Good Coaches Show It BY Year 2
Posted: 11-14-2017, 1:05:15 PM
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Here is the repost of a blog I put up last Wednesday and Tony referenced on the air during his 11/14/17 show:

As the rumors (and Grumors) about our next coaching hire continue to swirl—nd, let’s just be honest with ourselves, that's really the most exciting and hopeful aspect of Tennessee football right now--I was thinking back to some of the narrative that was circling around the time of our last hire.

Lots of folks, including yours truly, were saying that the program was in such bad shape that it would take Butch Jones at least 3 to 4 years to dig out from under the rubble Derek Dooley left in the middle of Neyland Stadium. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was not and never have been a fan of the hire, as my pinned tweet--which has remained the same for nearly 5 years--would indicate.)

There was also talk that we would know what kind of coach we had in Butch by the end of Year 4, if not the end of Year 3. (And, no, I'm not including any "Year 0" nonsense.)

Well, I've learned a few things in school over the years, and one thing that is just now beginning to really sink in is that claims like these should be supported by evidence. So I started looking for some.

What I found was, as Tony would say, interesting.

I decided to look at about 19 or so coaches, including the biggest names in college football, many of the names mentioned in our alleged current coaching search (big names and up-and-comers), and the name we're all sick of at this point, Butch Jones.

Sure, there are plenty of others we could look at, but I think the cases below demonstrate the point well enough.

I wanted to see how long it took for a coach to show signs that he was a good coach, or perhaps more specifically, that he was a going to be successful at the job he landed, based on wins and losses and, to a lesser extent, championships of some kind.

I think Tony or one you other listeners out there might’ve done something similar in the past few years, but as we're back in the morass again, I thought a fresh look at the info. might help our perspective and inform our wish lists.

My "research" essentially shows that good (or good fit) coaches reveal themselves BY the end of Year 2 in a "good job," if not in Year 1. If they inherit a program known as a "bad job" either historically or due to extreme circumstances (NCAA bans, etc.), then maybe it takes until Year 3 or 4.

It also revealed a fascinating (or frightening?) comparison between Butch Jones and Mike Bobo.

Finally, it reminded me that all coaches have a shelf life at a given school and "go bad" eventually.

Here are the coaches I looked at:


Nick Saban
- Toledo: 9-2 Yr 1
- Michigan St: 9-2 Yr 5*** bad job [no winning seasons previous 5 yrs; took to bowl games each of 1st 3 yrs, eligible every yr]
- LSU: SEC Champs Yr 2
- Alabama: 12-2 overall/8-0 in conference, lost SECG to eventual Nat'l Champion Florida Yr 2

Urban Meyer
- Bowling Green: 8-3/5-3 Yr 1 [2-9 the yr before]; 9-3/6-2 Yr 2
- Utah: 10-2 Yr 1 [5-6 the yr before]; 12-0/7-0 Yr 2
- Florida: 9-3/5-3 Yr 1; 13-1/7-1 & Nat'l Champs Yr 2
- Ohio St.: 12-0/8-0 Yr 1 [NCAA & B1G ban]; 12-2/8-0 Yr 2; 14-1/8-0 & Nat'l Champs Yr 3


Pete Carroll
- Southern Cal: 11-2 Yr 2

Bob Stoops
- Oklahoma: 13-0 National Champs Yr 2


Chip Kelly
- Oregon: 10-3/8-1 Yr 1; 12-1/9-0 lost in NCG Yr 2 [Conf Title 1st 3 yrs (tied division Yr 4), Won 12 games each of last 3 yrs, BCS Game all 4 yrs]

James Franklin
- Vanderbilt: 9-4 Yr 2
- Penn St.: 11-3 Yr 3** [NCAA sanctions]

Jim Harbaugh
- San Diego: 11-1 Yr 2
- Stanford: 8-4 Yr 3; 11-1 Yr 4, better record ea yr** [no bowl game for 5-6 yrs before he got there, including 1-11 record yr before he was hired]
- Michigan: 9-3 Yr 1; 10-2 Yr 2

Mark Richt
- UGA: 13-1/7-1 SEC Champs Yr 2
- Miami: 9-4/5-3 Yr 1 [8-5/5-3 yr before]; 8-0/6-0 Yr 2


Brian Kelly
- Div II Grand Valley St.: 8-3/8-2 Conf Champs Yr 2 [stayed 13 seasons, won consecutive National Championships last 2 yrs, last 3 yr records: 13-1/9-0 (Lost in NC Game); 14-0/9-0; 14–1/9-1]
- Central Michigan: 6-5/5-3 Yr 2 [1st winning season 7 yrs]; 9-4/7-1 Conf Champs Yr 3** [BAD Team under previous coach, Mike DeBord!! Won >3 games only ONCE in 4 yrs]
- Cincinnati: 10-3/4-3 Yr 1 [1st 10-win season in 58 yrs]; 11-3/6-1 Conf Champs Yr 2; 12-0/7-0 Sugar Bowl #4 in country Yr 3
- Notre Dame: 8-5 Yr 2; 12-1 L in Nat'l CG Yr 3

Bobby Petrino
- Louisville-CUSA: 11-1 Conf champs Yr 2
- Louisville-ACC (Part 1): 12-1 Conf champs Yr 2 [9 wins Yr 1 both conferences]
- Arkansas 10-3 Yr 3; 11-2 Top 5 Yr 4*** [more wins ea yr]


Kirby Smart
- Georgia: 9-0/6-0 Yr 2

Dan Mullen
- Mississippi St.: 9-4 Yr 2


Jeff Brohm
- Western Kentucky: 12-2/8-0 Yr 2 [conf title Yr 3 as well]
- Purdue: 4-5/2-4 Yr 1 [3-9 yr before]

Scott Frost
- UCF: 8-0 Yr 2

Mike Norvell
- Memphis: 8-1/5-1 Yr 2

Blake Anderson
- Arkansas St.: 9-4/8-0 Yr 2; 8-5/7-1 Yr 3 [conf champs both yrs]; 5-2/4-0 Yr 4)

**Mike Bobo
- Colorado St.: 7-6/5-3; 7-6/5-3; 6-4/4-2 Yrs 1-3 [10-3 previous yr under Jim McElwain]


Butch Jones
- Central Michigan: 8-6/6-1 Conf. Champs Yr 1 [dropped CMU from 10-4/7-1 previous yr under Brian Kelly]; 8-5/6-2 Yr 2 [did NOT win conference]; 11-2/8-0 Conf. Champs Yr 3
- Cincinnati: 4-8/2-5 Yr 1 [dropped from 12-0/7-0 previous yr under Brian Kelly]; 10-3/5-2 Lost 3-way Tie for Conf. Champs [to West Virginia on BCS rankings] Yr 2; 9-3/5-2 4-way Tie for Conf. Champs Yr 3
- Tennessee: 5-7/2-6 Yr 1; 7-5/3-5 Yr 2; 9-4/5-3 Yr 3; 9-4/4-4 Yr 4; 4-5/0-5 Yr 5
[Never lost fewer than 2 games entire head coaching career, despite Brian Kelly rebuilding 2 jobs in front of him]

Lane Kiffin
- Tennessee: 7-6/4-4 Yr 1 [5-7/3-5 previous yr]
- USC: 8-5/5-4 Yr 1 [start of NCAA Sanctions]; 10-2/7-2 Yr 2 South Division Winners [still under NCAA sanctions, scholarship limitations]
- Florida Atlantic: 6-3/5-0 Yr 1 [3-9/2-6 previous yr]

As you can see, unless a coach inherits a horrible situation and/or a traditional doormat program, then you can clearly tell if he's good (or not) by the end of Year 2. There's no need to withhold judgment until Year 3 or 4 unless you're serving some sort of NCAA sentence or at a job with no real gravitas. As neither is the case at Tennessee, we should be looking for a coach who has demonstrated success in his 1st or 2nd season at his current stop, and we will know if we made the right hire by the end of the 2019 season.

As you can also see, Mike Bobo has more in common with Butch Jones than with any of the other coaches on the list. So, of course, I want no part of Mike Bobo. He may end up being the next great thing, but the data suggests he's just the next "individual." In fact, after looking at the numbers, I'm not sold on Blake Anderson either.

Jeff Brohm, Scott Frost, and--even though I'm a bit skeptical--Mike Norvell, on the other hand, seem to be the next generation of good coaches. How good? I suppose only time will tell, but landing a big-time job seems to be the key (e.g., Nick Saban at LSU, Urban Meyer at Florida). And for that list, check out Tony's "Elite Eighteen" on his blog from 11/8/17.

SPOILER ALERT: Tennessee is on the list.

Let's hope that Jeff Brohm is aware of that fact and of these numbers as well. (Hey, Chris Burke, how about pointing your fellow Louisville native to just to be safe!) Because despite what oddsmakers would have us believe, the HoH track record makes a hire like Jeff Brohm a lot more likely than one like Jon Gruden or James Franklin.

Dan Mullen, however...

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