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.
|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|
|Urban Meyer||Ohio State||10||104||23||0||0.819||4||39||8||0||0.83|
|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|
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.