Throw Away the Hot Seat

As off season opinions combine with summer doldrums, my colleague Darren astutely pointed out that hot seat questions are out of the question at this point in his career.  So comparisons to the other coaches in the Big Ten conference showed that he is one of the top in the conference based on career winning percentage.  Digging a little deeper shows that he is on track to match up with some of the top active coaches by comparing those coaches at the four year mark in their careers.

Oddly enough, I started out with the chart that is found on the Coaches Hot Seat as a basis for my research.  The top active winning coaches are sorted conveniently by career winning percentage.  Taking the top 25 of those into account, I looked at all coaches with three or more years of Div. I experience and looked at their first 4 (or 3 in some cases) years.

Top Coaches Career W, 1st 4 Yr W
  Career 1st 4 years
Coach Name School Yrs. W L T Win % Yrs. W L T Win %
Chris Petersen Boise State 6 73 6 0 0.924 4 49 4 0 0.925
Chip Kelly Oregon 3 34 6 0 0.85 3 34 6 0 0.85
Urban Meyer Ohio State 10 104 23 0 0.819 4 39 8 0 0.83
Bob Stoops Oklahoma 13 139 34 0 0.803 4 43 9 0 0.827
Hugh Freeze Mississippi 3 30 7 0 0.811 3 30 7 0 0.811
Mark Richt Georgia 11 106 38 0 0.736 4 42 10 0 0.808
Bronco Mendenhall BYU 7 66 24 0 0.733 4 38 13 0 0.745
Bret Bielema Wisconsin 6 60 19 0 0.759 4 38 14 0 0.731
Kyle Whittingham Utah 7 65 25 0 0.722 4 37 14 0 0.725
Bo Pelini Nebraska 4 39 16 0 0.709 4 39 16 0 0.709
Gary Patterson TCU 12 109 30 0 0.784 4 32 16 0 0.667
Steve Spurrier South Carolina 22 197 75 2 0.719 4 29 15 1 0.644
Paul Johnson Georgia Tech 15 141 58 0 0.709 4 34 19 0 0.642
Brian Kelly Notre Dame 21 187 67 2 0.73 4 30 19 0 0.612
Nick Saban Alabama 16 147 54 1 0.728 4 28 18 1 0.596
Les Miles LSU 11 103 39 0 0.725 4 28 21 0 0.571

The top 16 active coaches with at least three years of experience are represented by this chart.  When ranked by their winning percentage after the first four years of experience being the head coach of a Division I program, Bo Pelini ranks 10th, ahead of top coaches like Gary Patterson, Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, and Les Miles.

The most surprising of these, is the top coaches Chris Petersen at Boise State and Chip Kelly at Oregon.  Not traditional powerhouses, they quickly entered the national landscape.  This is the type of meteoric rise that media and fans may have come to expect from a head coach at Nebraska, but was unrealistic.  Yes, strong programs find ways to win, but programs decimated by internal strife need to be overhauled completely.  Nebraska was coming off very disappointing seasons, but both Petersen and Kelly inherited programs ripe with talent and recent success.  Imagine the difference if Bo Pelini had taken the reigns from a coach like Tom Osborne as opposed to Bill Callahan.  The results could have been quite different by now.

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To clarify, at the end of the 2012 campaign, we can reconsider whether Bo should be on the hot seat.  He probably shouldn’t be just yet.

Bo’s not even close to being on any “hot seat”. Not even warm. Anyone who thinks he is is an idiot. Hows that for setting a tone!
The last 2 seasons were off course with where we were trending, but a closer look into the circumstances tells another story beyond the facts…so in an attempt to put the naysayers in place, lets take a walk down memory lane…
in 2010, after a meteoric start that had the nation talking Heisiman Trophies and NC’s, Husker Nation in euphoria! Then suddenly star freshman QB Taylor Martinez got a high ankle injury to his right leg and turf toe on the other foot. The whole season went downhill from there, even though the coaches tried to play him. Those efforts were in vain and served only to make things worse as he re-injured his ankle several times. Had they not, I’m convinced his reputation wouldn’t be what it is today. Even though he was blamed for it all and has since become the scapegoat for the weaker, less informed intellectually lazy fans, he really isn’t at fault, and it’s amazing to me people don’t understand that. Makes you wonder what’s in the corn doesn’t it? When you have an injury like that, it effects more than just your running game. I give the kid credit for trying and going up against the likes of Oklahoma being about 50% of his former self. But still Husker nation complained.
Then, In 2011, without a proven backup QB (the inference being that they had to play him conservatively in an attempt to avoid injury), we entered a new conference with a completely different style of play and a whole new slate of teams. Not an easy task in the first place, but also going on AT THE SAME TIME was Nebraska breaking in a ‘new to us AND new to the job’ offensive coordinator who hadn’t called a single play in college football, AND were breaking in an entirely new offensive system…those three things are not exactly a formula for success. Still, they managed to have a solid season winning 9 games and beating the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State. And yet we still complain.
It should also be pointed out, again, that in his first 4 years, he played in, granted didn’t win, but played in 2 conference championships. And we are still complaining.
Bo is 1/4 game a year, or 1 game away, from 10 win seasons in his first 4 seasons at the helm. Folks, that’s damn good by any measure. Better than Saben. Let that one settle in. More we couldn’t really ask for, and should give us tremendous hope for the future. Unless of course you are the typical glass half empty kind of person that just complains all the time…who I think of in the same way I think of liberals…throw up on them and flush them down the toilet.
Go Bo, Go Taylor, and Go Big Red !!!

This “hot seat” discussion is ludicrous. By now we all should know how many coaches are clamoring to succeed a coach fired for winning nine games at Nebraska. (see: Callahan, Bill)

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