xavier, eight at Arizona).
Football: Mike MacIntyre
Basketball: Tad Boyle
MacIntyre earned several National Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Buffaloes to the Pac-12 South title in 2016. The Buffs took a step back last fall, going 5–7 overall and 2–7 in the league. Next season will be key for MacIntyre and the Buffs. Boyle has done a very good job with the basketball program, leading the Buffs to the NCAA Tournament four times in his first six full seasons.
Football: David Shaw
Basketball: Jerod Haase
Shaw has the Stanford football program in great shape. Haase is a bit of a mystery at this point. He did an outstanding job at UAB, but the Cardinal have been a bit underwhelming in his first two seasons on the Farm.
Football: Mario Cristobal
Basketball: Dana Altman
Cristobal gets his second shot as a head coach after recording a 27–47 mark in six seasons at FIU — in a very tough situation — from 2007-12. There will be pressure on him to return Oregon football to national relevance. Altman is regarded as one of the elite coaches in college basketball and has elevated the status of this program nationally in the past few seasons. The Ducks reached the Final Four last season.
Football: Clay Helton
Basketball: Andy Enfield
Helton is 20–5 in the Pac-12, with one league title, in his two-plus years as the Trojans’ head coach. He also recently received a contract extension. Yet there is a decent portion of the school’s fan base that doesn’t believe he is the right man for the job. Enfield went a combined 5–31 in the Pac-12 in his first two seasons but is in position to lead the Trojans to the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons for only the second time in school history.
9. Washington State
Football: Mike Leach
Basketball: Ernie Kent
Leach has returned Washington State football to relevance both in the Pac-12 and nationally. Kent had a good run at Oregon, his alma mater, before being fired after the 2009-10 season. He’s struggled in his return to the Pac-12; the Cougars are headed toward a last-place finish in the league have not won more than 13 games in any of Kent’s four seasons.
10. Arizona State
Football: Herm Edwards
Basketball: Bobby Hurley
Arizona State’s decision to hire Edwards, who has been out of coaching since 2008, is quite puzzling. It might work out well, but it seems like a big gamble for a program that has great potential. Hurley is enjoying a breakout season in Year 3 in Tempe, though the Sun Devils have cooled off quite a bit since their 12–0 start. Still, they will be back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
11. Oregon State
Football: Jonathan Smith
Basketball: Wayne Tinkle
Smith, who quarterbacked some of the top Oregon State teams in school history, is a first-time head coach. In 2016, Tinkle guided Oregon State to its first NCAA Tournament since 1990, but the Beavers were ravaged by injuries last season (1–17 in the Pac-12) and likely will miss the this year's Big Dance. Tinkle went 97–39 in league play in eight seasons as the head coach at Montana.
Football: Justin Wilcox
Basketball: Wyking Jones
The Golden Bears went 5–7 overall and 2–7 in the Pac-12 in Wilcox’s first season. Despite the poor record in league play, there were some positive signs that Wilcox will get the job done in Berkeley. Jones was hired after Cuonzo Martin bolted for Missouri. He inherited a roster lacking in talent and has struggled mightily in Year 1.