Where Are SEC Coaches Now?

“If I’d known I was going to spend our wedding anniversary at SEC Media Days, our marriage probably wouldn’t have lasted this long.” –Peggy Sherrill, wife of former Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill

“I could get to 16 (teams) in 15 minutes.”  –Former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, on conference realignment in 2011


Former SEC head coaches and coordinators appear to be doing pretty well for themselves.

Just look at Urban Meyer. Need I say more?

Ok, I will.

Louisville is led by HC Bobby Petrino (Arkansas), DC Todd Grantham (Georgia), and OL Chris Klenakis (Arkansas).

Florida State is led by HC Jimbo Fisher (Auburn and LSU), OC Randy Sanders (Tennessee and Kentucky), and DC Charles Kelly (Auburn). Jeremy Pruitt (Alabama and Georgia) won a championship there before moving back home.

Charlie Strong (Florida) appears to have turned around Texas; also see Mark Richt (Georgia) at Miami; Larry Fedora (Florida) at North Carolina.

Say what you will about Bo Pelini, but he’s 73-34 as a head coach after spending three years at LSU.

David Cutcliffe (Ole Miss and Tennessee) won the ACC with Duke in 2013, and Tommy Tuberville (Ole Miss and Auburn) won the AAC with Cincinnati a year later. The latter replaced Butch Jones, who had just left for the Tennessee job.

D.J. Durkin (Florida) helped relaunch Michigan under a guy who coached in Kentucky, and got to be temporary rivals with Urban Meyer (the boss at UF prior to his arrival) before taking the HC job at Maryland.

Bob Pruett was the defensive coordinator at Florida before going 94–23 at Marshall, while Dabo Swinney (who replaced Tommy Bowden of Alabama, Auburn, and Kentucky) was a player and assistant coach at Alabama before going 75-27 at Clemson.

Did you know Bob Stoops won a championship at Florida under Spurrier before heading to Oklahoma, winning another one, and talking shit about the SEC the rest of his career? His brother is now at Kentucky.

Jim McElwain (Alabama) did amazing things with a depleted Florida, and his departure from Colorado State after a 10-2 season was a blow to the program. They hired former Georgia OC, Mike Bobo, to replace him.

Some head coaches love the Southeastern Conference so much they stick around for a long time. Will Muschamp has been with four different SEC programs, Kirby Smart has been with three, and four other head coaches (Saban, Mullen, Smart, Malzahn) have been with two. Saban and Spurrier were both much happier in the SEC than the NFL.

Coordinators can be even more long-lived.

Joe Kines was at Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas A&M. Lance Thompson has spent 15 years jumping between LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, and South Carolina. John Chavis has spent his entire career at Tennessee, LSU, and Texas A&M, aside from two brief stints in the Heart of Dixie. Ellis Johnson headed back to South Carolina from Auburn, but was also part of Alabama’s 1992 title and did four years at Mississippi State.

The NFL pipeline isn’t just about players. Bruce Arians trained running backs at Alabama in the ’80s. He was also Bama’s offensive coordinator in 1997, and was replaced by Neil Callaway, who is now running the offense at USC.

Jon Hoke (Florida and South Carolina) coached NFL defensive backs from 2002-2014, and is doing it again in Tampa Bay.

Doug Mallory spent four years at LSU before taking two defensive coordinator positions and ending up with the Atlanta Falcons.

Mike Shula (Alabama) was the OC for the highest scoring offense in the NFL last year, thanks to an Auburn QB who played for Gene Chizik, the DC responsible for UNC’s…actually, North Carolina’s defense isn’t very good.

But hey, Chizik isn’t the only former SEC coach to fall to pieces after leaving the SEC.

Dave Clawson’s (Tennessee) 32-30 record at Bowling Green was mediocre at best, and his 6-18 record with Wake Forest so far is atrocious, especially given his opening win this season was a 7-3 victory over a Tulane team that is breaking in a new head coach after a 3-9 record last year.

James Franklin (Vanderbilt) is trying his damnedest to rebuild Penn State, but has only earned them two 7-6 seasons, one rivalry victory, and one bowl win.

Ron Zook went 34-51 at Illinois after steering Florida through the early post-Spurrier years. After bailing on Alabama, Dennis Franchione underperformed at Texas A&M and recently went 39-43 at Texas State. His OC while at Alabama is now the OC at UAB, and his DC went 2-9 at East Tennessee State last year.

For every SEC coach that goes somewhere and screws up, the SEC takes in failed coaches like a rehab program….literally, Alabama just hired a second former head coach of USC who had a drinking problem.

Alabama alone has five former head coaches on its staff: Lane Kiffin (USC and Tennessee), Mario Cristobal (Florida International), Bobby Williams (Michigan State), Mike Locksley (New Mexico and Maryland), and Steve Sarkisian (USC and Washington).

California Kiffin (who will be a head coach soon) has been with two SEC teams already, but that’s not the first west coast offensive coordinator to spend time in Tuscaloosa. Homer Smith was at Stanford, Pacific, and UCLA before (and after) Alabama. In fact, the only time he wasn’t at Alabama from 1988-95 were the three years the Crimson Tide offense was managed by Mal Moore, who later hired Nick Saban and was succeeded by an AD who also played football for Bear Bryant, but who coached at Tennessee instead of Alabama.

The SEC takes head coaches from all over the place.

Former Central Michigan HC Dan Enos runs the offense at Arkansas, and one of his predecessors runs the offense at Tennessee. Kevin Steele, who spent a lot of time at Tennessee in the 80s, bombed as head coach at Baylor, but did a passable job coordinating in Tuscaloosa and now manages the defense at Auburn. Cam Cameron struggled leading Indiana, but went to the NFL as an offensive coordinator before returning to LSU in the same capacity.

So, yeah…the SEC is a popular stop on many coaching resumes, and coaches with SEC ties are doing pretty well for themselves.








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