Huard: Ranking the top head-coaching hires

Dec 14, 2011, 10:43 AM | Updated: 10:45 am

Editor’s note: Brock Huard writes a weekly column for ESPN.com during the college football season. Here is an excerpt from his 13th column, which ranks the recent head-coaching hires in order of best to worst.

Judging a coaching hire is a little like grading an NFL team’s draft: Everyone has an opinion right away, but until coaches blow a whistle and players take a snap, predicting their success is as reliable as a weatherman in Seattle.

Don’t believe me? Who had Gene Chizik and Chip Kelly as head coaches in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game last season? Chizik was hired by the Auburn Tigers to a chorus of boos after guiding the Iowa State Cyclones to an 0-8 conference record in 2008. Two seasons later he led Auburn to a title.

Kelly had never been a head coach before he was promoted by the Oregon Ducks. In fact, he was an assistant at New Hampshire for 13 years before traveling across the country to become Mike Bellotti’s offensive coordinator in Eugene. He reached the BCS title game in his second season as the head man, and the Ducks have won three straight conference titles.

However, this doesn’t mean we won’t give predicting the success of each coaching hire a try. In reaching out to seven of my colleagues at ESPN who cover college football, there was a near consensus on which teams were the biggest winners among those that recently hired new coaches.

The entire column is available to those with an Insider account, and can be read here.

Brock and Salk podcast

Brock and Salk

Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Brandon Gustafson

Is Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic back for good? 3 MLB insiders weigh in

Jarred Kelenic has produced in his short time back with the Mariners from Triple-A. We look at what MLB insiders Mike Blowers, Jeff Passan and Jon Morosi have to say about him.
16 hours ago
Seahawks Boye Mafe...
Brandon Gustafson

K.J. Wright: Why, how Seahawks should play Boye Mafe more

Seahawks legend K.J. Wright thinks Seattle needs to be playing rookie LB Boye Mafe more going forward, especially on early downs.
16 hours ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Brandon Gustafson

Dipoto: Mariners’ Julio extension ‘fired up’ Luis Castillo to sign long-term

The Mariners' extension with Luis Castillo may not have happened if not for Julio Rodríguez's megadeal, as Jerry Dipoto explained Thursday.
16 hours ago
Mariners Julio Rodriguez, Eugenio Suarez...
Brandon Gustafson

Mariners’ Dipoto: Suárez returning to 3B, Julio update, Kelenic’s role

Jerry Dipoto shared updates on Eugenio Suárez and Julio Rodríguez and what Rodríguez's return to the Mariners means for Jarred Kelenic.
16 hours ago
Seahawks Al Woods...
Brent Stecker

K.J. Wright: The issue in Seahawks’ defensive scheme, and how to fix it

"You can keep the scheme but jiggy rig it a little bit to what the fellas are really good at," ex-NFL linebacker K.J. Wright said about the Seahawks' defense.
2 days ago
Mariners Eugenio Suárez...
Brent Stecker

Mariners’ slide a sign of doom? ESPN’s Passan explains why it isn’t

ESPN MLB reporter Jeff Passan told Seattle Sports' Brock and Salk on Wednesday that the Mariners' current rough patch doesn't need to be read into too much.
2 days ago
Huard: Ranking the top head-coaching hires